I have finally done my first etching !! Steel plate etched in Nitric. Just 3 small test plates – hard ground, soft ground and one experimental plate. I have a new teacher at college – Blair Waterfield. He is incredibly passionate about printmaking & he really gets the class moving and thinking conceptually. Although our first 3 little plates were just test plates I treated them like they were going to be a framed piece of work. Sometimes I figure that even though they are merely test plates I want to try to make something worthy – and because they were my first etchings, it kind of felt special. I am working with the theme of the danger of entanglement that our seabirds face – entanglement in discarded fishing nets (ghost nets) and discarded fishing line from both recreational and commercial fishing practices. A shocking and depressing reality. During my research I came across many global sites and community groups that are a voice for our seabirds and marine creatures. The images on these sites of entangled birds are incredibly disturbing and I can’t shake these distressing images from my mind.
Each time I printed the plates, my aim was to try and print each time in a different way from the previous print. I made the use of stencils (positive and negative) different layers, different wiping techniques and different colours to achieve 30 varying prints. It was refreshing to work with blue and green ink to reflect the colours of the sea. I have mostly been working with rust and earthy colours for a while so the blues and greens were like a breath of fresh air. I knew I was going to cut the little prints out (bleed prints) so I didn’t have any worries about registration. This felt liberating and I found that my energy was directed towards experimenting and creative processes rather than bieng caught up and slowed down with precise registration. The resulting work is a collage of about 30 prints that I have had framed and will put into the Bruny Island Bird Festival Art Exhibition.