// AT NO.84
Whether you’re sitting in No.84 right now, you’ve clicked a link or stumbled across this exhibition via a search engine:
welcome to mono
29 JUL - 29 SEPT
at NO.84, GRAVESEND
Hello, I’m Rachel and I'm lucky enough to work out of Studio 7 on the top floor of this beautiful building on Rochester High Street. It's also home to Café Nucleus and The Halpern POP Gallery
workshops - The best part of my job is running fun, relaxed printmaking workshops. I’ve had the opportunity of working with a real mix of companies from the National Trust to Spotify. During the exhibition there's a chance for you to discover just how glorious printmaking is by joining me at a linocut workshop on 22 September.
I also run workshops from Studio 7 in Rochester where you and your friends can take over the studio for a chilled afternoon of printing with a glass of Prosecco.
the challenge - Because most of my days are spent organising and running workshops I don’t have much time to develop my own work, so earlier this year I set myself the challenge of doing my first (and, I thought at the time, possibly my last!) solo exhibition. That was back in February at The Halpern POP Gallery and the photo you see here was taken then. I got a call a few weeks later from the lovely people at No.84 who asked if I'd like to take over their gallery space during the summer and, of course, I said "YES!".
Some prints sold at the first exhibition and so there are a few additions, notably the cyanotypes that I wasn't able to do during winter as they need the sun's UV rays.
All the prints you see are a mix of monotypes and monochrome typography, hence the title of the exhibition:
techniques - If you're looking for perfect prints then you've come to the wrong place! I enjoy the imperfections of hand printing and the creative journey that can take you down. I encourage you to really look at each print, examining the layers and the beautiful inaccuracies. I’ve used screen printing techniques, gel / Gelli plates and relief linocuts to create the prints - all of which you can learn how to do at a workshop. If I’m around just ask if you’d like a demonstration.
find out more This is the main exhibition guide where you’ll find an explanation of each print, the story behind it and the print medium used. Join me at No.84 for a linocut workshop on 22 September by clicking here or to purchase an artwork please get in touch via the contact page.
1 // ONE - 5 // FIVE
Series of five gel prints
Watts Meadow in May // Feather
Watts Meadow in May // Pink
Watts Meadow in May // Yellow
Watts Meadow in May // Green
Watts Meadow in May // Blue
Framed monotype using a gel plate
£38 per print
Watts Meadow is a peaceful green space that runs between Ethelbert Road (just off Maidstone Road, Rochester) and Priestfields. It’s where I have my allotment and there’s also a 100 year-old tennis court. May is my favourite time of the year, when the paths are flanked with masses of frothy cow parsley and that is the inspiration behind this series of prints. The prints were made using a gel plate. I used a paper stencil to mask and create the base layer and circular sun shape and then a sprig of flowering cow parsley (in February!) for the main image. No two flowers are the same just as no two prints are the same. See how there are broken print lines, dark smudges left on the gel plate from a previous print and, yes, a finger print.
6 // SIX
Don’t Overthink It
I ran a couple of team building workshops at a co-working space in Hackney a few years back. This phrase was plastered over one wall and it’s stuck with me ever since. Whether you’re a perfectionist or not, we all get caught up in insignificant details that stop us from moving forward. Everyone needs one of these reminders fixed firmly and visible in their workspace.
This is a one colour linocut print in neon pink. Here’s a quick explanation about linocut prints.
7 // SEVEN
Walking the Creek, Faversham II
A memory from the same bleak November walk as PRINT 14 // FOURTEEN is the starting point for this print.
It's a monotype on canvas created using a gel / Gelli plate. I reprinted over a light base layer in muddy shades of grey leaving an off-centre area to place the main printed seed head onto. Subtle echoes of nettle stalks and their clusters of seeds, printed in moss-green, fence the print into the frame.
Framed monotype on canvas
8 // EIGHT
New Girl in Pink
A transfer print created using a gel / Gelli plate.
9 // NINE
Punch Today in the Face
This is a one colour linocut print in navy blue. Try lino printing for yourself during the exhibition click here to find out more.
10 // TEN
Standing on The Pilgrim’s Way
This is the only print in the exhibition that was created alfresco. It's not something I often do as I always feel really embarrassed if people are around. The sketchy background was printed in the studio using gel / Gelli plates then I took a small screen and squeegee, a selection of paint and brushes and found a quiet spot on the Pilgrim's Way near Common Road, Blue Bell Hill. Nervously I drew the Down's landscape onto the screen and painted it, whilst continually looking over my shoulder. I then set the screen onto the canvas and printed it. Throwing everything into my bag I picked up the screen and canvas and quickly made my way back to the car!
A mono screen print is made by painting the image directly onto the screen’s mesh. The screen is lowered onto the canvas and then a squeegee is used to ‘pull the print’ which just means sliding the squeegee over the painted image and pushing the paint through the mesh. This is one of those types of printing techniques where you never quite know what you’re going to get.
Mono screen print on canvas
11 // ELEVEN
I like my quotes with a bit of a kick!
One-colour framed linocut
12 // TWELVE
This is actually the only print in MONO that I haven’t made in 2022. It was my first screen print onto canvas circa 2003. I get asked asked all the time, “is that you?” I can categorically tell you that it is NOT me - I promise I’m not so vain as to put a selfie bang smack in the middle of my solo exhibition! It’s an image based on a 1960s Vogue knitting pattern.
The squeegee wasn’t quite large enough to do the whole print in one go so you can see where I had to go over it a couple of times and the edge of the blade has started to break down the screen, mainly because I used the wrong blocking fluid.
Screen print on canvas
13 // THIRTEEN
Framed mono screen print
14 // FOURTEEN
Walking the Creek, Faversham I
It was a bleak mid-November day, the sun was just setting way, way, way behind the colourless clouds and a drizzle was sweeping in across the marshes. However you describe it, it was pretty unpleasant. I stood, hands forced into my pockets, watching the grazing cattle and for a moment stared at the contrast of soft yellow-green grasses and stark sculptural shapes of the cow parsley seeds heads.
This is a monotype on textured canvas created using a gel / Gelli plate. I printed a light base layer then added a paper resist in the shape of the seed heads. Printed over that are shades of grey, green and yellow before adding the detailed seed heads prints. I worked with the texture of the canvas allowing it to dictate the placing of the prints.
Monotype using a gel plate on textured canvas
15 // FIFTEEN
Four Seed Heads
16 // SIXTEEN
Framed monotype using a gel plate
17 // SEVENTEEN
We're all a bit scared and very few of us really know what we're doing or how we're going to do the things we've said yes to. This is a reminder that however confident the person next to us might look, they're probably winging it too.
A great reminder to wake up to everyday.
A one-colour framed linocut
18 // EIGHTEEN
On the Beach
*NFS = Not for sale
thank you for coming
I hope you enjoyed it. To see more and follow me on my little adventure you can find me on social media search @iprintedthat on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or sign-up here to receive monthly emails.
Take care and hope to see you again soon.