Author Archives: Marlene

Printing without a press – Subject Futures week

Stephen Fowler held a fascinating one day print workshop during Subjects Futures week. This workshop was aimed at the Design and Illustration students, however a couple of Fine Art students were able to gate crash and Stephen’s attitude was ‘the more the merrier’. Stephen is obviously an avid collector of 1950s – 1960s vinyl LPs, more for the beautiful and varied designs on the covers than the playability of the records. About 50 Vinyls were spread out on one table in the print room, whilst the printing inks and materials were spread out on another.  Students gathered around to hear the principles of design and the instructions for the day – the task was to design an LP cover using 3 printing methods. Music and imagination were very much a part of this workshop – Stephen played about a minute of music from 5 or 6 records whilst students wrote down the feelings or impressions evoked by each; this would form the basis of the work.

Stephen used a range of interestingly shaped rubber stamps, erasers, foam sheeting, pre-formed print stamps, plastic and cling film and also the  neoprene foam tubing plumbers use for lagging pipes, to his create his designs. The printing inks used are water based.

print workshop without press 21.2.14 004

I wasn’t so interested in designing an LP cover, more exploring the use of simple printing  techniques to advance my own ideas and  work. On the right is a print using cling film with pale ink to give a background layer on brown paper. The figures are cut from a 10 inch x 10 inch foam sheet and then inked up and pressed onto the first print whilst still wet. The idea is simple but effective and I was happy with the atmosphere created in the end product. Below, this print was achieved with more layers; firstly using a neoprene foam tube into which I had cut a design withprint workshop without press 21.2.14 006 a very sharp scalpel. This was inked-up and then, using a decorators implement, rolled across the paper. The same foam figures where used again in a slightly different format. Finally, at the bottom, I used half a potato – yes, and inked-up potato  – for the vegetation. It is amazing what you can do in terms of making prints without a press and this is what I will take away from this workshop. Every time I peel potatoes I will be thinking about the exciting images I could be making. print workshop without press 21.2.14 007

The idea of layering, and concealing and building up the image worked well with my practice and ideas, and use of colour. This simple method of printing lends itself to spontaneity and work at home.

Art verse Science

moon gooseI

Moon GooseAgnes Meyer-Brandis

For my first blog, I have chosen to write about an exhibition titled Republic of the Moon which started in January and is presented by a group of artists known as The Arts Catalyst.  It was by chance, listening to an arts programme on radio that I first heard about the exhibition and the stated reason for the exhibition was to raise the public awareness of the future ‘colonisation’ of the moon. It is nearly 4 decades since man walked on the Moon, however, you might be surprised to learn that the race to the Moon if definitely on with nations vying for the mineral rights to plunder the Moon for its mineral wealth and resources. This is, of course, only a stepping stone to colonising Mars.The question of who the owns the Moon is one that is still to be answered.

The Arts Catalyst, a sort of ‘Green Peace’ of the art world, have taken up the  challenge and have presented an alternative vision with their exhibition Republic of the Moon which has been running at the Bargehouse, South Bank since early January. It might all sound a bit far fetched, but how far from the truth is it all?. Why shouldn’t artists have something to say as well? We are obligated to challenge what concerns us.

The Arts Catalyst has transformed the Bargehouse into an Earth-based embassy for a ‘Republic of the Moon’ with international artists works, fantastical imaginings, performances, music, talks and a pop-up moon shop – all as a playful protest against lunar exploitation. A manifesto declaring the Moon a temporary autonomous zone with responses from artists and scientists alike.


Artists have been fascinated by our nearest astronomical neighbour for centuries. In this exhibition six international artists (Anges Meyer-Brandis, Liliane Lijn, Katie Paterson, Leonid Tishkov, Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser) bring their ideas of how we might respond to this new territory, which technically belongs to everyone. This exhibition imagines a Republic of the Moon as a micro-nation for alternative visions of lunar life.

The exhibition is supported by Arts Council England and Science & Technology Facilities Council. I have used information from this website : which goes into far more detail.

Private Moon - Leonid Tishkov

Private Moon Leonid Tishkov

Of the art works in this exhibition, Agnes Meyer-Brandis’ work really resonates with me – in Moon Goose she looks at the Lunar migration of birds and this is woven with imagination, fact, myth from the past, present and future. She actually raised 11 moon geese from birth, giving them astronauts’ names and imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, training them to fly and taking them on expeditions.

Leonid Tishkov’s Private Moon tells the story of a man who met the Moon and stayed with her for the rest of his life. His intimate photos are paired with verse which describes how the Moon helps us to overcome our loneliness in the universe by uniting us around it.

In this exhibition, there are many other epitaphs to the Moon, both mystical and more factual.