John Grayson Workshop

Illustration is of a piece I made at the workshop led by John Grayson at the Ruthin Craft Centre 16th. March 2019.

John has spent the last five years researching Eighteenth-Century South Staffordshire Enamels to understand the crafts and skills used in their manufacture.The enamels were decorative objects such, as snuff boxes, and candlesticks. They were made from thin copper foil coated with layers of lustrous enamel.

In his research John examined the crafts used in their manufacture, focusing on the making of the copper substrate that gives each enamel its shape. In his workshop he demonstrated how the objects were constructed and the techniques used to make them. Participants then used the techniques to make and enamel a heart shaped box.

I came away from the workshop thinking that there is an area worth exploring in my own work of using electrotyped forms as substrates for enamelled sculptural objects. There is also a visual link in the box I made in the workshop and my interest in the Japanese traditional Oribi ceramics.

Electrotyped Cast of a Workbench

As part of the Wrexham Print Centres Harts heath Project I have made an electrotyped plate of a workbench that was estimated as being first used in the early nineteenth century. Unfortunately I was only able to take an impression from a small part of it before the bench was removed to a museum. The image on the left is the reverse of the plate which is still attached to the mould and on the right is the part of the bench from which the impression was taken from.

Print from stereotype plate

This is one of the first prints off the stereotyped plate from earlier entries in my research blog. The plate was inked up using Hayter’s viscosity method, the second colour being silver, the first being cadmium ¬†yellow deep hue . The plate is very heavily embossed, it has been through the press about twenty times and is holding out well and will certainly be good for a large edition if it was required.

opening walk

 

Stereotyped plate

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The final plate has 88g of deposited copper. It will require levelling off on the underside with fibre glass filler or a low temperature metal such as pewter. Three possibilities for inking up stand out, either viscosity printing, Andrew Baldwin’s double drop technique, or as a collagraph ‘a la poupee’ .

 

Stereotype progress

Over the last twelve hours a total of 37g has been deposited on the mandrel. The pure copper has a magical colour and to my eye it is an object of beauty in itself.

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I have used the stereotype process in the past to copy etching plates, this is the first time I have used it to make a plate with the intention of printing from it. This is the back of the plate that will need to be packed to prevent the soft copper from collapsing when it passes through the press. The plan is to continue the plating process for twelve to twenty-four hours.