Etching practise;

Etching print 6I spent several hours relearning to use an etching press again; carving designs into plates, to cover in ink and press onto paper, mainly because it’s a new machine in the department, and secondly because it makes pretty awesome images.

I used it to copy out three of my geometric patterns which I’ve taken to drawing a lot, particularly on graph paper. It makes for easier mark making – particularly straight lines which are my worst enemy. Although it does tend to constrict me to a seemingly pre thought out design which ends up less like lace, frills, or ornate designs and more like pieces of computers or designs you would find in kaleidoscopes.

I did a little research into wallpaper specifically; which helped create some of Etching print 1.2the designs, whilst it also clued me into the upper, working and lower class patterns and styles and their constant exchangeability. I used Google to search the two terms “Wallpaper for home interior new designs expensive” and “Wallpaper for home interior new designs cheap” to find out the top three links for each were. For the first search it came up with three independent designer brands; ‘Tangle tree interiors’, ‘Zoffany’, and ‘Cole and son’, for the latter it fell into; ‘discount interiors’, ‘Homebase’, and ‘scion’ – the last being a independent cheaper shop brand, which did not make its own paper.

The designer brands made some styles like I was expecting, with complicated patterns, full scenes of landscapes, or intricate animals in repeat, although the most they made were block colours, simple geometric designs and stripes/dots or other simple repeats. The opposite was true for the cheaper brands; although not as incredible as the more expensive paper there were far more swirl designs, layered patterns and interlocking repeats.

Etching print 4I also looked back to the Temple Newsam House were they have a ‘Chinese room’ where Lady Hertford, who was seemingly discontent with the “hand-painted Chinese wallpaper in the room given to her by her admirer the Prince of Wales”, she decorated the paper with images of bird from John James Audubon’s book “The Birds of America”, co-incidentally one of the most valuable books of all time. The thing with Temple Newsam is that all the rooms have rebuilt- interior decoration wise, to mimic the era of the households exterior and history. They have matched wallpaper, furniture, drapes and paintings to fit into an intricate display of its original glory.

Etching print 2.1One of the other things that kept cropping up in my searches of wallpaper was computer wallpapers; backgrounds for desktops, and screensavers; some were animated, some imitated real wallpapers, or tapestries, others were stills of films or illustrations of books, some were drawn others photographs. The main one was the stars; the basic wallpaper from the apple mac computers; photographs from the Hubble telescope depicting the night sky: an inspirational background I’m sure. The point is that it led me back to pixels – so I managed to mangle a random stock image of wallpaper into pixelating – by stretching and zooming into the image. Before I made my own in ‘paint’ so that every time I saved, and opened the image again, it had pixelated, previously block colours for me, it turned out quite well, I tried printing it in a repeat pattern style to see how it would look in context.

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