Meet the Printmaker – Jutta Manser

Welcome to the first in a series where we meet up with one of our Red Hot Press members to get the lowdown on what they print and why they do it.

We are delighted to kick off fittingly with Jutta Manser as she is one of our original members and has been a great supporter of the workshop over the years. Jutta is a very talented wood engraver who we are lucky to have teach for us.
We got her to step away from the spitsticker for a moment to talk to us.

Hi Jutta, can you give us a little bit of background about yourself:
I came to Southampton as a student, got married and stayed on ever since…I’ve always enjoyed art and did bits and pieces from student days on, designed a couple book jackets for my husband’s philosophical books, but became a lecturer at what is now Solent University and only returned to art as a ‘main activity’ after giving up the day job.
 
How long have you been using Red Hot Press?
Almost since the beginning…I forget how I first found out about you. A leaflet in the public library perhaps?

Have you been on any Courses at the workshop? Tell us something about that?
I’ve tried a variety of printmaking techniques through Red Hot Press courses, from collagraph and etching to lino and card cuts, all of them interesting. My first experience was an ‘Introduction to Printmaking’ spread over several weeks, which allowed us to try all sorts this was very exciting and I found myself more attuned to relief prints than intaglio. I did rather like drypoint and I am still planning to get back to this one day.
But in the meantime I had fallen in love with wood engraving. Red Hot Press at that time did not offer this technique, but with practice and perseverance I began getting work accepted by the Society of Wood Engravers and am now really pleased to be able to teach wood engraving workshops at Red Hot Press.

You’ve been a member for a long time now.  What is it about membership that appeals to you?
It is just terrific to have this facility to hand. I love the opportunity to explore new techniques with the short courses. The enthusiasm of Katherine and Sarah is inspiring and they have continued to improve and expand the workshop, making available a superb environment for printmakers to use, either to do their own thing, or to learn something new with experienced tutors. Workshops create a forum and promote exchange of ideas. The kit is all to hand, it is very stimulating–what’s not to like??
What is your preferred technique to work in?
Wood engraving! I like the crispness of black-and-white and there is something about the scale which fascinates me. A whole world on a block just a few square inches in size and I just love the feel of the point cutting into the wood. Then you lift the paper from the block and catch the first sight of your PRINT… magic!
 
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m doing some engraving for a project with Salisbury Museum which involves an artists’ group in Salisbury made up of ex-students from what was Salisbury College fine art department, which sadly no longer exists. This is for this summer. I’ll be able to use Red Hot Press to print some etchings for this, if I get the plates done in time, in addition to the engraving. And there are also those drypoints to return to.
 
What’s next for you? Are there any techniques or methods you would like to try in the future?
It’s that drypoint again…plus I would like to have another stab at mono-printing… and who knows what other excitements RHP may come up with? They’re a pretty adventurous bunch and always ready to pass on new ideas.
 
Have you become a member of Cowprint – the Red Hot Press artists’ group?
Yes, I joined Cowprint because isolation is one of the difficulties with being an artist. Like the workshop itself, Cowprint gives us an opportunity to see other’s work, but on a more regular basis. We can bring problems for other people to offer their ideas [you don't have to accept them, but it often helps to spark your own solution] and we engage in joint projects like the calendar we produced last year.
 
Have you ever taken part in any of Red Hot Press’s Print Projects or exchanges?
Definitely! I really love print exchanges–you offer work of your own to be entered into the ‘pool’ of prints and then receive back a selection of other people’s work. Some exchanges are international in scope, so you are collecting prints from around the world, others are UK based. It is a very printmaking sort of thing to do, to share work [printmakers are helpful people] and there is the element of surprise–lovely!

Have you exhibited with Red Hot Press?
I try to exhibit fairly regularly–both for the pleasure of putting work into the public arena [and, yes, selling it!] and to support Red Hot Press. (editor’s note: look out for Jutta’s little handmade books and wood engraved gift tags)
So, Jutta, in one sentence can you sum up Printmaking and Red Hot Press?
It’s challenging, creative and FUN and best enjoyed in company [+ the coffee is free!]

 

L to R: Broad Oak, Two Pink Pears, West Dean. By Jutta Manser

L to R: Broad Oak, Two Pink Pears, West Dean. By Jutta Manser

 

Learn how to make beautiful images

Come and learn how to make beautiful collagraph and cardcut images on this weekend course.

A collagraph is a printing plate that has been made by constructing a low “relief” collage with textures such as textured wallpaper and pieces of fabric. It is a great technique for people who like to make collages and work directly with materials. Once the printing plate is made and sealed, it is inked up by rubbing the ink into the plate surface and printed on to damp paper through an etching press.

A Cardcut can be cut from a piece of card such as mounting board, using a sharp knife. The surface of the card is cut away in areas to make the image, in a similar way to cutting into the surface of a piece of lino to create an image. The cut away area and surface area of the card will print differently when the card is inked and printed to reveal the image. Sarah teaches both of these techniques on her Cardcut and Collagraph weekend courses the next one is 28th February  – 1 March. People love working with the materials and using surprising materials to create images. They go away with some stunning and unexpected results… But don’t take my word for it this is what a course participant thought….

Cardcut produced at the workshop

Cardcut produced at the workshop

Collagraph produced at the workshop

Collagraph by Ruth Barrett Danes produced at the workshop

Cardcut produced at the workshop

Cardcut by Deb Boultwood produced at the workshop

Feedback from a course participant……

I attended the Red Hot Press Cardcuts and Collograph workshop weekend in November last year and I can highly recommend it. For anyone who likes to experiment and get really interesting creative results this is the workshop to go for. I had a great sense of achievement and went home with a good selection of prints as did everyone else who attended. A great way to relax and immerse in a really gratifying printing technique.

Photo Transfer Printing – strange but true!

At Red Hot Press we like to offer different techniques and Photo Transfer Printing is definitely that. It also gets called Gum Arabic Printing or Xerox Litho especially in the US.

When I first heard about it I was looking for a way to recreate lithographic prints without all the masses of equipment. Write ups seemed to differ but it did seem that you could get multiple prints from a simple black and white photocopy. Further experimentation proved that wax crayon drawings also give a good result.

The basic premise, as in lithography, is that grease repels water and using that simple bit of science you can treat a greasy image on 80gsm paper with gum arabic and get it to a state where it will act as a printing plate. It really is an intriguing process. As you can imagine working with a wet sheet of paper as your ‘plate’ throws up its own challenges but with practice great prints can be achieved. It really lends itself to colour overlays and the use of transparent inks make for really zingy prints. You can work as simply as black and white or overlay colours. You can even recreate full colour photographs with a bit of photoshop know-how and image preparation.

But it’s not all about recreating photographs. Really nice results can be achieved by drawing with wax crayon or litho crayon.

On a Photo Transfer weekend at Red Hot Press you have lots of time to explore and experiment with all the possibilities that this unusual technique has to offer. As the images below show – there are many different styles of working and creating images.

Our next course is 21 – 22 February and you can find all the details on our website here

A four colour print made with wax crayons and litho crayon (apologies to Picasso!)

A four colour print made with wax crayons and litho crayon (apologies to Picasso!)

Photo Transfer by Lin Knott

Photo Transfer by Lin Knott

A photographic print made on a workshop at Red Hot Press

A photographic print made on a workshop at Red Hot Press

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