Football stadium print

Just before the new year, I created a new dry point print which depicts the football ground at S.C.F.C. I used a thin sheet of transparent plastic and etched the image onto the plastic using a sharp etching tool. This type of printing plate is useful if you need to copy a photograph or drawing as you can place a copy of the image underneath the plate. Be sure to reverse the photograph or drawing (use a photo editing software product like Photoshop Elements for example) so that if there is any text in the image it is printed the right way around.

Drypoint of Stockport County Football Club

New Year photo walk

Happy belated new year. I thought I would publish my first blog post of the 2023 about my recent photo walk around the marketplace that I did yesterday on a cold sunny Saturday afternoon.

Starting my photo walk on Lower Hillgate, I made my way along Wellington Street up to the Robinsons brewery visitors centre which is on Apsley Street. Making my way pass the stables housing the shire horses for the brewery, I made my way down Churchgate heading towards the marketplace.

Robinsons Brewery in background with the patterned pavement barrier in front.

On Churchgate, I took a couple of photos of the signage on the side of the brewery building in the distance and noticed a metal barrier in front of me had an interesting pattern which looked like aircraft rotary blades. This could be a connection to the former AVRO aircraft factory which was prominent in the town for many years and which has since closed down. The factory was based south of Stockport town centre in the Cheshire village of Woodford where there is now a heritage museum at the former site.

I arrived at the marketplace and decided to walk down towards Mealhouse brow, a steep incline of a street which eventually heads down towards the Underbank. As it happens, the dungeon was open for viewing and I had a look round as I have never visited this heritage site before.

Before 1824, Stockport justice was administered from this small building and prisoners were held in the cells. It was well worth the visit and I managed to have a look around one of the two cells that was accessible to the public from some steep steps. I was able to look through a hole in the cell wall and view the adjacent cell. While I was in the building, I learnt about the people who had been unlucky to have been imprisoned in the cells and learnt of the gruesome stories of murderers and their fate at the hands of the authorities.

After visiting the dungeon, I walked up towards Staircase House located in the marketplace. I took a few photos of the building and also some of the produce hall which I remember used to be a fish-mongers hall. It is now a trendy food outlet where you can dine-in and have lunch from various eateries. The produce hall is very popular especially at weekends all year round.

Staircase House museum.
Produce Hall.

Having taken some photos of Staircase House and the Produce Hall, I headed for a much needed coffee at a well-known coffee shop outlet on Warren Street.

After enjoying my Flat White, I returned to the marketplace and took a series of photographs of the exteriors of the Boars Head and the Bakers Vault public houses from different angles. I must admit I’ve never been inside the Bakers Vault.

Ghost sign.

On my return to my car, I spotted a ghost sign on Park Street near the marketplace. I think the sign was advertising a men’s tailoring shop. There are quite a few ghost signs around Stockport and I spotted another one as I drove home.

Maybe I could do a blog post about these sorts of signs as there are many of them in the area.

December photo walk

While visiting the art gallery last weekend and doing some Christmas shopping, I did a mini photo walk around town to capture buildings I will be making prints of using my photographs as a reference. I headed down to the old Debenhams store which is now closed and took some images.

Debenhams store
Debenhams store

From there, I walked back up the A6 and saw that progress has been made on the new 1 billion pound bus interchange next to the Hatworks museum and you can see the apartment block being constructed.

Bus Interchange development

As I made my way back up the A6, I made a slight detour and had a look at the Stockport Village area behind the Plaza theatre is in the progress of being demolished. I took a few pictures from behind a metal fence.

Stockport Village (now being demolished)

Stockport Village was once a thriving little shopping precinct hidden away and has been abandoned for over 15 years. There used to be boutique shops, gym and cafe. I remember it in its heyday and is sad to now see it all abandoned and being knocked down. Hopefully some of it can be kept and redeveloped as with the other parts of the town.

Here is a last shot of the viaduct with the sun starting to set.

History walk around town

On Saturday, I organised a guided tour around Stockport starting from Stockport railway station and finishing at the river Mersey behind the precinct with the British History, Social Group on Meetup https://meetu.ps/c/23GkP/b3nJ4/aCheck

March photo walk

I recently took some photographs of the exterior of Stockport College in anticipation of the redevelopment of the site. There is currently a lot of building work taking place in town such as the soon-to-be build Stockport Bus Interchange on the existing site next to the railway viaduct. I hope to use some of these images as inspiration for future prints.

Visit to Bury Art Museum and new etching

Last Saturday at the printmaking workshop, I started a new etching plate which is the first for 2022. The new plate once completed will depict the White Lion public house which has now been turned into swanky apartments in the centre of town. The plate is slightly larger than the normal 18 x 12 cms I usually create etching prints from. I have gone for a larger printing plate so I can add more detail. Below is a photo of the plate which has a coating of hard wax to protect the plate when it has its first dip in the acid bath early next month. The first acid bath lasts about 15 minutes which allows the outline of the drawing to be defined more strongly on the plate.

White Lion etching plate (17 x 26.5 cms)

Yesterday, I visited Bury Art Museum to swap a small number of etchings for the shop that is based on the first floor. One of the prints I submitted was of the cage at Lyme Park.

“The Cage at Lyme Park” Etching Aquatint (c) Neil Robinson

The museum has a collection of paintings by JMW Turner. One of which is this work I saw in the main gallery (see below)

Calais Sands at Low Water: Poissards Collecting Bait by Joseph Mallord William Turner RA (Bury Art Museum collection)

Map of Stockport

Over the weekend, I took part in a large drypoint print workshop with a small group of artist/printmakers.

My objective was to create a large map in drypoint depicting landmarks of Stockport. I had never printed anything larger than about a3 size in print form before and my last large print was a drypoint of the viaduct using a metal plate. This time around, the printing plate would be flexible plastic sheeting which was 75 cm x 55 cm in size.

I decided on the idea of a map sometime ago and knowing that a 2-day large printmaking workshop was going ahead, I ensured I booked a place as soon as I got the notice.

I began by prepping the map by creating a printed template in reverse that I had sourced a day before the workshop. I used a combination of Photoshop Elements and PowerPoint to tile the large map and print off sections onto manageable a4 paper prints so I could tape them together afterwards.

On Saturday, day 1 of the workshop, I added reversed text and images of landmarks which I etched into the plate using etching tools from roulettes to diamond point tools to get different textures and patterns.

Printing plate 75 x 55 cms

I placed the template I had created underneath the plastic printing plate while I etched the design onto the plastic.

The process took me approximately 9 hours to prepare the plate (1.5 days). I had to carefully placed where all the text and images of the landmarks would go.

Finally, on day 2, I could ink up and print my plate with the assistant of my friend Alan Birch, using a large etching press which we had hired out for the day from an artist studio down the road in Waterfoot, Rossendale called ‘Valley Studios’ only a few minutes travel from Prospect Studios.

I created an artist proof print (AP) using cartridge paper and then managed to print off my first good print on Fabriano paper.

I reckon there are another seven prints I could produce from the plate before it wears out.

The process was long and challenging but the results were very pleasing indeed and well worth the time taken.

Here are some photos taken of the printed map.

Map of Stockport (Proof drypoint on cartridge paper)
Map of Stockport (close-up)
Map of Stockport (close-up)
Map of Stockport (close-up of title)