When I moved to York a few years ago I was keen to get to know the creative scene. I came across York Printmakers and went along to a meeting on a cold January evening. The welcome was warm and I knew I had found my ‘tribe’!
The group was welcoming, supportive and keen to share ideas and opportunities.
Our monthly meetings have moved online this year and we have recently started a postcard print challenge. Just before Christmas many of us were finding that it was difficult to find the motivation to produce prints when there was so much anxiety about the future. Exhibitions and fairs had been cancelled and the future for the arts was looking bleak. The incentive to produce a themed small A6 print once a month and share it at our Zoom meeting was just the nudge many of us needed to get us back into some kind of creative rhythm.
I ducked out of the first few rounds but once I got going it was amazing how uplifting it was. There’s nothing like a deadline to focus the mind! The prints are discussed in the same way we would do at one of our meetings and it has been a great way of keeping the momentum going within the group. I have learnt quite a lot by seeing some of the creative approaches of others in the group this has spurred me on to try out ideas of my own that have been bubbling away in the background for years. Thank goodness for sharing and collaboration – it never fails to inspire.
The first theme I attempted was ‘borders and edges’. I decided to explore different ways of making stencils, in particular concentrating on the quality of the edges of the stencil. To print the stencils and to retain some of the more subtle edges I had to rethink how I push the paint through the stencil. In fact I also explored a wider variety of paints and different dilutions. These experiments led to softer, more subtle edges and I set about applying this to imagery.
The second challenge was ‘reflections’. I have often shied away from tackling water birds as the portrayal of water and reflections has seemed very complex when making stencils. This seemed like a really good reason to give it a go. I was amazed at my first attempts and have been hooked for several weeks since. I’m now itching to be able to get out and about to go and study some waders,water fowl and their reflections for future prints.
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again some time soon and starting to plan the exhibitions we have in the pipeline for 2021. Keep an eye on the York Printmakers website and their Facebook page for updates.