Seanse of Soane

Emily Allchurch

Grand Tour: In search of Soane by Emily Allchurch

Two of the Artists showing in BITE also have work in Sense of Soane which opened last night.

BITE selector Anne Desmet RA and artist Emily Allchurch both have work inspired by the architecture of John Soane on display in Soane’s Pitzanger Manor House in Ealing. Well worth a trip!


Anne Desmet exhibition

I will be showing 25 brand new works in this 3-person exhibition at the historic Pitzhanger Manor (former country house of 18th C architect Sir John Soane) in Ealing, which opens THIS THURSDAY 13th September. Very sorry this is such short notice but you and your family, friends and colleagues are all very welcome to come. If you can’t make it on Thursday evening, the show is on for 5 weeks until 27th October. I’ll be giving an informal walking tour of it (as it covers five rooms in the historic house) on Saturday 20th October and will be helping to run a drop-in free children’s workshop there on Saturday 27th October. In the daytime, the gardens at the back of the house are glorious and there are lots of nice shops and good places to eat all around the gallery – Ealing Broadway is rather a nice place. The gallery is 7 or 8 minutes walk from the tube (central and district lines). Hope I’m tempting you!

My works in this show are not directly available for sale but Pitzhanger will, on request, be happy to put you in touch with my agents, Hart Gallery (or see, where you are welcome (with absolutely no obligation to purchase) to ask the prices of any of the works, which will all be for sale the following month in a week-long solo show entitled ‘Anne Desmet – Fragments of Time’ organized by Hart Gallery at a new site on 313 Upper Street, Islington, from 19th-24th November (invitations to follow nearer the time), but works can all be reserved in advance via Hart Gallery should you wish to do so.

With every good wish and thank you for your continued interest in my work.


A short guide to printmaking techniques

Ink is rolled, dabbed or painted on the surface of the block, which is then printed manually or by printing press.

Linocut, Woodcut and Wood Engraving
An image is cut into a flat surface of lino or wood using sharp tools. A thin layer of printing ink is then applied to the raised (or uncut) surface and the image printed by hand burnishing or with a printing press.

Reduction printing is a way of making a multi-colour print from one block, which is cut, inked and printed over several successive stages.

Ink is pushed into marks etched, engraved or indented into a (usually metal) plate and printed with a press.

Etching and Aquatint
An image is drawn (or photographically transferred) on the protected surface of a metal plate, (copper, zinc or steel) and etched in with acid. Tonal values are produced with aquatint. For each printing, ink is rubbed into the lines, grooves and pitted areas of the plate, while its top surface is wiped clean.

An image is created by drawing directly on a plate (often metal) with a sharp pointed metal stylus. The displaced metal produces a ‘burr’ that gives drypoint prints their characteristic velvety look. As the burr wears down quickly, the edition is always small.

A metal plate, usually copper, is first worked over with a ‘rocker’, which produces a fine pattern of closely spaced, indented dots, which, if inked, would print as a rich black tone. The image is created by scraping or burnishing highlights into the pitted surface of the plate. The artist works from dark to light.

A print made from a collaged block. Various materials such as card, metal foil, carborundum grit, are collaged on a metal or cardboard plate, which can be inked and printed in intaglio or in relief. The different shapes and textures of the collaged materials are used to create the image.

These prints use powdered stone (carborundum), stuck to the plate with
glue or epoxy resins, to create a surface texture (like sandpaper) which when the plate is inked-up, produces a very rich, dense tone and texture when printed.

A print process relying on the antipathy of grease and water. Images are created by applying greasy marks to a specially prepared stone or metal plate.

An image is drawn on this special stone or metal plate, using greasy materials such as oil-based crayons and inks (tusches). For printing, the greasy drawing is inked by rolling the plate’s surface with oil-based ink. During inking, the plate’s surface is kept constantly wet; this water repels the printing ink which sticks only to the greasy drawing. Lithographs are press-printed. Separate plates and printings are required for each colour.

A porous mesh is attached to a rigid frame. Ink is forced through the mesh onto the surface to be printed.

An image is hand-painted (or stencilled or photographically applied) onto a ‘screen’ (a textile mesh stretched over a frame). The painted areas block up the holes in the mesh, preventing ink from passing through in those parts.

Ink is pulled across the screen using a special rubber blade, forcing the ink through the mesh and onto the surface to be printed. Several screens may be required to produce an image involving many colours.

Many contemporary prints owe their existence to digital technology, which as a printmaking tool adds a new dimension to the creation and manipulation of images: drawings, paintings, photographs, text, sound, movement. All of these can be represented using the creative opportunities offered by the computer. The image is then passed to an inkjet/giclée/laser printer from the computer. This makes the image by ‘spraying’ ink onto the paper. The entire process is controlled and directed by the artist.

A one-off image. The image is painted or drawn onto a clean printing surface such as acetate or metal. The image is then printed via a press or by burnishing with the hand. The image can be built-up by printing a series of layers or in one printing.

