The Psychology Of Touch – My Artists Book

Finally we are nearly at the end of the semester and I haven’t completely broken down! There has been a tough few days especially when making my artists book, there are so many things that can easily go wrong. Measuring and drawing straight lines aren’t exactly my forte but I gave it a good go and I am quite proud of the result.

As the main theme of my prints is texture, I wanted my artists book to reflect this. I made my book the same shape as a carpet or wallpaper book so its as if my prints inside are the textured samples that are there to be touched.

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And with that my The Psychology of Touch project is complete –  a handmade sample book containing my textured prints. Even though it was quite stressful, I like that making a book was a requirement in this project as it really finishes off the prints and makes them look quite professional. That’s one project down, one to go!

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Finished etchings 

Here lies my final two prints, they are all finally complete! Today I am starting to create my artists book to display these prints proudly in, but more on that later. This post is about my etchings. Etching was a new process to me this semester and it frustrated me at first as it takes a lot of patience that I just don’t seem to have. The process of etching takes a long time to get different depths of lines and textures but it is worthwhile. The printing process is also time consuming and you only get one print at a time, but the texture of etching was really well suited to my project. 

My first print I started this semester was my teddy bear etching. The concept behind this is again related to my tactile security theme- we like to touch and hold things to feel safe, such as a teddy bear. It is also related to my second theme tactile memory as the touch and texture of a teddy bear can take us back to our childhood when we too treasured such a toy. 

   
 

I then decided to add texture to this etching. I brought in a fleece, cut it and put it through the press with soft ground on the plate. This added a patterend background. My reason for using the fleece is that this material has been found to be delightful to touch. It gives us flashbacks of textures from our youth (security blankets and jumpers) and is also a texture that we like to hold to feel warm and safe.

   
  
I also used Aqua tint to add a background to this print and give the teddy shadow and space. 

The Teddy Bear Touch

My second etching is of a metal fence. I chose to draw a fence as it is related to the security aspect of my theme. 

  
I decided to add a texture with a plastic bag to add an eery atmosphere. 

  
I felt something just wasn’t right with this print so decided to print it in white ink on black paper which I feel gave it a lovely effect. I combined this etching with a seatbelt placed at the bottom of the print. This seatbelt also relates to my security theme and the use of an actual seatbelt in this etching adds to the tactile theme of my project. I laser cut the same fence design onto the seatbelt to add continuity to the etching.

   

Safety First


So there we have it, all five prints complete! I am currently finishing my artists book so will have this project finished for you all to see next week. 

 

Screen Printing on a Fire Blanket

Hurrah, another print finished for my The Psychology of Touch project! This time I tried out screen printing onto material, that material being a fire blanket.

This piece again relates to tactile security, a desire to touch something to feel safe. The security being the blanket that protects us from the harm of fire and the tactile aspect is the texture of the fire blanket.

I also combined the theme of tactile memory by using a scanned image of my cable knit jumper to screen print onto the blanket. Knit is a texture that can take us back to our childhood, to a time when our grandmothers would hand knit us a jumper or a scarf.


  
I used the colour red as it is a warm colour so relates to fire and danger. When we touch something that is red our brain actually believes it is warm even when it isn’t so this relates to the warmth of fire.

I then cut the fire blanket and put it behind paper that I had previously scorched and burnt. I like that this is also tactile and shows something that fire has destroyed but the saviour (the fire blanket) shines through.



So here it is, my third print finished! Only two more etchings to go (and an essay and an artists book) so I will keep you all posted on my finished pieces!

 

Feel My Heat

 

Embossing

We are now in the final weeks of this dual project semester so you will probably see me posting a lot more as I begin to complete my works.

For now I will focus on my Print and Printability Project – the Psychology of Touch. I have been moving between all of my prints and the different techniques so much that I was starting to get worried that nothing was getting finished. However all of a sudden here I am with nearly all of my prints finished in the same week, multi-tasking eh? So for this post  I will focus on my prints that involved embossing.

