Playing with Print

I recently went on a print workshop in Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Manorhamilton. This was a course organised by the Sligo County Council Arts Service as part of their artist panel Art the Artist programme, they hold different workshops during the year open to artists. When I saw this one on offer I jumped at the chance.

Now I don’t think of myself as an artist at all but I qualify because of the photography. Art is now a huge part of my life, every day I either draw or paint. It reminds me of when I was a child, there was an amazing arts centre at the end of my road and I spent many happy hours there. The artistic side of me got dampened in secondary school when I was told I wasn’t good enough. So I dropped the art and took up French – I wasn’t good at that either!

The Leitrim Sculpture Centre is an amazing place, not only does it have exhibitions and events but there are also various artists studios and resources for artists. You can read more about it here. 

The first day of our course was a desperately rainy day. One of those days were the rain didn’t let up at all. I was a bit nervous walking in but I didn’t need to be as Liz, who is one of the printers, was there to welcome us. The other artists were also so friendly and welcoming, it was a great atmosphere.

Firstly we started working on collagraphs. This was a new thing to me. You make a printing plate by making a collage of materials glued on card. It’s a long process so we started this first to give it a change to dry.

We didn’t use the collagraphs until the following day but in the meantime we made lino prints. Some of the artists had great ideas of what they wanted to do on both formats. I had no plan so I just went with the flow. One was heavily inspired by the weather, there’s something very soothing about being warm and dry and listening to the rain hitting the tin roof of the print studio.

My other lino print was just random, trying out the different blades and just enjoying myself. When both linos were ready we Phoebe joined Liz and showed us how to ink them up. My umbrella was a hand print and my random one was done through the printing press. I’m pleased with both of them, not bad for a first attempt.

The following day we went back to our collagraphs. If I’d have know how difficult it was to ink these up I wouldn’t have added so many textures! It really was trial and error when it came to putting them into the printing press but again I’m pleased with the results.

I loved this workshop, Liz and Phoebe are great teachers. If you want to try printing for yourself they hold print workshops on Thursdays at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre. The workshops run from 6-9pm and are €15. You can find out more by following The Manorhamilton Printing Group on Facebook.

Thanks so much to Catherine and Sligo County Council Arts Service for organising this wonderful course.

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