My print ‘Gray’ is based on drawings made at the chalk cliffs at Botany Bay in Broadstairs, Kent. It is said to have got its name from the fate of those caught smuggling- deportation to the far side of the world, Botany Bay, Australia. Cliffs particularly in Kent are synonymous with the physical and mental border that bounds the British Isles.
My print is called ‘Gray’, gray for the name carved in the cliff and the tonal colours used to print it but also for the grey area surrounding Brexit. Names from all over the world have been incised in the soft chalk by visitors to this area of outstanding coastline. Further down the beach was a temporary encampment of Syrian refugees grouped around a bonfire. And yet this is Thanet, deep in Brexit country.
Installation for Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair
My installation is titled ‘Water’ and is based on the river at Woolwich. The Thames is a constant reminder of London’s past, particularly at Woolwich where there is evidence of a settlement even before the Romans came to Britain. Water is a flowing, transient, ever mutable life force that cuts right through the heart of London. In modern times the importance of The Thames as a thoroughfare bringing the rest of the world to the city has diminished but it remains a focal point, a point of reference, a landscape opening.
I was also inspired by the tapestries of Anni Albers and the large installation work of Ayomi Yoshida.
To make the prints I drew directly onto eight A1 size woodblocks and cut them by hand so that I could add more nuanced shaded areas. I printed on a handmade Japanese paper called Shoji Baika. The panels were hand-printed using Caligo inks- interchanging the woodblocks into thirty-two different configurations. I used a wooden spoon to burnish the prints so that the ink would be visible on both sides of the paper.
The space measures 16metres long and 3.5 metres high. I made eight woodcuts and reconfigured them to make thirty-two prints, four for each hanging.
This Mokuhanga print combines my obsessions with water, reflections and the Japanese language. Asemic writing refers to shapes that suggest writing forms. I was interested in incorporating the flow of Japanese calligraphy and the reflections of reeds into a traditional Japanese scroll format. It is currently a work in progress. I am working on different versions, lighter, darker and experimenting with different papers.
Japanese woodcut with white calligo ink onto plisse fabric.
Japanese woodcut with bokashi on Bunkoshi paper.