framed and ready to go!

Twelve at the Hunt Museum Cafe – Limerick’s Ghost Stories

August 1 – 31st

This month I have the privilege of exhibiting five pieces at The Hunt Museum Cafe. Each month a member of Limerick Printmakers is given the opportunity to showcase their work in the cafe.

When choosing what project to put forward the decision was not hard. As it is a venue where there are a large number of people passing through that are interested in Limerick and its heritage the Limerick’s Ghost Stories project is the most fitting.

In terms of presentation I wanted to make them so that the illustrations could be displayed alongside the stories without having to sacrifice the visual impact. The initial pieces (you may recall were printed at postcard size and the stories on separate A4 sheets. The options were:

a) reprint the two and frame them together within the same frame – I was worried this would look a little scrappy

b) just frame the image and display the text alongside – this would give undue weight to the image and somehow place it as being of more value than the story

c) reprint the two on the same sheet.

text ready to trace

Again the choice was clear. I went with option c) and decided that since we are to produce a book in the near future (with the Locating the Gothic Bursary Award) it might be nice to do a sort of mock up of what this might look like

First the decision of which stories to choose. With the measurements of the available wall space 5 was probably going to be the maximum that would fit if each piece were A3 (an A4 double page spread). The criteria therefore boiled down to : did it fit on 1 A4 page or less? Thankfully that question brought me neatly down to 5 stories without any need for further editing.

I needed a good quality all round paper as the images were drypoint and the text screen printed. I decided to go with BFK Rives  – a very high quality paper that can fulfill all the needs of the printmaking methods.



drypoint plates 2

For those not in the know about the processes dry point is an intaglio method of printing – lines are drawn into a metal plate using a scribe (or sharply pointed needle like tool). Oil based ink is rubbed into these lines and printed onto dampened heavy weight paper by rolling them through a printing press. The extremely high pressure pushes the paper fibres into the grooves and the ink sticks to them.

Screen printing on the other hand requires a very flat surface in order to print onto. A screen is a fine meshed fabric stretched over a metal (or wooden) frame. This is coated with a light sensitive emulsion and the image (or text) to be printed is exposed onto the screen using UV light. The light hardens the emulsion, areas blocked out by the image are a screen ready to printwashed away leaving the clean mesh. Ink is pushed through the mesh onto the surface you are printing on using a squeegee. If the surface is not perfectly flat the print will not come out as the screen will not be able to make even contact with it.



I needed to do the dry points before the screen prints. I use water based inks for screen printing they would not stand up to being dampened for the drypoint. There were a couple of considerations thought – dampening the paper often causes the prints to dry unevenly, leaving the paper warped and wiggly (Ever get a book wet and then dry it? they will never sit flat again! Now imagine this on a much larger scale!) They would need several days under weight to dry in between.

I printed the plates in black, initially in artist proof editions of 5. If they sell well I will consider editioning them properly in runs of 20 or so. For the text I chose to use paynes grey, one of my favorite colours. It is almost black but not quite and so the pieces do not look as stark and the text block sit back a tiny bit into the page.

The prints were then framed at my local framing gallery (Normoyle Frawley Framing at Art Mad on Broad St) . I chose a thin white frame with the pieces float mounted over a snow white background. This finishes them off nicely without taking away or distracting from the work.


The Hunt Museum:

Normoyle Frawley Framing: