Author Archives: Kath Van Uytrecht

Inside The Technician’s Toolbox – Part 4: Kath Van Uytrecht

Specialist Printmaking Technician Kath Van Uytrecht shares the contents of one of her toolboxes with us. Kath is a toolbox super fan and has at least three different toolboxes. One might say this is over the top, but Kath claims that collecting and using tools gives the same enjoyment and satisfaction as it does collecting stationery.

Kath’s printmaking toolbox is small standard Stanley Hardware Toolbox, and contains most of the tools she would need in the printmaking area. It has two small compartments on the lid and and a low tray that sits in the inside compartment.

The Contents of Kath's toolbox show
Kath’s open toolbox showing its contents

Kath’s toolbox has two top compartments. The left compartment contains various erasers and a loupe. The erasers are for ‘print aftercare’- cleaning up dirty boarders and marks. Kath uses the loupe to see how deep an aquatint is etching. The right compartment contains two squeegees for inking up plates. Kath uses the cream squeegees for inking up plates with pale coloured or transparent ink so that the rubber of the squeegee doesn’t affect the colour.

The main compartment holds clean sponges and brushes for printing lithographs as well as for dampening paper when there isn’t a paper sink. Clean sponges can also be used for cleaning up borders and paper after they have dried. The compartment also contains different sized flat ended palette knives for mixing inks. There are a range of permanent markers for making registration sheets and a compass for drawing circles. Additionally, there is a roll of masking tape and some very fine steel wool for polishing metal plates.

The removable tray holds a range of etching tools including various needles, burnishers and roulettes. All Kath’s cutting tools are housed here as well as a steel ruler, a pencil and a chinagraph marker.

Kath’s toolbox has been built up over many, many years and contains many specialist and some expensive tools. As much as she enjoys these tools, she stresses that the most important tools are high quality basic ones. Because we use these tools often, they affect your work flow as well as your enjoyment of working. A sharp pencil, steel ruler, fine marker pen, sharp cutting knife or good quality masking tape are all basic tools that can make a big difference when working.

We asked Kath:

What is the one must-have basic essential (most used) tool in your toolbox?

A clean, sharp pair of scissors.

Kath's sharps collection: Scissors, cutting knife, scalpel, paint scraper, and compass cutter. There are also spare blades for each cutting tool.
Kath’s sharps collection: Scissors, cutting knife, scalpel, paint scraper, and compass cutter. There are also spare blades for each cutting tool.

What is your favourite tool?

A paint scraper for cleaning up ink slabs after printing.

It hugely reduces the amount of chemicals needed to clean as well as the clean up time. It’s the best!

Kath's favourite tool is a Stanley brand paint scraper with replacement blades
Kath’s favourite tool a Stanley brand paint scraper with replacement blades

What is the weirdest/quirkiest/most specialist tool you have?

Agate burnisher for burnishing creases out of paper.

Kath's etching and printing tools which include from left to right: a bone folder, agate burnisher, steel scraper and burnisher, two roulettes with different sized dot patterns, square tipped etching needle, sharp pointed etching needle, rounded point etching needle and a pair of jeweller's tweezers.
Kath’s etching and printing tools which include from left to right: a bone folder, agate burnisher, steel scraper and burnisher, two roulettes with different sized dot patterns, square tipped etching needle, sharp pointed etching needle, rounded point etching needle and a pair of jeweller’s tweezers.

Print Curiosities: No.5- William Crozier

Written by Specialist Printmaking Technician, Kath Van Uytrecht

Abstracted garden scene in bright orange, pink, yellow, green and blue.
William Crozier, ‘Garden’, Carborundum.

‘Garden’ is a limited edition print that was commissioned to accompany a special book publication about the work of William Crozier (1930-2011). William Crozier was an Irish Scottish artist that studied at The Glasgow School of Art. His work is often associated with bright colourful landscapes. In 2019, Flower’s Gallery had a retrospective of his printed works. The gallery also has a selection of paintings that you can view on their website.