I was inspired by Langland and Bell’s minimalist embossings to try out this medium and I loved it!

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Langlands & Bell

You can emboss anything you want as long as you can print it on acetate. I have been amazed this semester at all of the different technology that is actually available to me for free so why not try it out while I’m still learning.

So as I’ve mentioned  before, my theme for this project is the Psychology of Touch – tactile memory vs.tactile security, so for my first print I decided to emboss a gun. I then screen printed a bag on top of the gun to look like the gun is hidden inside the bag.

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Packing Heat

I chose the colour red to represent danger but also because our sense of touch understands red as a warm colour so strangely we can feel heat off it even when it isn’t there. This means the owner of this bag is in fact ‘Packing Heat’.

This print relates to the tactile security aspect of my theme – we all like to touch things to feel safe, whether it be a blanket, a loved one or even a gun. The gun represents a need for security but the embossment and the texture of the bag makes it tactile.

My second embossment actually came from producing the gun and feeling it for myself. The texture reminded me of the wallpaper my Great Grandmother had in her flat, it’s called Anaglypta and is a textured wallpaper usually in a floral pattern that I loved to feel and push my nails into when I was young.

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Anaglypta Wallpaper

This nostalgic feeling I got when touching the gun embossment is exactly what I want to capture with my tactile memory prints – we can often conjure up memories by the texture of something that we felt when we were younger. For this print I decided to create my own Anaglypta embossment.

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After doing this I decided to combine the tactile security side of my theme and screen printed a block silhouette of two people hugging that I had drawn. Holding our loved ones makes us feel safe and can also be a tactile memory reminding us of previous moments you may have held each other in such a way.

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Hold Me Again

So here we are, 2 out of 5 complete. I am still to make my artists book that I will present the prints in but that is a problem (and a blog post) for another day. For now I will celebrate that I have actually started to complete some work. Hurrah!

Tactile Art (The Psychology of Touch)

I noticed I haven’t been posting a lot about my print project on here and felt it was time to not just update you but to keep myself in check. I plan on posting my prints as I complete them but as I am moving between pieces they are all still in the ‘work in progress’ stage.

So for now I will explain the theme behind my prints – Tactile Art (The Psychology of Touch).

We all learn about the world through our sense of touch. We are curious, exploratory and inquisitive. So why is it not the norm to touch art? Besides the oils in our fingers ruining a masterpiece, not a lot of art is made to be touched. Art encourages a connection of emotion but why not a physical connection as well? In previous projects I have created art that can be touched but for this project I aim to create art that creates feelings of emotions by the look and texture of it.

Tactile (haptic) memory reaches into our childhood evoked by the slightest tactile stimulus or tactile fantasy, thereby making tactile art ‘communicative’. We have all been seeking the sense of tactile security since birth with our mothers bodies- before we could see, smell, hear or taste.

This feeling of  tactile security is what I have focused on for my prints.  I have concentrated on items that make us feel secure eg. a fence, gun, duvet, teddy bear, seat belt. I have mixed these items with textures that conjure up childhood memories eg. the texture of fleece, a woolly jumper, grans anaglypta wallpaper. I want to provide memories by not just the feeling of texture what the aesthetic of it too. Stay tuned for the development and finals of my prints.

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Etching Tutorial

Over the past two days we have been learning how to etch for the Print and Printability module. As it was just for practice I drew a little doodle (please don’t judge it was done in 2 minutes) on a zinc plate I had previously prepared. I covered the plate in hard ground and placed it into the acid.

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After 30 seconds in the acid I ‘stopped out’ the lines i wanted to keep light.

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I then put my plate back into the acid for another 6 minutes, cleaned off the stop out and hard ground and printed my plate with black etching acrylic (again not my best work – kind of Ian Mckeever inspired but all in the name of learning).

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As my main theme for the Print and Printability project is texture I decided to put some texture onto my plate. I put soft ground onto the zinc plate and ran it through the press with a bin bag on top to create an irregular texture.

