The Curwen Studio was established in 1958 but can trace it’s origins back to The Curwen Press which began almost a hundred years earlier. From the start The Curwen was set up to enable artists to make there own hand drawn lithographic prints. Giving them an opportunity to use a printing process that is normally difficult to access due to the equipment and expertise required. Over the years they have worked with some of the most respected names in 20th century British art, such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Elizabeth Frink, Graham Sutherland and John Piper. This amazing back catalogue and the Curwen’s links with printmakers such as Edward Bawden was the reason I wanted to work with them. I finally achieved it this summer.
Lithography is the printing process used at The Curwen Studio. This is a very different to the relief printmaking I normally do. Instead of cutting or etching the image into a block, a chemical reaction allows ink to be attracted or repelled to different areas of a printing plate. What makes the process special is the subtlety of mark that can be achieved. For me the real treat was being able to recreate drawn marks made with pencil and crayon. The Curwen Litho presses are about four times larger than the one I use at home, so much larger prints are possible. I was able to do the bulk of the creative work at my own studio. Once on site skilled technicians were there to transfer my artwork onto the plates and then proof print a number of different variations until I found one I was satisfied with. The edition was then printed.
Click here to see some of the prints I produced.
You can find out more about The Curwen Studio and Lithography by visiting www.thecurwenstudio.co.uk.