Student Blog | Ami Robb - BA Fine Art

Ami is in her 2nd year of her BA in Fine Art. Here she discusses her work selected for the student Work in Progress Show currently open at Taigh Chearsabhagh.

"Two monoprints selected for this exhibition are the result of my printmaking experimentation in response to the Creative Practice Module brief: ‘Culture Environment Entanglements’. I began by looking at the kelp industry, which led me to further research concerning the damaged sea bed of our Scottish coastal waters.

Ami Student Exhibition Piece

I chose to utilise the ‘ghost’ print to illustrate this death and decay of a habitat. The colourway was intended to give a feeling of depth and murky water, damage and occurring decay. The abstracted uprights symbolise the tenacity of nature, despite the harmful treatment of our seas. The ghost print is a print taken after you have pulled your initial print from the plate. It is the result of the paper taking up only the remaining ink. This to me seemed a fitting way to depict an underwater world - disappearing and empty of life. Employing this technique allowed for a sense of fragility and vagueness like being underwater.

Rather than rolling the ink onto the plate I applied it directly with a palette knife and spread it to allow for a different thickness and quantity of ink across the plate to create texture, movement, translucency and layers. I finally sprayed water on the surface of the plate before hand pulling the initial print and then the resulting ghost print. Newsprint is ideal for this process as it picks up the ink easily and responds well to hand burnishing with a circular ‘baren’ made of either bamboo or wood with a felt pad for the purpose of hand printing.

I have been using soy based Akua Intaglio inks which were made for intaglio printmaking originally but have been found to be an excellent all-rounder ink, good for relief, collagraph and monoprinting. They are thick inks which if warmed a little have a ‘yummy’ consistency.

‘The Turning of the Year’ – A landscape monoprint:

In contrast to the techniques described above, this print was created using the traditional method of inking up a plate with a roller and hand printed in separate layers. Gauging the amount of ink required only comes with a lot of practise and knowledge of the product you’re using. I have a tendency to apply more than required and I found myself creating this monotype in layers as I removed surplus ink from the plate. A playful experiment, deviating from my subject while colour mixing. We all see colour slightly differently but for me this was a nod to the red and green of Yuletide, thus the title.

A print of a sunset