Keith began the Masterclass by asking the students “what is printing?” One participant explained how she had previously looked into ‘mono prints’ and how you can make more than one print using a block and building up layers of surfaces.
Keith showed examples of a couple of printing blocks that he had brought along with him to the Masterclass. Keith’s friend Paul Peter Piech was a printmaker and had gifted Keith some of the blocks that had been used in hiw own work. Keith showed students how the wooden blocks had been carved to resemble the image that Paul wanted to print. Paul had a few small blocks. Keith explained how Paul’s method of working meant collating a series of small blocks to create a larger piece. This meant he could add different colours to each block and insert detail by printing in layers.
Keith explained that their task was to create a simplified printing block by creating a design out of layered cardboard. Due to time Keith explained that their pieces would not be as intricate as Paul Peter Piech’s prints but the aim of the day was to create a ‘Piech inspired’ poster.
Keith told the group of how he wasn’t fond of Printmaking in college. The lecturers that wore pristine white coats due to creating limited edition prints put him off the idea of printing. It didn’t seem experimental enough due to the clinical environment. Keith learnt how limited edition prints or ‘one off’ prints can sell for a lot of money and this was why everything in his college’s print making studio was so clean. It wasn’t until years later when Keith got back into experimenting with Printmaking.
Each student was handed a piece of paper in order to map out their print. They were asked to include text, either one word or a phrase that could be translated into print.
One of the participant’s lines in her drawing were too intricate Keith advised her to use it as a starting point and to build on it, thickening her lines and turn it into something that can be achieved by a print.
In conversation, a participant also discovered that Keith had worked with her father who is a glass artist in the past.
Keith used a participants work as a perfect example of translating a pencil drawing into an image on Card that can be cut out and turned into a printing block.
A participant went to Keith for help as her drawing was so close together she couldn’t envision how her print would work. Keith reassured her that everything would work well and that sometimes it can be difficult to remember that when parts get cut away and layered, the print will change. He gave the group the advice of colouring the sections of their prints that they wanted to appear in their prints so that it was easy to see which parts needed to be cut away. They could use this as a guide to what the final print would look like.
The group began printing by rolling paint onto their blocks. Keith gave a quick demonstration beforehand with the printing equipment (rollers, palet, card, paint) explaining that beautiful work can be created with simple tools.
Keith introduced the students to the idea of Printmaking. The processes of print making were discussed and students were asked to list different types of Printmaking/ materials that are commonly used to print with.
Keith showed examples of Paul Peter Piech’s prints that had been gifted to him by the artist. Paul was a friend of Keith’s, he was able to talk them through Paul Peter Piech’s print process from a personal point of view. Keith also had a few of Paul’s printing blocks where the image printed had been carved into wood. Students were able to see and understand how design is inverted to create a print by adding layers. Keith talked the students through Paul’s process, how he would create lots of small printing blocks and apply different colours to each block. The students were to create simpler printing blocks by applying their design onto one piece of card- different colours would be used but may have been less intricate than creating individual coloured blocks. Due to the timescale of the workshop students had to create one block as apposed to multiple.
Paul Peter Piech stylised his designs to focus on less but feature a simple, effective detail. Keith’s aim for the day was for students to create a ‘Paul Peter Peich’ stylised poster with their printing blocks. Keith wanted the group to think of imagery and text that would fit together but to limit themselves to one word. As the group were used to and comfortable in working on A4 paper, Keith asked them to think big and enlarge the scale of their designs. A3 paper was handed out for students to map out their blocks in pencil. Keith explained that paper is where artists think. He asked them not to worry about any mistakes and to just work on top of them. Keith reminded the group to design in a ‘chunky’ format as anything done would need to be cut out of card.
J was the first to start sketching, and wasn’t afraid to ask questions Keith guided Jake in making his original design more ‘chunky’ so that it could be transferred as a print.
Most of the group were quite self-conscious but Keith encouraged them to embrace their designs. As the majority of he group were still creating small designs, Keith encouraged them to consider their drawings to make them easier to cut out in card.
O was a fast worker and created three designs in the time that everyone else took to create one. Keith liked as this meant O could then choose his most effective piece and work on that.
One participant created a very complicated design; Keith assisted her in toning it down slightly so that it became possible to turn into a print. As the participant’s design included a lace effect, she had to create thicker lines and fill in sections to make it easier.
Once the drawings had been transferred to cardboard the students could start cutting and layering pieces to create their prints. J struggled initially in cutting his design from card. Keith gave him the advice about cutting around each section quickly and then cutting the details from each piece intricately when it was smaller.
The group used their cardboard blocks to apply colour onto and print from.