The book titled ‘William Crozier’ details the artist’s work from the past fifty years of his life. It was designed to offer ‘substantial critical attention to an artist well known within the UK and Irish art worlds, and gives new insights into the still under-written history of figurative painting in Britain.’

The book contains critical texts and many colour reproductions of his work. The hardcover book is housed in a bright yellow slip case and additionally contains the limited edition print.

Book with garden print and yellow slip case.
‘William Crozier’ by Crouan, Kennedy and Vann, 2007. With limited edition print ‘Garden’ and yellow slip case

‘Garden’ is a small multiple plate print made with carborundum. Carborundum is a technique where grit is added and mixed into PVA glue. The paste is then painted directly onto the printing plate creating textured painterly marks. These marks emboss into the paper when printed. The grit is porous and can hold a lot of ink. The result is a textured print with intense colour.

‘Garden’ was made and printed at Graphic Studio Dublin with Master Printmaker Robert Russell. There were only one hundred and twenty five prints made in this edition. I love this print for the intensity, depth of colour and the amount of textured detail that is contained in such a small print. It also reminds me of my time working at Graphic Studio Dublin. Meeting the artists who collaborated with the studio was a highlight. I will always remember William Crozier for his kind and gentle manner.

Print Curiosities: No.4 – Chisato Tamabayashi

Print Curiosties: No.4 is selected and written by Specialist Printmaking Technician, Kath Van Uytrecht

There should always be one work of art in your collection that simply invokes a feeling of joy. Pop-up book ‘Airborne’ by Chisato Tamabayashi, instantly puts a smile on my face. The book consists of six full page pop-ups, illustrating the journey of a hot air balloon. The simple narrative, bright colours, pop-up surprises and interactive sliding tabs, remind me of some of my favourite childhood picture books.

Open page of a book depicting a large group of hot air balloons, of different sizes, colour and pattern. Some of the hot air balloons are pop-up and appear to float as the stick up from the page.
Final Pop-Up Page from ‘Airborne’ by Chisato Tamabayashi. Artist’s Book.

Chisato is a paper and book artist that studied Graphic Design at London College of Printing. She also holds an MA in Communication Art and Design at the Royal College of Art.

Like children’s picture books, Chisato’s artworks do not contain text. In an interview in Voice (2015) she explains: ‘I believe that visual language is universal, so hopefully the narrative I’m suggesting in my work can communicate through the imagery alone or take people along on their own imaginative journeys.’

Chisato illustrates and prints every part of her books. ‘Airborne’ provides the sense of awe and satisfaction that comes from something well designed and constructed. For ‘Airborne’, Chisato screen prints all the pages and separate parts for each pop-up piece. She then carefully cuts out each element. Once this process is completed, she constructs the pages together and hand binds them into a book. Painstaking care and patience is needed in every step of the process. It is this care that translates into a delightful tactile experience by the reader.

It is important to Chisato that the reader experiences this tactility. ‘I think tactility is very important and maybe that’s why I choose a book format. To enjoy an artist book, you have to touch the book, go through it at your own pace, feel the paper, listen to the noises (sometimes my pop-up pieces make noise!) and enjoy the images.’

Read the full interview with Chisato in Voice, an online art and illustration magazine.

Follow Chisato on Instagram to see her latest work, or view her portfolio on her website.

Featured Graduate: Neelam Bhullar

The Monarch Butterfly, photo-etching. Circular image filled with Monarch butterflies in a monotone copper colour
The Monarch Butterfly. Photo etching.

1.Tell us about yourself. Have you always made art?

Like many artist’s creativity has always been a part of me from a young age. My mum would always get me craft kits, glitter and colourful pens which all contributed to my creativity and helped me to grow as an artist.

2. How did you get started in printmaking?

I wanted to learn about printmaking which I noticed I hadn’t done much of throughout the first two years on the degree, at the beginning of my third year I spoke with the technicians about learning some of these techniques. The intaglio process was what I was most drawn to having produced a few plates, eventually I fell in love with the process and found myself making as many plates as I could in the remainder of time I had left on the course. I feel like learning all these techniques has helped me to develop my art in new and exciting ways.

