August 2015 - 2016, Or what I've been working on in the past year

I have pretty busy over the past year (yes, it really has been a year since I wrote here... what a neglected blog!). I've had several shows and projects on the go, whilst working at my various other jobs and studying, all whilst trying to make new work! Time flies. I thought I'd try to make a summary of what I've managed to do here, for anyone interested:

1. Made lots of new work, which I'll dedicate another post to soon. They are a series of vessel prints, using a variety of printmaking methods.

2. Worked hard on a new collaborative project called Riso Soup. As the name suggests, it is a project where artists use the limited colours/ rough around the edges process of Risograph printing. We have made lots of zines and a perpetual calendar so far. The project has been to Barcelona, all around Scotland, and we have ambitions for lots more. I'll update with more as it happens.

Riso Soup in the Print Studio

Riso Soup in the Print Studio

3. Shows!

► My work got exhibited in China in the show The Silk Road with Dundee Print Collective, at the IMPACT International Printmaking Conference in Hangzhou last year.
► I had work in a few group shows in Perth, WASPS Meadowmill, and the Print Space at Dundee Contemporary Arts. (I actually have a print there right now if you're in Dundee and want to see.)
► Generator Projects asked me to create a print in response to archive material from the old Seagate Printmaking Studio Archive, earlier this summer. It was for Print Festival Scotland. It was a hectic and rewarding project and I will also dedicate another blog post to this particular project. More to come!
► My Vessel #1 print got chosen for the RSA Open 2016. You can see it right now in the Royal Scottish Academy on Princes Street, Edinburgh. :)

4. Studied hard for Japanese lessons... 日本語を勉強しました。難しいです。I think I'll probably be studying it for a long time to come, but I'm having a lot of fun doing so.

Got my home studio all organised. I start many of my drawings on Photoshop, and I now love working on my clean, spacious desk. A long way from the shabby children's desk that I used to use, haha. It is really amazing what your work space can do for your productivity and motivation. There's still a lot I want to do with regards to studio space, but with the way I work, a clean starting point free of distractions is vital. I even did some cable management, although it partially fell down just before I took this photograph. Sigh.

6. Worked on Risograph and monoprint research/development in the DCA Print Studio. amongst other stuff, I've taught several zine/riso classes this year, and we have lots more planned for the future. ♥ I have been working there a lot lately, and it's always fun.

7. Travel.
At the start of the year Paul and I set ourselves the goal of seeing a lot more, even if it was 'just' within Scotland. We have a lot of beauty all around us. It's so important to leave your work behind every so often (even if you love it!). It's a lot of fun! This past year a lot of friends have been through really tough situations in their work environment. My heart really does go out to anybody feeling bad purely because of work. It's important to take what breaks you can manage, as your health should always be a priority (in an ideal world) ♥

I think I will also post separately about our adventures this year, as this post is getting a little long. More to come...

Whew, that was actually a lot! If you are feeling like you haven't done much in the past year, I recommend you sit down and write down everything you can remember. Even if the things you've done seem insignificant, or you don't think it will sound interesting enough. I guarantee that you will surprise yourself.

Grayson Perry: Drawings, Tapestries, and Teddy

Despite his huge poularity/notoriety, Grayson Perry is one of my all time favourite artists. I was aware of his celebrity when I was recommended to look at his work back in art school, but I hadn't been expecting his stuff to be so cool. After winning the Turner prize back in 2003, his numerous books, lectures, TV series and high profile shows in London made him one of those mythical 'famous artists'. Guess he's living the dream, or something :P

Perry works with ceramics, textiles, and numerous other ways of working that all can be considered as 'craft' (and therefore 'less than') by many in the art world. This is a deliberate decision which works with his subject matter, sometimes in harmony or sometimes in juxtaposition. For instance, here are some pots. They are crammed with information and drawings, they sometimes have photographs and objects added to their surface. Included an etching, too, so you can see the range of detail/tone in his drawings.

The first chance I had to go see a show of his was 'Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman' at the British Museum. One of the only shows that has stuck in my mind, and that I keep coming back to when thinking about my own stuff. The venue choice seems odd at first, but it was actually very suiting. The show was presented in the way any other history museum would show artifacts and relics: glass cases, dark walls, text boxes with dates etc. But all of Perrys work was shown alongside items he had selected from the museums archives.

At times it was hard to tell on first glance who the work belonged to, or who it was made by. A lot of the historical objects looked very odd in this context, but this seemed to say that the creators were just like us, and that even our own culture and rituals look ridiculous when looked upon objectively in a museum. There was all this interconnected dialogue about class, art vs craft, consumerism, society and sexuality. And it gave me just a whiff of a far off future where Perrys own work had become relics of the past, with historians explaining their own projected truths onto the objects. It was immersive and mesmerising.

As well as ceramic artifacts and illustrated pots, there was a huge tapestry on show.


There is a huge amount of detail in these tapestry works, which he draws on computer software that can then be produced by specialist weavers. Some of the tapestries are absolutely massive. But I love the detail on that scale. Makes me want to play with larger scale textile stuff too. If only I could tapestry! These tapestries were one of my early influences for my lace pieces, too. The second piece there is a portrait of a lady printed onto a beautiful silk hijab.


Anyway, if you like the work, you should listen to what he has to say about it. There are a few different tv shows on channel 4: All in the Best possible taste, and Who are you. He also recorded 4 BBC Reith lectures for Radio4, which you can listen to online: they are good.

Me with Alan Measles the Teddybear in his motorbike shrine, outside Perrys show at the British Museum in 2011, looking worn out from London antics.

Me with Alan Measles the Teddybear in his motorbike shrine, outside Perrys show at the British Museum in 2011, looking worn out from London antics.

Happy February! Updates and 2015

Apologies for the absence - Christmas and new year was hectic. My Etsy store really took off around November. That, alongside lots of overtime at my day jobs, meant less time for blogging. I have been working on many new things, however!

Quick updates:

I got a new computer! It is so lovely and glossy and blue. It also runs Photoshop, Illustrator and even 3D Design Programmes with ease, and I am very happy with it. This will go a long way to help me design, research and experiment for new work.

At work, we got a 3D Printer, so I have been researching printmaking with 3D Printed plates, and also with simply working in 3DSMax to create some weird stuff. Dedicated blog post to follow!

I learned, with Paul, how to make a silver ring! We went along to the last Vanilla Ink class and made each other some really lovely rings with the help of the lovely Kate. Sad to see them go, as their studio at WASPS closed last week.

I learned Taku-hon (Japanese Stone Rubbing), perhaps the first printmaking technique to be invented in the world. The pieces created can be beautifully textured, tactile, and either dark and bold or feathery light and subtle. Will also follow up with a blog post.

I am learning bookbinding. I have fallen in love with the look and feel of coptic bound books, and plan to create a range for my online store once I can do them well.

Another Zine to come soon! Everything I Know About Dreams... Goal is to finish it for the next ZineSwap later this month.

My 2015 vague goals? I have lots of ideas for new pieces, including collage, geo prints, and sculptural work, as well as some nice etching and screen prints. I want to make scale a consideration this year: tiny little plates as well as bigger, one off pieces. I'd like to, mid year, have a portfolio to include my own examples all the techniques that I know and use at work. I also want to experiment and work with GOLD!

About my New Watercolour Monoprints

I've been experimenting in print for a little while now, using techniques that are new to me but which better suit my style of working. I have always painted, even throughout art school where I began to outwardly produce linear, clean drawings and prints. I mainly painted in my sketchbooks, using colourful ink and watercolour washes, often just as a background to a white page.


Not my best work, but I made A LOT of these.

Then I thought... why don't I consider this work in itself, and not just an aside to my 'main' projects? I have been trying to view the things I produce more holistically, and ignore barriers between them such as 'fine art', 'craft', 'design', 'writing', etc. In the end, they are all informed by each other, and I move fluidly between them, which is personally quite a refreshing way of working.

So I began making new things, using watercolour monotype, a basic technique I covered here. It allowed me to use washes of colour and ink blot shapes just like I used to in my old sketchbooks.

Katie Ravenscraig- Eyes Open All Around (Small)
Katie Ravenscraig- Eyes Open All Around (Small)

Of course, I have always loved making intricate, fine detail work too, usually in some kind of symmetrical pattern. Masking off my paintings before printing allowed me to find a new way of approaching my drawings. Plus, they have a sweet emboss, plate mark and are one of a kind. Interestingly though, you can get more than one print out of a watercolour monotype plate. I can reliably take 3, but some artists have managed up to 6. Of course, the image gets fainter and fainter each time.

I will have more to show you before the year is over, but for now, I am off to the studio to finish making even more new pieces! :)

Development with Watercolour Monoprinting

New ideas, thoughts, work... it takes time, for me at least. Can't be forced... although targets are always good! I have been working with some of my friends towards a collaborative project- it is still in the tentative beginning stages, but just meeting up regularly and talking about our practice has been really beneficial. Of course, working in the print studio is also a great motivator! I was introduced to Watercolour Monoprintingrecently, which will be available soon as a wee course at DCA, if you want to learn how. It is so easy: essentially just painting with watercolour on a perspex plate, allowing to dry, then printing normally through a press with damp paper, reactivating the watercolour paint. You can take many prints from the same plate, too, which is different from regular monoprinting. They do get gradually softer, but it is a lovely effect to play with. It's quite suited to my painting style, too.

Okay, here are some things I have been doing with watercolour monoprinting! Magical Spheres and Fictional Landscapes...

Watercolour Monoprint #1
Watercolour Monoprint #1
Watercolour Monoprint #2
Watercolour Monoprint #2
Watercolour Monoprint with Screen Print
Watercolour Monoprint with Screen Print

Takato Yamamoto and Heisei Esthiticism

Takato Yamamoto is a Japanese artist whose work I love. His self titled style is called “Heisei Esthiticism”. 

"My basic theme is the image of the universe operation that has repeated the circulating generation (life) and dismantlement (death)."

-Interview with Takato Yamamoto, Juxtapoz Magazine

The textures, intricacy, subjects, colours... they inspire me to add more depth of tone to my own imagery. His work and story are generally quite interesting: check out the interview.