On Saturday 3 December 2016 three UK artists, Tracy Hill, Jason Hicklin and Greg Fuller demonstrated a number of their printmaking techniques to a crowd of 20 at the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop. Hailing from the midlands of England they spoke of their art practice and their love of walking and working en plen air; connecting to the natural environment and creating artworks in celebration of these outdoor experiences.
Jason began the session and spoke at length about his apprenticeship with the world renowned etcher Norman Ackroyd followed by his own personal journey which has led him to his present occupation as an artist and printmaker. This was followed by developing a sugar lift aquatint using zinc and mordant. As an etcher Jason is meticulous in his process and reminded us that as etchers “we stand on the shoulders of giants like Rembrandt and Goya”. It was a very inspiring session especially for those etchers amongst us.
Greg followed with his recount about learning the art of screen printing as a trade which later led him to morph into the world of art. He shared his secrets on how to print a screen without wasting ink and time and showed us a number of the tricks of the trade. His images were derived from delicate drawings that were exposed onto screens and finally printed onto Tracy’s plaster blocks and paper. The combination was exciting to say the least.
Tracy’s practice pushes the boundaries of printmaking as she explained that she prefers to get her works “off the wall” and into three dimensional space. As a keen walker like Jason and Greg she ventures into the landscape to find inspiration as well as being aware of the importance of protecting natural habitats and promoting conservation principles. Tracy created a plaster cast from an open-bite steel substrate which had been etched in copper sulphate for a number of days. This was inked in the same way Jason inked his plate, using scrim/tarlatan and very loose ink.
All three artists were extremely generous with their information and we sincerely thank them for the time they gave us. We also wish them the best in exploring the Hunter area, especially our Ramsar wetlands, and hope they find lots of inspiration to create new works from.
Newcastle Printmakers Workshop