3. Who are your biggest influences?

I find many artists influential, some of my favourites would have to be Yayoi Kusama, Edvard Munch, Hieronymus Bosch, Andy Warhol, and Gilbert & George.

4. Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated? What does your current work setup look like?

In the near future I’m looking to produce work at open access print studio’s as a starting point, I have many ideas constantly flowing through my mind which I wish to see through and continue to learn more about printmaking in the process. My current work setup consist of a small work space which serves me well for all my research and initial stages of my image making, my desk is usually a mess when I’m image making which I quite like as I feel it helps me to put a range of ideas together, sometimes they happen by accident.

Illness and Identity. Photo-lithograph. Mono-tone circular image with collaged figures and abstract shapes and textures.
Illness and Identity. Photo lithograph.

5. Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

My only regret was not getting into the print workshops earlier. During my time in the workshops this year I have seen a pathway to producing work which I would have never imagined. Having learnt so much in such a short space of time due to the help of the technicians, I will continue to apply everything that I have learnt to my work in order to strengthen my practice. I have developed a passion and fascination for print and the techniques it has to offer which has become an essential part of my practice.

6. Where can we see more of your work?

Instagram: @nbhullar19

Photopolymer print in made during Return to Make. The image is in a sepia tone and depicts collaged nude figures amongst snow drops and other flora.
Photopolymer Print made during Return to Make

Inside The Technician’s Toolbox – Part 2: Klara Vith

Drawer full of multiple containers holing tools.
Klara’s tool drawer

Specialist Letterpress Technician Klara Vith shares her sketching and bookbinding toolbox with us.

Klara’s tools are housed in various boxes, leather and felt roll cases and pencil cases that all sit neatly in a drawer.

We asked Klara:

What is the one must-have basic essential (most used) tool in your toolbox?

Knife protectors for all sharps, this includes cutting knives, scalpels and shoe knives for cutting paper. Sharp covers can be easily made using paper and tape. These covers provide protection and keep points sharp

shoe knife and paper knife protector.
Shoe knife with paper and washi tape knife protector

What is your favourite tool?

My Rotring Isograph technical drawing pen. These pens can be refilled, the ink flows really well and the nibs come in various sizes so you can draw with super fine lines.

Rotring technical pen packaging.
Rotring technical pen

What is the weirdest/quirkiest/most specialist tool you have?

My handmade ‘Nifty Tool’. I designed a clear sheet of acrylic that has a pica grid laser engraved into it. It has a small wooden handle and allows me to make square alignments easily and square off the edges of my prints.

Featured Graduate: Romario Williams

Two plate etching of half faces. Lines in black, background red.
Two plate etching made during Return to Make

1.Tell us about yourself. Have you always made art?

I have just graduated from Illustration. Since I can remember, I have always created art. One of my earliest memories I have is of drawing on a computer in nursery. The teacher said that I was definitely going to be an artist one day because my drawing had the most colours in it. I play the piano but art has always been the main focus for me. Even from the things that I watch. I watch a lot of anime. I decided to come to LCC Illustration because although Illustraion is quite broad, at LCC it wasn’t combined with fine art, so it was more tailored.

2. How did you get started in printmaking?

As part of the Illustration Course we had to do inductions in the Printmaking Workshops. I didn’t really enjoy printmaking at first, I thought it was long round about process, where you could just draw more directly and quickly in other media. My tutors really encouraged me to reconsider printmaking as they could see the potential of my drawing going into print. Their passion when talking about printmaking made me want to try it again.  I tried printmaking again, but it was only when I tried etching that it felt right for me. I learned that I could break it down into two processes- the drawing and the printing. Once I focused on the plate making and then printing I found that this worked for me.