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Before putting the plate back into the acid i stopped out areas that i didn’t want to have texture. This was my chance to get my Ken Currie on and keep areas very white in comparison to the dark texture.

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The print came out quite dark, probably because I left it in the acid too long to get the texture. To fix this I scraped back into the plate to make some areas lighter.

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This was just experimental work and I can’t wait to get into etching properly once I have a clear idea of what I want to do, but it excites me how well texture can be brought into this medium. I’m sure I will be spending a lot more time with etching this semester.

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‘A Passion for Print’

‘A Passion for Print’ is an exhibition displaying a personal selection of prints from the University of Dundee’s collection made by printmaker Jim Pattison.

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As I am very interested in print it was a great opportunity to have an exhibition on university campus displaying the work of some talented printers. I love to take inspiration from artists who are already successful in their field and to see Ken Currie in amongst the artists was exciting as I had already been researching his work this semester.

Ken Currie

Ken Currie

Its always good practice to go and see exhibitions and I hope to attend as many as i can this year to help me develop my own artwork.

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I love the technique of blocking out colour in this piece and also in Curries’. The white really contrasts and adds depth to the prints.

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Inspiration for Printmaking

When looking for inspiration I head to the uni library. In this case I am working in the print studio so I took out a pile of books on print, contemporary and historical. I make a note of what work jumps out at me and what it is about these pieces that I like so much. When I took a step back to view the works I had picked out I realised they all had similarities. Many of the works are layered with combinations of drawings, photography and different methods of printmaking. This has given the works a very textured look which I admire.

The Journey Back III, Alexandr Yastrebenetski

The Journey Back III, Alexandr Yastrebenetski

The Last Romantic, Boris Belski

The Journey Back 1a, Alexandr Yastrebenetski

Beautiful layering of images with different transparency and parts of the image removed producing a lovely texture.

Steady Drizzle

Steady Drizzle, Willie Rodger

A woodcut with a grainy textured effect juxtapositioned by the block silhouettes.

The Last Romantic, Boris Belski

The Last Romantic, Boris Belski

Lovely, textured layered effect including line drawings much like prints i have previously produced.

Ski Jacket, Peter Doig

Ski Jacket, Peter Doig

An etching that uses the fuzzy shapes of humans and creates a kind of forest effect.

Langlands & Bell

Langlands & Bell

A beautiful embossing, its the simplicity I love about this piece, cream on cream, creates a very soft texture.

Bullfight No.3, Salvador Dali

Bullfight No.3, Salvador Dali

A classic lithograph which combines line drawings with block images to create a kinetic piece.

Cavalier Sur Fond Noir Etoile, Marino Marini

Cavalier Sur Fond Noir Etoile, Marino Marini

Another 20th century lithograph that combines block colours with a more textured, chalky effect. I like the use of geometric shapes in this piece.

I can’t wait to get into the print studio this week and to start making my own pieces! There will be a lot of trial and error until I find the style I like but I’ve got the whole semester to get it right!

And We’re Back!

3rd year Fine Art has officially begun and after 5 months off I was actually quite glad to return to DJCAD and settle into my new, very cold studio. I had a relatively artless Summer break somewhat because I was working but mostly because I was not motivated to create art at all. Now that i am back and surrounded by fellow art students and feel ready to get right into my new projects!

This semester we have two projects; one studio module that has no brief so we are pretty much left to do what we please, and another elective module of which I have chosen Print and Printability. I enjoyed print last year and loved learning these new skills so its time to put them back into use!

I have been researching a few artists and have been reading books about print to see what type of prints jump out at me. I always seem to be attracted to prints that have a lot of texture and i also incorporated that into my pieces last year. I hope to tie my studio and print project together with the common theme of texture.

I am also excited to give 3D printing a try. It would be fun to 3D print a screen print that i make to make it actually have a touchable texture but i’m still in the research stages and need to learn the 3D printing process first to find out what is actually possible.

So for now I am busy researching artists for inspiration which I will follow up on soon. I am also doodling in my sketchbook getting ideas that I can turn into screen prints. Stay tuned for further development.

Texture