31 January 2013

Another look at the woodcut process

Here's a roughly photographed sequence showing the process of cutting, inking and printing the Brownhill woodblock.







If you're interested in this kind of thing I've just seen a good one on Tugboat Printshop's blog showing the printing of their wonderful woodcut  'The Moon'.







Woodcut sign at Brownhill Countryside Centre and the colour purple

Last Autumn I was commissioned by Pennine Prospects - a regeneration company - to create a woodcut for use on new outdoor signage at Brownhill Countryside centre near Oldham. The brief was very specific and the image had to include the viaduct, the uplands, a working narrow boat, a peacock butterfly and appropriate wild flowers.

I'm not used to such a prescriptive remit and tight deadline of just a couple of weeks so was a bit flustered to start with but it proved helpful really as I just had to get on with it and not experiment too much. I did have to research the different varieties of narrow boat sterns, tillers and fenders. More weird knowledge to clutter up my memory banks.

The revamped centre has officially opened now and I've just received these photos of the signs in place.





My initial response was WTF! as I wasn't expecting this bright purple. I think it would look better in black or even a darker more subtle shade of violet.  I'd love to hear what others think. Here's my original print from the block.  The classic black and white is more weighty somehow.



I like purple as a colour, but it has to be in the right context. There's something about shiny purple plastic thats shuddery. One of the most familiar uses of purple is the packaging of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate which originated at Bournville in my home city Birmingham. I studied art for a year at Bournville College of Art seemingly about a hundred years ago.
Dairy Milk wrapper from 1915, before the signature Cadbury script logo had been created. 

Interestingly in a high-court ruling last October, Cadbury was allowed to trademark Pantone 2685C.
This has resulted in a lot of debate about 'who owns the colour purple' and should you be able to trademark a colour?  Read the full story here and have a look at the comments as they demonstrate how passionate people can feel about the ownership of colours.

Anyway, to get back to the signs, I guess Pennine Prospects are trying to get away from traditional black and white in favour of more fashionable hues, and one of their brand colours for the Watershed Landscape Project is purple. It was an enjoyable project to work on and I'm pleased to have my image out there whatever the colour.




24 January 2013

Why we go mad when it snows




Photos taken through the dirty windows of the cross Pennine train between Manchester and Hebden Bridge on my way back home from Brittany.  When you live in a country where the default weather colour for at least 6 months of the year seems to be mid grey, its no wonder we go ape-shit when it suddenly looks like this.

22 January 2013

Seasalt and shingle






Beautiful soft colours this January around the Gulf of Morbihan, the Vilaine estuary and the Rhuys peninsula.

4 January 2013

A quiet beginning



Not much happening in the Northtown just now, gently dull days and dark peaceful nights.

No resolutions for me this new year and no committing to any kind of daily art challenges.  I'll just see where things take me, at my own pace and in my own time.

So its off to Brittany this week for some sea salt and shingle.  See you in a while...