I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was trying out some Drypoint print making as part of an initiative by Imagine Arts Festival that’s happening at the end of October in Waterford City. The plates and the metal scribes for scratching an image are given out free to anyone interested. Once the plate is scratched then you make an appointment to go to Anne McDonnells print studio at Kite Design in Waterford to ink ’em and print ’em.


So yesterday I brought my scratched plate into Anne. I have never done Drypoint before nor had I ever met Anne who is a lovely lady(and who has, by the by, eyes that are nearly violet, an eye colour I had heard of before but never seen.) Sorry, had to mention that šŸ™‚

I was immediately presented with an apron and offered gloves, which I refused, I love to get stuck in and gloves ruin the fun šŸ˜‰ I was joined by Catherine who was in college with me many moons ago. CatherinesĀ plate had a wild and energetic print of flowers and birds scratched into it, that filled the whole plate. I had put two smaller, twee prints on my plate and was of course immediately jealous of Catherines plate. But I’m a grown up now so I didn’t pull her hair. It was close though…


Anne squeezed out some sepia ink on the table, gave us small rectangles of mount card and a heap of torn newsprint. As we applied the ink with the card Catherine filled me in on some of our old classmates while I got ink everywhere. Happy days šŸ™‚

We then pressed the ink into the grooves of the plate with the newsprint. After wiping off the excess ink the plate was ready to be laid face up on the press with the paper and a couple of blankets over it. A couple of turns of the wheel-which made me feel like the captain of a (very erratic) ship-and voila the print is done. I tried a second one using orange and ochre which I didn’t think worked so well.



Then Anne cut the plate in half for me and I inked those plates with a mixture of sepia and yellow ochre and I rubbed away some excess on the plate to make a highlight or two. These two were the best and those are the ones that will be exhibited at GreyfriarsArt Gallery during the Festival.


Judging from the amount of plates given out it will be a big show with all the pieces priced extremely reasonably. I’ll be bringing some cash on the night anyway.

There is something about a print which improves a drawing and in some cases it can even make a bad one can look good. There’s the added advantage of being able to make reprints and mess around with colours so I think I’ll be back in the New Year when Anne will be running classes.


Kudos to both Imagine and to Anne for this idea. Artists are always being asked to donate pictures for sale, and often the expectation is that the artists should be grateful to be “allowed” give away their work. This annoys me no bloody end. A couple of years ago the local Institute of Technology asked me to submit some work from which they might or might not have chosen a free piece!Cheek. Presumably this was to ensure no-one would donate any crap to their collection but it also meant an artist who wanted in to the collection would have to lose their most sellable piece to hand. Well they got nowt from me let me tell you.


But this kind of scheme, yeah, I like this. Everyone gets something. I get to learn how to make a print and even keep a copy of it, Imagine Festival gets a print(well two prints)from me to sell(I’ve told them to keep any dosh, not sure what everyone else is doing). Anne, I hope, will get some new customers and pupils and everyone else gets the chance to buy a print at an extremely affordable price. How Bad?


Kite Design Studios are at Henrietta Street in the city. Here’s Annes blog spotĀĀ and for an Imagine Festival programĀ

Scratching the Surface, the show of prints, is opening at Greyfriars Art Gallery in the city on October 19th and runs through the Festival which ends on the 29th of October.




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