3. Who are your biggest influences?

Quentin Blake is one of my favourite illustrators. I really like his illustrations, from my earliest memories I remember Roald Dahl books. I just really like how everything seemed to be so energetic, everything seems to be moving. It’s art with the stories. So when I was introduced to his adult stories later I really felt like Blake was missing. William Blake, the Pre-Raphaelites, Anime have also been strong influences. At the moment, I tend to look generally at artworks on platforms like Pintrest, rather than an artist’s body of work.

Etching of geometric face. Line in black, background red.
Etching, editioned during Return to Make

4. Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated? What does your current work setup look like?

I am currently working in a spare room at home. This is my current studio. I draw and paint here. I don’t need a lot of space. In the future I will look to make prints at an open access print workshop.

5. Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

In the first year when using the print workshop I didn’t absorb much of what I was doing. I was associating this time with completing projects and project briefs. I never took a lot of time to really learn the process. In my second year I began to see the process as its own thing, and work in itself. Now that I have graduated, it is all print, this is the first time I have created work that is all art without a brief.

In first year, I thought I had ticked a box and that I was fluent in printmaking and I knew what I was doing.  I would advise myself to take time to reflect and appreciate the work and the process and the time it takes to develop a practice. I didn’t understand printmaking at the time, now I understand it much more. It has a whole following.

Close up of etching of half faces. Lines black background orange.
Detail of etching during the colour proofing stage

6. Where can we see more of your work?

Instagram rome_in_rio

Inside The Technician’s Toolbox – Part 1: Lisa Chappell

A 'loupe' or 'thread counter' or used viewing printed halftones
A ‘loupe’ or ‘thread counter’ or used viewing printed halftones

This series of posts will explore the inner world of the technician’s toolbox. All of our technicians are practicing artists as well as educators and have built their tool collection to suit their changing needs and interests over the years.

A tool collection can be very personal with each tool having its own story and emotional connection. Tools can also range from being an essential basic to a specialist bespoke item. It is always very important that when borrowing a tool from someone to remember to be respectful that there may be this personal attachment to the tool. A tool that may seem like a standard piece of junk may have particular significance to the owner.

Toolboxes store and protect your tools and can be as varied as the tools themselves. Everyone has their own preference from a hardware store style compartmentalised box to decorative biscuit tins to leather roll up bags.

We have asked some of our technicians to share their tool collections and asked them three questions about their tools. We hope that these will inspire you to start you own toolbox.

We begin our journey with Specialist Screen Print Technician, Lisa Chappell, and her current set of tools. Instead of using a toolbox, Lisa has a set of pencil cases, tins and boxes assigned for different items and processes. Her pencil case collection includes:

birdseye view of lisa's collection. 2 tin boxes with tools inside. 4 pencil cases with tools inside.
Lisa’s Tool Collection stored in a tin, various pencil cases and a small box.

A small one for pencils, replacement leads and erasers.

A medium one for pens, including Sharpie markers, opaque pens, Staedler and Rotring fine liners.

A large one for tools such as spatulas, scissors, craft knives and scalpels.

A clean one for bookbinding tools

In addition to her pencil case set she also has a tin for relief print that contains rollers, a wooden spoon and a baren, as well as a small box of etching tools

Photo of white plastic spatula and pink retractable pencil.
Lisa’s Favourite Retractable Pencil and Must-Have Plastic Spatula.

We asked Lisa:

What is the one must-have basic essential (most used) tool in your toolbox?
A plastic spatula with flat edge for scraping up ink & mixing.

What is your favourite tool?
A retractable pencil for consistent line.

What is the weirdest/quirkiest/most specialist tool you have?
A loupe, for a halftone addict

Loupe showing halftones from a print below
Loupe showing halftones from a print below

Print Curiosities – No. 2: Maev Lenaghan

Print Curiosities is back! We have expanded our series to include a variety of print and book curiosities from the personal archives across the Printmaking, Book Arts and Letterpress Team. We have asked our technicians to delve into their collections to select, share and write about some of their favourite, special or unusual works of art.

Print Curiosities: No. 2. is selected and written by Specialist Printmaking Technician, Kath Van Uytrecht.

