Monday, 19 November 2012

Deux poids, deux mesures

It's been a little while, but finally I have something new to show here.  Over the weekend I finished a new etching and pulled the first few prints from it.  Though still rather small, at 20 x 30 cm this is the largest copperplate I've worked on so far and also the largest plate that I can get through my tiny printing press.  When I printed it I could only manage a very small border on each side, so I think I will have to find a few hours in an etching studio with a larger press in order to edition this print so that it can have reasonable borders around it.

I am planning this print to be the first in a series of five prints on a theme of doubles.  All of the plates will be this size, so I'll probably go and print them all at once when the other four are finished.  So far they are all drawn out in my mind (along with a whole host of other things), but not yet on paper, so I've still got a long way to go.  This plate took quite a while, with days and days of drawing out repetitive lines or stippling away for hours on end.

The title of the print is French and literally means something like "two weights, two measurements".  A better translation in English would be "double standard".  But rather than saying too much about my own motivations, I'd prefer to allow you the freedom to interpret on your own.  I hope November has been treating you well!


  1. Oh!! You have my admiration, Jodi!! A mysterious drawing, beautiful figures. And where the hand of the squatting boy touches - I see a pattern like ripples in sand left behind by the sea.
    20x30cm is quite large for such fine work. Days and days of stippling lines, yes, but the result is a delight to see!

  2. What an exquisitely drawn work, with a magical mystical feel. I can appreciate how much time and care went into it. How good to have a press at home for proofing at least. I wish you well with the series and look forward to seeing them all, Jodi.

  3. Dense and totally beguiling. It's interesting that such an initially impenetrable work can gently reveal its mysteries, so that the iconography can be fitted to the viewers own experiences and storytelling.

    Beautiful Jodi, and well worth the wait. You've been like a still whose liquor has been conjured by slow alchemy.

  4. Thank you all so much for your lovely comments, I am so very honoured to receive such nice words from three wonderful artists!

    I love that you see a pattern of sand ripples there! And you are right, it's funny how large 20 x 30 cm can seem once one starts making lines. The last prints I worked on were only 9.5 x 7 cm, so that was quite a difference!

    It *is* so good to have a press for proofing on at home. Most of what I make is small enough that I can use it for editioning too, which is even better. The studios here are paid by the hour and mostly just open during working hours, so it seemed more practical just to get a little press and set up at home. Though, it's not as much fun as meeting up with other local printmakers would be.

    Thank you for such a kind comment. I always feel such a dilemma of how much to write about my own intentions for a print or painting. I know that some people prefer to have everything spelled out clearly, and I worry that not doing this is seen as a sort of cop-out. But I think this can often be a mistake, especially when a piece feels very personal. Ideally, as you said, each viewer should have the time and space to engage with and interpret a thing on their own, so they can really feel how a piece resonates with them. I am so glad that this approach seems to make sense from your perspective too.

  5. I'm with Clive, well worth the wait.
    Incredible image, I love the little fellows marching up the forlorn gentleman's back. Initially I thought he was humpbacked (times four) which would have been perversely wonderful. But the little fellows are even more marvelous.
    Such a dense bit of work, your poor eyes, I can sympathize.
    I hope you can secure a press to finish the series.
    If I may ask a technical question,is this dry point then acid treatment?or soft/hard ground first. As you know I'm still trying to understand the process.
    Just great , but I encourage you to let us know what the piece means to you, unless of course it is too personal. It is always of great interest to hear what inspired the art I admire.
    Take care,LG

  6. Thanks Leonard! The only technique I used on this plate is hard ground etching... with many reapplications of hard ground to prevent the ground from chipping and keep the plate from getting crevé in the acid.
    I might just keep mum on my interpretations of this plate, but I'll probably have more to say about the next one.
    Good luck with your printmaking. Oh, and a very good thing to do is find a good light source to keep from going blind from the glare of the light off the plate. I have a very bright desk lamp and which I shine through a sort of fogged plastic measuring cup to create a bright but diffused light with no plate glare. It's not glamorous, but it makes a huge difference.

    1. I like how you take matters in your own hands, creating a sort of Rube Goldberg task lamp, kudos to you.
      Thanks for the hard ground pointers, will be starting a new class early January, will want to work in hard ground.
      I think I may ask for a press for Christmas, i think I have the printmaking bug.
      Take care,

  7. oh, i am so blown away by this! i can stare at it forever...the arc of each figure's back in that little circle creates a different story in my mind. it's unnerving, all the different sizes--very, very powerful.

    i really look forward to this whole series!