Melita Smith babyboomer hobbies - art – solar prints
This was an art class - of sorts - but it began on a cool June Saturday with an unusual mantra:
"Oh I'm not arty at all..." said one student looking around at walls plastered with exuberant children's artwork. "Me neither" agreed another, "can't draw to save myself…"
But there they were, ten women wearing paint-proof aprons, ill-versed in art but happily giving away a whole day of their weekend to learn print-making. Suzi, our tutor, ignored the self conscious throat clearing of her students and plunged us right into the medium she loves. We were there four hours but time meant nothing - it simply flew. If you can't handle meditation, then try this for an absolute retreat from everyday reality.
Suzi introduced us to a relief photo polymer process and ran through the basic process first.
Now it was our turn. We inked the solarplate then using something resembling chopsticks, created a design by scratching the surface of the plate. "Be free", said Suzie airily. (Perhaps she had heard those first misgivings!) "Wander around and use all the shapes and ideas you see around you."
Our scratched plates were exposed under a UV lamp. Hard to believe that in a past life this lamp had been a facial sun tanner. Then - enthusiastically at first - the ink was scrubbed off under water. This took a lot of muscle, and enthusiasm soon waned. But finally the plate was free of black ink revealing an interesting relief design.
Coloured inks were applied to the cleaned surface by either paintbrush (or in some cases, a toothbrush) and roller. What a lovely messy business! Thank goodness for our aprons.
The plate was put on a flat surface and damp printing paper placed on top. Then it was rolled through something resembling a wringer but called a press. And voila - we had our own prints!
By the time we'd finished and cleaned up, we'd supported each other when our creative efforts flagged, shared experiences and enjoyed lots of laughs.
Suzi is planning for another class at Dio on July 25th. What's the bet that even the non-artists will be there…!