Tag Archives: Screenprinting

100 Days Project Scotland

Feeding off the scraps, sharing the spoils

100 Postcards for 100 days

The early part of lockdown was a shift and sort exercise to complete structural and decorating work on what was a disused garage. As I found myself getting through the organising (finally) and with my own print space I realised I no longer had an excuse not to get on with things. The closer I got to opening the ink, the more tentative I became about doing it. I realized that I needed something to get me started and so I decided to take part in this year’s 100 Days Project Scotland.

In May 2017 Isla Munro, designer and a tutor at Edinburgh College of Art had signed up to be one of the participants in Emma Rogan’s New Zealand 100 Days Project.  With Emma’s blessing, Isla has run a Scottish led version of the project since 2018. The 2020 project started on 16 May and finished on 23 August.


I wanted to use the project as a way to connect with people physically from a distance whilst reducing my significant hoard of ‘keep it just in case’. This seemed even more apposite in a time of enforced isolation.

My contribution was ‘feeding off the scraps, sharing the spoils’. I took inspiration from my go to boys Kurt Swhitters and H N Werkman and their respective approaches to adversity productions… use what you have, make what you can with what you know best. For them and Robert Rauschenberg, the make-do and re-use was often the only solution and it is good to be reminded of how necessity is often the mother of creation. There was probably a subconscious homage to On Kawara in these too.

I was also incredibly fortunate to be at a symposium at Bath Spa University in February where John Furnival was talking about his work. What an amazing man, so refreshingly pragmatic about his motivations and practice. ‘If it’s printed and it looks good, use it!’ has become a mantra (in his honour).

Each day or so, I made two postcards, which were repurposed from scraps, offcuts and many of the unresolved ideas I have gathered over the years. The limited time managed the overthinking and I enjoyed the simplicity of responding to and with the materials, I have. I customized and adapted using some of my other ‘commercially obsolete assistants’ Letraset and the typewriter to realise the pieces and of course any excuse to get out the rubber stamps is a bonus…

Some are more successful than others are but I ignored any desire to the edit. I managed my bouts of constructivism and I hope people who know me well will that notice that not everything is 032 red! They are what they are… that is enough. This is a liberation of sorts for me.

One card I kept the other I posted. The chances are if I know you well enough to have your address, one will have found its way to you.

Art Walk Porty


awp 2019

‘Souvenir’ began as a growing community-making project involving the postcard form, papermaking, and memories of visiting and living in Portobello. Starting points came from the research into the Portobello Paper Mill which once operated from Bridge Street and the tradition of ‘sending home a postcard’ when on your holidays. Within the 2018 theme of ‘Pleasure Ground’, the project sought to explore individual responses to begin to build a collective memory of the heritage of this seaside town. This was achieved via a series of drop-in workshops at Bellfield and on the Prom over the weekends of last year’s Art Walk. This is an evolving body of work and the results, thus far, will be exhibited as part of this year’s Art in Shops programme at the Cancer Research Shop, 208 Portobello High Street (Venue 32).

It always comes back to the inky joy of the word-work and making. The Book Arts permit explorations beyond and between the words and becomes a place to start, continue and re-visit conversations that got lost along the way.

Bookwork and prints on show will include pieces from ‘Souvenir: Wish You Were Here?’ made in response to last year’s Art Walk Porty.


During the Art Walk this year, I will be printing postcards with the public from my own c{art}. We will be responding to the theme of ‘Land Mark’ and Portobello’s industry history, particularly related to the Paper Mill which once operated in Bridge Street, as well as the tradition of  ‘sending home a postcard’ when on your holidays.





Fishing for Compliments

poster-blogI cannot quite believe it but our MA Multidisciplinary Print Show is up!

Building on the work I have completed for Souvenir (which will be exhibited as part of Art Walk Porty this September) and Word on the Street (which was exhibited as part of the Concrete Collective in January), I will be showcasing an interactive piece called Fishing for Compliments.

I would love to try and send a bit of joy out into the world, but I need your help to do it. I have spent time gathering some of the best compliments people have received (and thank you to everyone who was kind enough to share theirs with me!). I have printed a limited edition of each one and these will be the starting ‘prizes’ in my ‘fishing’ game.

You are invited to come and fish for a compliment at the Arnolfini on Friday 7 June, 6–9pm at our opening event. If you cannot make it along, there will be other opportunities on Saturday 8 (2–4pm), Monday 10 (2–4pm), and Wednesday 12 (2–4pm). We do not always get the compliment we want, but my hope is that you will take the compliment and pass it on to someone who you really think deserves it. All I ask is that you ‘return the compliment’ so I can print it, to keep the show going.

As well as Fishing for Compliments the show will also debut the c{art}. This is my way of bringing print to the people and as such, I will be running ‘Adana on an Art Cart’ sessions on Sunday 9 (12noon – 6pm) and Tuesday 11 (2pm – 8pm), so you can come along and have a go at letterpress printing for yourself.



I admit that I may be slightly biased but there is some absolutely breathtaking work on show from this year’s MA folk. It has been such a privilege to study and create alongside these wonderful and supportive people, so please come along and take a look!


UWE MA Print Show

7th – 12th June 2019

Arnolfini, Bristol

PV Friday 7th June, 6-9pm

Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 6pm and Monday to Wednesday 10am – 8pm (no registration required). Maps and travel info can be found at: https://www1.uwe.ac.uk/whatson/degreeshows/creativeindustries.aspx

Porty Art Walk Playbill Poster

The design for this Pleasure Ground poster has its roots in Playbill poster tradition. I have always liked the longer and thinner format of these prints. It echoes the early proclamation scrolls used by the Town Criers to disseminate information. I also wonder if the format was retained because as it met the need to fit on the protruding narrow pillars outside of theatres and playhouses.

It evokes an earlier time, links to when Portobello was a popular ‘Pleasure Ground’ and the posters that would have been there advertising the events and performances on the pier.

The style is for the text to be fully justified and so the type must be chosen or somehow made to fit. Being limited in the range of sizes and amount of each letter I could not set and print the whole thing letterpress. Like the Victorian letterpress printers (not necessarily bad designers but reliant on what was available… hence a different typeface on every line)… I utilised what I had. I have a wonderful, but small collection, of wooden type from Edinburgh’s Bishop & Sons. This was kindly gifted to me by the amazing Eric Deane under the premise that I use it… and use it I do!

I took proof prints on my trusty Farley of the main titles. Like the old jobbing printers, I had to improvise. To make it work I had to embrace the new technology. During my MA I have become increasingly interested in the journeys through analogue via digital and back to analogue. I have grown to like the digital reading of analogue marks. I am interested in provenance and the (conscious and mechanical) edit of history by what gets added and what remains.

By scanning the proofs and image tracing them in Illustrator a new form emerges from the old. This vectoring process is so useful as it allows the type to be re-scaled whilst preserving some of the integrity of the original. The other joy… (okay, I admit it, as a neo-Luddite, that these computers may have something about them after all… ) is that you have control over the kerning and spacing to make the balance and fit much better on a justified line. A boon to the anal typographer, but the challenge is not to take it too far, make it too perfect by channelling too much of Beatrice Warde’s ‘crystal goblet’. 

This is a caveat I set myself but the ability to be able to do this liberates in new and exciting ways. There remains some of the limitations and idiosyncrasies of the letterpress (this I would call its ‘humanity’, others may call it ‘charm’), but there I have flexibility and choice. The right type for the right words (form following function), the easier avoidance of overly dominant white space in the unwanted rivers and pig bristles, etc. I know it makes sense.


Digital version of the poster (with added side stripe to fit ‘A’ paper formats)

The digital print out showed the history but the somehow deadens the image. Great for a visual, cheap to reproduce and to communicate that idea. This is where going back to the analogue has an added value. It provides for a more sensory experience. If time and money were no object, cutting and routing into wood and printing letterpress would be the way… but that was not possible (this time). Also, there is a balance to be struck… when does the final print become too ‘precious’ in its production and therefore becomes less ephemeral in its nature?

With this as a consideration screenprinting becomes a viable option. I can do it myself, so have control over most aspects of production again. It is ephemeral but (hopefully) of interest enough that it can become a souvenir or keepsake after the fact for someone, somewhere. 

I like the medium supporting the message and try, where possible, to keep the integrity in. The design and production support this wherever it can. From the use of original Miller and Richard wooden type which would have been in wide use in the classrooms all across Edinburgh and the Lothians during Portobello’s hey-day to the printing on Southbank Smooth, a Fourdrinier produced paper (the same machine that made the paper in the Portobello Paper Mill).

