Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Fringe Arts Bath

I will be showing my diorama boxes in Bath for the Fringe Arts Festival.
(more details coming soon)
Please see below for a description on how I create my diorama boxes.
My diorama boxes involve a series of processes. First I prepare the metal plates, usually zinc or steel at the print studio this involves priming the plate with an acid resist bees wax which is then by naked flame melted onto the plate to form a dark 'canvas'. Next I take the primed plates to my workspace where I draw onto them often by candle light, the plate can take many nights work. I return to the print studio where the lines are biten and the etching process takes place. I enjoy the magic of this age old technique dating around the 15th Century, first used to decorate armour, then later as a medium for Artists particularly landscapes. When the plate is completed, often several bites, aquatints and various techniques later I then do test prints and if I need to I’ll rework onto the plate before reaching the final image. I then ink up the plate and print on a Rochat Printing Press by hand onto Fabriano paper, an Italian company producing paper since 1264 supplying Michelangelo himself! The quality of the paper is of great importance to me. Depending on the size one print can take one hour from inking up to rolling through the printing press. The diorama boxes often involve more than one printed plate as I layer up these prints to create a three dimensional miniature world within the box.
I like to print using natural colours found in the landscape often greens, burnt umber, sepias and midnight blue. Gold is often found in my work to add illumination, warmth and richness.
The box frames I distress and paint or wood stain by hand. This incorporates the frame into the piece of Art making the box frame an important aspect of the finished piece. This process can take days waiting for the layers to dry, sanding and distressing the wood.
Next I work on the glass which is mirrored using an antique Venetian mirror technique.
I then delicately cut  out the etchings which are reinforced, and in layers form the landscape inside the box.
All the boxes I create are unique in colours and layout. Some of the themes that inspire my work are nature, myth, folk lore, constellations...

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