Print Of The Month – Dawn West

Protection: Drypoint, edition of 5

The background to this print:

I made this print for my solo show with Limerick Printmakers.  I was looking at Hindu mudras which are the hand gestures used by some of the Hindu deities to convey character or moods such as charity, compassion and protection.  I decided to replicate some of the Hindu gestures using my own hand as the template.  Hands fascinate me, and with print, I like that the right hand has become the left hand – it’s like two in one.  I like the idea of the picture as a talisman also, that this image could protect in the same way as an actual physical hand can protect.


Tell us a little about the technique you used to make this print:

This is a drypoint print, one of the quickest techniques in printing you can use.  Once I get an idea, it must be made into a print as quickly as possible!  I used an acetate sheet as the plate and drew around my hand and the pattern in the centre using an etching needle to incise lines into the acetate.  The raised edges of the lines hold ink that’s applied to the plate and you use a damp piece of paper to pull the ink from the plate onto the paper as it goes through the press.  It’s a very variable technique, you can modify the image as you go along, and you don’t have to stick with square images – if I did this again, I might cut around the hand and have a hand shaped print.


What do you love about print?

That the plates show everything you do to them and even any scratch or mark that might have been on before.  I’m not into pristine prints, I like to see work, the hand of the person that has produced the prints.    I really love the mystery –  however you think the print is going to look, there’s always a difference and it’s the difference that keeps me hooked and challenges you to go further and try new things.  In my case, usually the difference is that it looks worse than you imagine – but that’s a challenge too!


Which print/artwork would you love to own?

Any print by Sean Caulfield, I love every mark he makes.  Tan Ping – why do my lines and circles never look like his?!  And Sarah Amos, her prints are amazing collages of lines and patterns and ghost marks that I never get tired of looking at.  I also love ceramics and would have any pot by Craig Underhill – I wish I could make prints like he makes pots and the ceramics of Gillian Lowndes too are amazing; her work was groundbreaking and her pieces look like fusions of drawings and 3D works.

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