Having spent nearly a decade editioning prints privately for artists and for Graphic Studio Dublin and Stoney Road Press publications, I have accumulated a good collection of printer’s proofs. Some of these prints are large colour multiple plate prints created by some of Ireland’s top established artists.

Small bear printed in grey and gold ink with hard and soft lines and a pale grey wash for texture
Maev Lenaghan, ‘Small Bear’, etching.

Today I have selected to share something a little more subtle and delicate, but equally noteworthy and special.

‘Small Bear’ is one of the most prized etchings in my collection. The print was gifted to me by artist Maev Lenaghan. Maev studied printmaking at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and holds an MFA from Konstfack in Stockholm. She currently lives and works in Sweden.

Maev is interested in narrative and storytelling across Fine Art, Illustration, Literature and Design. Her work explores our relationship and connection to wilderness, working with media such as books, drawing, painting, pastel and printmaking.

Maev is a contributor to I DO ART, an ‘independent dissemination platform for art, with a focus on personal stories and attitudes, visuality and process’.

“My artistic practice springs from ideas that are in essence narrative, that take stock of life in the face of an imperturbable wilderness.”

In 2012, Maev created a series of etchings depicting oral storyteller Clare Murphy in action on Story Night, a regular monthly community storytelling event in Galway, Ireland. These prints were exhibited as part of a solo exhibition titled ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Woods?’.

She describes this show as “a peek at the richness of our interior lives, and then takes a walk to the edge of our society, in search of wilderness. As a species our strength lies in communities, in imagination and communication, and we are reminded of this amidst lively human interaction. We gather together in communities for protection, vulnerable as individuals. Most of us live removed from places where nature is still wild and foreboding. Yet even amongst those of us who have lost sight of our vulnerability beyond the societies of our making, there are yearnings for wilderness, for the great outdoors.”

Most recently Maev exhibited in The Space Gallery in Shanghai, China, with a show titled THIS BRIGHT EARTH. Another recent exhibition ROOTED IN SILENCE at Galleri LOKOMOTIV, Örnsköldsvik in the north of Sweden received an excellent review. The review is written in Swedish, but you can translate it online.

Open page of book with text on the left page. On the right page is a woodcut image that has an abstract texture and is printed in grey.
Maev Lenaghan, ‘I am a Maev, not a Moose’, artists book

“My latest work encompasses woodblock prints, linocut prints and artist books. These culminated in an exhibition in the north of Sweden which I called ROOTED IN SILENCE. There are two levels to the work: as a balancing of line, colour, emptiness and movement to create energy on the picture plane and to reflect experiences whose very nature are unspoken. Whether recalling the feelings of watching a  bonfire burn on the Swedish traditional night of ‘Valborgmässoafton’, visiting the  zen rock gardens of Japan or observing the exposed roots of trees; these are memories of being mesmerised by something. These are experiences that quiet the mind and speak to the unconscious and that I believe elicit the emotive response of stillness that you are looking for with the exhibition titled ‘Silence’.”

Detail of a small bear shows the bear's head and front paw printed in grey and gold ink. There is a combination of hard and soft line and a pale wash
Detail of ‘Small Bear’ by Maev Lenaghan.

I met Maev whilst working in Graphic Studio Dublin, one of Ireland’s oldest printmaking co-operatives.

‘Small Bear’ was created for Graphic Studio Dublin’s 50 year Anniversary exhibition titled ‘Gold’. The image is only 10cm x 10cm in size, but by looking at it closely you can see that contains a variety of beautiful line and texture that you can look at for hours. I come to it again and again and it always gives me joy as well as inspiring me to want to make etchings. This deceptively simple image contains three different etching techniques. This really demonstrates the quality and expertise of Maev’s drawing, mark making and printmaking. The etching is made of hard ground and soft ground line as well as sugar lift for a textured wash.

I chose this print not only for its beauty, and accomplished technique, but because it reminds me of the spirit of generosity in the printmaking community as well as the power of patience, subtlety and stillness and the complexity and simplicity of storytelling. You can explore more of Maev’s recent narrative works on her website and instagram.