The screenprint is made up of four different colours, green, blue, pink and black. There is a nod to seaside stripes and ice cream flavours in the choice. The scale was the most ambitious I have attempted to date. The image area is 420mm x 840mm. It was a challenge and it is not perfect (mistakes were made, lessons learned) but I think it retains an interest because of that. 

Finished playbill poster is printed and once trimmed will be around Portobello in the next few days!

Offset Exhibition

typochondriacs goes to the seaside!

Very pleased to be exhibiting once again with my amazing MA colleagues, this time in Weston-Super-Mare… misquoting and hopefully encouraging constructive disobedience…


An exhibition by level 2 MAMDP students is at the Old Town Quarry, South Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 2LU. Open 8th-28th June 2018, Weds-Sundays.

via OFF-SET exhibition at the Old Town Quarry — M A M D P


Concrete Collective

“A city is a language, a repository of possibilities and navigation is an act of speaking that language, of selecting from, or conversing with, those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can move, but one can invent other ways to go.” 

Adapted from Wanderlust: A History of WalkingRebecca Solnit

I am currently undertaking a body of work for the planned Concrete Collective exhibition. It has developed through the (th)inking, from letterpress, via digital, to screen print. It explores iterations and interpretations of the original to create new language scapes… a form of typography as topography. I am intrigued by the environments we construct (both real and imagined) through the language we use and how we, as individuals, create and navigate the spaces to come together, in-between.

Bearded Poe(t)ry

Some of the research I have been undertaking around ‘call and response’ has led me to consider ideas of tribes and image projection… what are the messages we give out and how do others receive them? How do we find ways to visually connect with ‘them what think like us about that’ and repel ‘them what don’t’?

One vehicle for this that intrigues is the t-shirt. I like their chameleon like quality, their humour, and their potential for disobedience. It is not just what the t-shirt says but what it is saying about the person wearing it. I will explore this idea further and build in more research to consider ideas of belonging, identity, virtue signalling and protest. What do we project, when, and why? Do certain circumstances allow freer forms of expression…

In the meantime, and as a way to finish my first MA year with an actual real piece of work, I set myself a project that would utilise some of some existing & new-found printmaking skills. Whilst at Catton Hall, for the 10th Bearded Theory Festival (which was amazing by the way), I took ten minutes every day to bond with a pint of Thatcher’s, ‘the perfect breakfast cider’ and make a list of the t-shirts that went by. These were edited to become ‘found’ poems and formed the textual elements for the Bearded Poe(t)ry book.


Sketchbook Page

I was keen to get back into the screen printing studio to get more comfortable with the process before the academic year finished. I set myself the challenge to increase my limited colour palette (there is life beyond the black and red) and explore the outcomes when combining printing techniques, in this case screen print, letterpress and rubber stamping. I used geometric shapes to echo isotype and directional elements as the foundation blocks of screen printed colour and I also included an illustration made by Alys in my sketchbook at Catton Hall, to include a drawn element (her response to what she found).


I over-printed the text elements in letterpress, along with some ornamental border in gold. It was so enjoyable to spend a proper chunk of time on the Arab, printing something for the simple joy of it. The rubber stamping takes the form of a hand cut homage to the Bearded Theory logo, the home-made and imperfect adding a humanity and character to the more ‘formal’ or ‘rigid’ printed elements. The happy accident of printing the stamp upside down was the perfect, though maybe subtle, solution to communicating the New Model Army vs Ferocious Dog ‘t-shirt off’.

I have long been an admirer of Theresa Easton’s work and keep coming back to the egalitarian ideals of chapbooks and broadsides and so for this decided to combine them both.

The broadside element was printed in the garage on my trusty Farley proofing press, not perfect but perfectly adequate, the home based approach further enabling the prINtDEPEDENCE (which will increase once the mice have been properly rehoused after their eviction from the sofa hotel).

The finished ‘chapside’ is Japanese slit fold book with a single one line ‘t-shirt’ poem as a proclamation broadside on the reverse. The whole thing is kept together with the poe(t)ry wristband.

Bearded Poe(t)ry is in an edition of 20 copies and will be included in the Off-Set Exhibition at the Christmas Steps Gallery in Bristol from 29 August until 3 September 2017.