Hotwalls Artist of the month for June is Sadie Tierney (no.10). Earlier in the month, two of her woodcuts were selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. It’s a special year to be exhibited, because the Royal Academy is celebrating 250 years, with Portsmouth Alumnus Grayson Perry (RA) coordinating the exhibition of over 1,300 artworks in an array of mediums, from a submission of 25000 this year! Fellow Hotwalls Artist Karl Rudziak (no.4) also had work accepted, so both artists attended the Non Members Varnishing Day, which is traditionally the day before the private view when artists get a chance to varnish or even add the finishing touches to their paintings, nowadays it’s become a celebration party for the exhibitors.
We asked Sadie Tierney to give us an insight into the process of the prints she made, now on display at the Royal Academy until 19th August 2018…
‘Back in January I began work on a new series of woodcuts in my studio no.10 Hotwalls. I cut some 5mm birch ply to fit my favourite sheet of cotton rag paper and the printing press I use, and began by making preparatory sketches and drawings.
Usually I make prints and paintings from direct experience, but I decided to try something new for these prints. My grandmother was Norwegian & my sister and parents had recently travelled on a boat to Norway. I felt particularly connected to their voyage, and felt almost like I was with them experiencing the trip vicariously via smartphone, and I based the new series of prints on their journey.
I used traditional and power tools to cut the woodblocks, and I sawed the wood into sections so that colours can be applied separately, a technique Edvard Munch used on his woodcuts, which I admire. Next I sanded the rough edges and cleaned the woodblocks ready for printing. I printed colour proofs on a Rochat etching press at Omega Printmakers in Portsmouth, using a mixture of TN Lawrence and Intaglio Printmaker relief inks, and between 5 and 8 rollers to ink each print up – quite a lot of cleaning up at the end of the day!
Back in my studio I decided on final colours for the edition, and made small adjustments to the marks on the woodblock. And about a month later, I began work on printing the final print, the B.A.T or Bon a Tirer Proof – the “good-to-go” proof. This was photographed by Emily Whiting and submitted for the first round of judging for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. After getting through this round, the framed artwork was delivered up to the RA for the final round of judging. This is the first time for me that two works have been selected and hung, so I’m absolutely delighted that both prints made it onto the walls and was very proud to show my family!
When a print is submitted & selected for exhibition the rest of the edition can be available to sell unframed, so I editioned both the woodcuts in advance because some of the inks take weeks to dry. The edition sizes of both the prints is small (10) because they are technically quite difficult to print, with some complicated blends.
I’m delighted that both prints are displayed prominently framing a doorway in the South Sackler Gallery, amongst the Prints and Drawings, both framed versions have sold, and several unframed prints from the edition have already shipped to new collectors.’
Details of the prints
Fjord Draumr, woodcut on Somerset Satin 300gsm paper, 56x76cm in an edition of 10, list no. 1136 One of two prints selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018 and part of the selection of prints and drawings in the Sackler Galleries. Photographed by Emily Whiting.
Over the Mountain, woodcut on Somerset Satin 300gsm paper, 56x76cm in an edition of 10, list number 1129. One of two prints selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018 and part of the selection of prints and drawings in the Sackler Galleries. Photographed by Emily Whiting.
The show runs until 18 August.
For further information on Sadie Tierney and exhibitions she is involved with please click here.