Experimental printmaking is a relief-based printing class which essentially means that ink is applied to a surface (such as wood or plastic), and printed on paper using a press with rollers. Areas of the wood (or other surface) that have been removed do not print/do create white spaces.
The prints produced are all original works, printed in oil ink.
Over 8-9 weeks, the course covers 4-5 different techniques on how to achieve a variety of prints: using some very simple techniques that you could replicate at home (without a press) through to a piece of work that we work on for 3 weeks or more where a student begins to learn the process of reduction printing: layering inks on paper through the press, reducing the wooden board between each colour layer.
This techniques goes on to form the basis of a second term’s body of work and a technique called multi-board printing. I teach the ‘right’ way to add colour, and then show what happens if you reverse the application of colours. When students ask ‘what happens if I do this? Or ‘how can I achieve this look’, I encourage a series of experiments or options to try so they hands-on learn why some techniques work better than others.
Using different relief materials, varying products to print on, and thinking outside the square are all encouraged. Many learnings come from trying new ideas. Embossing is also taught, along with tips on how to label your work, how to frame, how to exhibit and how to price your work. Opportunities can be created to exhibit work if students are keen, and exhibitions shown locally are discussed and how artists were able to achieve their prints shown. If scheduling allows, I take students in to ArtsPost or the Waikato Museum and we visit printmaking-related exhibitions.
Best of all – students bounce ideas off each other, learn heaps, and enjoy a relaxed and friendly social environment, with many students carrying in for several terms to further develop their printmaking skills.