Woodblock workshop

As regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of anything DIY, but it’s not often that I get to try my hand at things other than clothes or accessories. So I was rather excited when my friend Jess, manager of The Ownership Project in Fitzroy, invited me to take part in a printmaking class a few weekends ago.

The Ownership Project is a not-for-profit gallery and studio that works mainly with indigenous and also migrant communities, such as groups of women from the Horn of Africa who live at the nearby housing estates. They also run artist in residence programs – Helen Sheferaw in the pictures above was the artist in residence last year, and the gallery shows a range of fine art prints by resident artists and remote indigenous artists from Arnhem Land.

Below, a wall of prints by Julius Bright Sackey, who was the first resident artist to work in the studio.

Judy Manany, Pandanas Trip, reduction woodblock on Magnani paper, 2012

Margaret Gudumurruwuy, Nyoka (crab), reduction woodblock on Maganani paper, 2012

Helen Sheferaw, Sepulchre, reduction woodblock on Magnani paper, 2012

The Ownership Project also works with The Social Studio to create saleable homewares such as these striking printed cushions (actually, I met Jess when we were both involved with The Social Studio a few years ago!).

At the workshop, I met two other women who were both beginners when it comes to printmaking, and our patient teacher Kylie explained reduction printing and got us started. Basically you draw your design onto a woodblock and then carve it out. The pieces you carve out will be white, while those left will be coloured when you print.

Of course I had come unprepared and didn’t have a design in mind, and am hopeless at drawing. So I dived into the photo album on my phone and came up with this woven textile tiger from a market in Laos.

I drew my design freehand onto the woodblock and, praying that my printmaking would be better than my drawing, carved out the lines which I wanted to be white. This was definitely the most time-consuming part of the process and my fingers were quite sore when I finished. But it was worth it! 
Kylie then helped me to print the block… here she is inking up the roller (the green rag on the left is one of my hideous old T-shirts which I brought in for cleaning up). 

Because I didn’t have time to carve out more areas after the first print and change colours, I thought running a strip of colour through the print might work instead…

I was turning the wheel on the printer so couldn’t get a pic of it going through, but this one of co-owner Sean Smith working the press will give you an idea of how it works:

Here’s how my design turned out with the stripe of colour…

… and then I ran through a black version too.

Not bad for my first go, right? If you want to try printing too, The Ownership Project runs workshops regularly, so check them out! 
(Thanks to Tamaryn Goodyear for the really good images in this post, the crappy ones are mine! 🙂 )

クリエーティブなことが大好きな私ですが、自分で作るなら大抵洋服やアクセサリーに限られています。でも、たまには全く違うことに挑戦したいから、この間The Ownership Project*を創設した友達がプリントワークショップに誘ってくれたら喜んで参加してみました。基本的にはまず、デザインを考えますが、何も用意しなかった私は携帯の写真からインスパイアされて、ラオスで撮った生地の写真を元にして木の板にデザインを描きました。そのあと道具を使って、デザインを掘って、インクを付けてプリントする、という流れですが、掘るのに時間もかかってかなり大変な作業で、指がいたくなりました!でも最終的にはこういうプリントができて、かなり満足しました。
*The Ownership Projectは普段、近くの公営住宅に住んでいるアフリカ人の難民にクラスを開いたり、その生徒たちの作品を展示しています。また、アボリジニのアーチストとコラボレーションしたりクッションなどを制作しているソーシャルエンタプライズのギャラリー兼スタジオです。ワークショップは一般の方のために開いているので、版画などに興味があれば、是非問い合わせしてください。