For artists and artists-in-the-making, one of the many benefits of being up in Scotland is access to training and facilities at a much cheaper rate than in the South. Dundee for example is home to the DCA - Dundee Contemporary Arts. As well as hosting exhibitions, an arts cinema and a rather good bar and restaurant - the DCA also offers one of the UK's leading open-access professional level print studios. If you do a course at the DCA you can join the studio for an amazing £28 for the year. You then pay a small amount each time you want to book the facilities. The studio courses are many and varied, so I decided to have a go at printmaking using laser technology. A fantastic £95 for the weekend - even better when you consider there were only four people on the course - the maximum in fact. It's a bonus that numbers are kept small as you get a real opportunity to learn and be hands-on.
I started off with some of my illustration efforts - doodles you might say! I then scanned them into a computer used Adobe Photoshop (with alot of help as I've never used the software before) to convert the images into useable files.
My idea was to make some lino cut stamps that I could then use to print up advertising material for my Mobile Makery. To do this, you place the material you want to use (wood, plastic, lino etc) in the laser printer, and by pressing alot of buttons and manipulating your image on the screen (tricky for a technophobe like me) you then click GO!
Here is the sewing machine lino cut I made! You have to have a few goes before you get close to what you want, and it takes quite a while for the laser to do its job. This little stamp took about 20 minutes.
My new workshop friend David, who's a very talented photographer, decided to scan in and make prints from one of his images. He used plywood instead of lino to create his printing block. Here he is inking it up.
You can see on the left that he has cleverly built in a scale - let's call it a saturation level scale - so he can see how the depth of colour in his original photograph will correspond to the depth of cut the laser makes in the plywood. Of course the deeper the laser burns into the material the more of an impression the resulting print will make.
And here's the result of my own labours. A little less sophisticated but fit for purpose!