The image cannot be repeated as there are no permanent marks on the printing surface which will allow an identical image to be made again. It is a unique image – and described as a ‘monoprint’ or 1/1 (no edition).

Where the artist has used more than one printmaking medium to make the final image.

Printmakers are always trying out new ideas and hate to be constrained by technical boundaries. These prints have been made by layering different print processes to give rich, complex results.

Hanging Bite

So the big day arrived: Sunday 2nd September and it was time to hang the show. We had 243 works to get on the walls varying in size from tiny mezzotints to huge woodcuts, from lovely rich black etchings to bright colourful screenprints. The way we do this at the Mall Galleries is that the works are placed by the Hanging Committee (usually artists) and then put on the walls by the Mall’s technicians. The Hangers oversee the process and can change things if there is a problem, and remain responsible for how the show looks on the wall. It is an art in itself making sure that the show looks coherent and that all the works are placed to their best advantage.


We find that a small hanging committee works best, and this year I was assisted ably by Euan Stewart, one of our exhibiting artists, as my usual colleague Megan Fishpool was unavoidably absent. The first decision we had to make was how to hang the new Threadneedle Space. It has a quite different light to the Main Gallery: it is cooler and not as bright. As I had expected various works just ‘died’ in there, their colours became less vibrant and they just lost impact. We found that we were choosing works with an architectural bent in tune with what Euan described as the “industrial space” of the gallery. We also decided to hang it quite sparsely, as this seemed to be the best way to use its unique attributes.


All the works in the show had been put up against the walls of two of the galleries, unfortunately these were the Main and North Galleries, so we had a lot of walking around and carrying to do to bring the prints into the Threadneedle Space. I soon noticed that we were choosing a lot of monochrome works, and we then started looking for colourful works that would work in the lighting. When hanging the show we first place the ‘centres’ of the walls. These should be the largest and strongest works, and in the Threadneedle you only need one central piece per wall, whereas in the Main Gallery you need several to carry the eye along the length of the hang. Then you have to place the end pieces. Again they have to be strong, and preferably colourful (red is great), and they bring the wall to stop, giving the eye something to linger on. In between you hang the other prints, allowing the prints to play off against each other without overwhelming the quieter ones. This is a question of matching shapes and colours, bringing out similarities and echoing compositional elements; or choosing works which were totally different as the contrast can also work well. We had a great Barbara Rae, Vaucluse, for a main centre and we put a fantastic black woodcut, Research by Andy Cumming opposite.


We had the Threadneedle placed by 11:00, and moved onto the Main Gallery. I was worried that with only about 53 works in the Threadneedle we would be seriously short of space in the Main. We decided on and placed the ‘Centres’ on the main wall and then set about hanging the end wall in its entirety. All the time you hang you have the head technician very politely asking if you have a wall ready yet, so his team can get going. This just adds another layer of pressure: not only do you have to get it right, you have to do it quickly as well. The end wall has to have a lot of impact to ensure that visitors are enticed down to that end of the Galleries and away from the café. Once that was sorted we quickly finished the main wall, with a series of strong prints centred on Tom Hammick’s powerful Edgeland, and we turned our attention to the back wall. The technicians went to work hanging the two walls we had placed which gave us a bit of breathing space, and we then started to fit our remaining works onto the back wall with the two screens. This effectively breaks it up into three smaller walls, each u-shaped with the ends of the screens as separate entities. Euan was keen to tie them together by using a pair of large black prints and we then agonised about how many other prints to put there. Opposite Tom Hammick’s print we put Kevin O’Keefe’s wonderful Late afternoon on the hard shoulder… But still it was beginning to look as though we wouldn’t fit everything in, which would mean re-hanging some already fitted walls, not a pleasant prospect. By using every bit of space and being very careful with our placements we managed to fit every print in, without it looking too crowded. We finished placing the works at 3:30pm, so with a 30 minute break for lunch we had done it all in about six hours. They were all hung by 4:30 and I returned home exhausted to a well-earned scotch.

Simon Whittle


BITE: Artists making prints

BITE: Artists making prints

View of the gallery. Come and see for yourself, Bite is open until 15th September


RE Open 17 August – 2 September 2012

 RE Open 17 August - 2 September 2012

Opening tomorrow!
The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers is launching a brand new printmaking exhibitition: the RE Open. Designed as a showcase for excellence in printmaking, the exhibition will also provide a fascinating forum for consideration of current trends and new directions in this ever evolving and extraordinarily creative art form.


Private View 4th September 6-9pm

Private View 4th September 6-9pm


Matthew Burrow’s The Seer

Matthew Burrow's The Seer

Other Criteria artist Matthew Burrow’s work featured in bite


Printmakers and Witches!

Printmakers and Witches!

Pendle Print Fest
1st and 2nd September 2012
Marking the 400 year Anniversary of The Trials of the Pendle Witches




Deadline for online submissions, midnight Sunday 12th August 2012
neo:printprize in association with Hot Bed Press is inviting artists to submit works across the full range of printmaking techniques from the traditional to the digital, and including 3D prints, monoprints and print related installations.