Featured Graduate: Catia Kelleher

Multiple plate Linocut print made during Return to Make
Multiple plate Linocut print made during Return to Make.

1.Tell us about yourself. Have you always made art?

I have always loved to draw and paint. Luckily for me, I grew up in a family that have always appreciated creativity from drawing to music to architecture. Therefore, I was absorbed into the art world at a young age. I even remember being in awe at my dad’s watercolour and grandad’s oil paintings that are proudly hung on the walls of my family home. With my work now hanging up on the wall too, it has been become somewhat of a family gallery.

2. How did you get started in printmaking?

I had my introduction into Lino printing at the age of 16 at college and I immediately loved the technicality of the process. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take it much further due to a lack of available facilities. When searching for art universities, I was intrigued to find that LCC had incredible printing equipment and inductions. I was finally able to expand my knowledge of printing into new methods such as screen printing, letterpress, and lithography. Lino is still my favourite print medium, because of the textures it allows me to bring to my work.

Cutting lino blocks during Return to Make. Blocks depict a parrot and a toucan.
Cutting lino blocks during Return to Make.

3. Who are your biggest influences?

I am heavily influenced by modern artists, such as Andy Warhol, Craig Stephens and Jeff Koons. All of whom are artists that take ordinary commercial objects and transform them into art icons. I am inspired by their ability to shed new light on graphic design that we see daily, such as food labels. I find it a shame that they are often overlooked within the art world. A GCSE art project of mine consisted solely of recreating product labelling and all it’s intricate details.

The use of pop art that has been influenced by the culture of advertisements fascinates me as it is a mirror of the society at that time.

I love commercial illustrations and posters from the likes of vintage London Underground advertisements or attraction posters such as the London Zoo. I have an appreciation for dramatic composition and graphic colours – being minimal is not a talent of mine!

In my artwork, I like to experiment a lot with colours and love to show many combinations of complimentary and contrasting features. I admire the colour palettes of Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Matisse.

I have a huge appreciation for nature and have represented it in some of my artwork over the years. Works I have created recently are designed to embrace the diversity of the flora and fauna that are currently at risk due to the declining environmental situation. I am also inspired by my Brazilian heritage and want to bring awareness to the constantly rising dangers that the wonders of the Amazon face.

Editioned screen prints drying on the racks. These prints were made earlier in the course and are inspired by Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Editioned screen prints drying on the racks. These prints were made earlier in the course and are inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

4. Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated? What does your current work setup look like?

This year of 2020 has been a challenge for us all so after completing my studies and graduating during lockdown from my home, it is foggy to try and envision the near future and be motivated to create new pieces. However, during these times, optimism is the best way forward. Recently, I have had the chance to return to the LCC relief printing studio and I have found a new drive of energy to continue creating.

I have a desk set up in my living room with all my supplies, from paints to fabric. Here, I can work away surrounded by posters from exhibitions I have been to over the years. However, I find that inspiration can strike at any time of day. I have the Pocket ProCreate app on my phone to make sketches of ideas that come to mind whilst waiting for the next tube to arrive or my coffee order to be ready. Later, when I’m back at my desk I can then work on these concepts more and develop them further by resketching and painting in colour schemes.

For now, I will be putting my efforts into making as much artwork as I can to upload onto my Instagram account or sell on an Esty shop till more job opportunities open up. 

5. Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

Any free time you get, dedicate it to something brand new or something you want to learn more about. There are always areas to explore in printing and in your own process as you constantly absorb inspirations around you. Expand, learn and develop.

Don’t shy away from opportunities to bring more awareness to your work, exhaust the list.

Finally, while I unwillingly graduated during the Covid-19 pandemic, I would definitely say don’t take the university space and facilities for granted.

Linocut of lemons and limes.
Linocut of lemons and limes.

6. Where can we see more of your work?

I post weekly on my art Instagram account @cm_getscreative where I share the process behind my current projects and then reveal the final pieces.

I also have an online portfolio, which is accessible at