21st of April 2019
In January I became very sick and was close to cashing in my chips. I was in hospital for a month and the recovery has been slow. I’m lucky enough to enjoy my work so much that it has been a great aid in the recovery process, especially when we had a visit from the great Bryan Angus. He wanted to study wood engraving with me but seeing as I had him here anyway I got him to do a masterclass in suicide method linocut, which really was, well, masterful.
This year has been a belter! Every aspiration for the studio has been achieved. It seems that the adage “Build it and they will come“ has some truth behind it. Black Pig was set up as a resource for practicing artists, a teaching resource for those who would like to learn printmaking techniques and as a sort of nexus between practitioners and academics and all of those roles have been achieved.
One of the most satisfying examples of this is when people come in to the studio and look up to the ball-racks to see what people have been up to. Those simple drying devices act as communication between individuals and groups and help to confirm the ethos of the studio; all levels of experience working together with good studio practice. I can’t tell you how satisfying that is to see.
It has been really interesting to work with the Dalziel project at Sussex university, Dr Bethan Stevens is heading a project looking at the Dalziel Brothers who ran a large wood engraving business that over its lifespan produced a staggering 54,000 wood engravings. Some of the finest engravers of this generation got involved with the project, Simon Brett, Louise Hayward, Neil Bousfield, Peter S Smith, Peter Lawrence and Edwina Ellis all did a presentation on selected work at the British Museum hosted by Sussex University and the British Museum.
Later Bethan came and joined a couple of printmakers to learn wood engraving here at Black Pig. It was a very satisfying colaboration as both discplines learned from each other and filled in the gaps of their understanding of wood engraving.
Later in the year Dr Alixe Bovey, head of research at the Courtauld Institute came to learn linocut. She is a keen advocate of academics having an understanding of the physical act of making images and so am I! So the future is looking a little brighter for practice led tuition and I look forward to more collaborations with academics.
The first etching class went well lots of good ideas and a lovely working atmosphere. In the next ten weeks we shall be covering hard ground, soft ground, mezzotint, chine collé and a few tricks of the trade such as rettroussage.
Because I look after the children I can’t visit people easily, so they very kindly come to me, here are some who have visited this year.