an interactive print


These prints were created as part of Inkers Printmakers residency at The Ropewalk, Barton on Humber. We worked on the project for two years, making prints inspired by the Ropewalk and the surrounding area of the Humber. The residency culminates with an exhibition in August 2020.

I wanted to make a print people could join in with as well as look at. The idea was to have a ‘clean’ activity suitable for visitors to a gallery, and one that would enable everyone to create their own temporary piece for the exhibition.

In the past rope makers walked miles everyday twisting their rope, and the idea of their steady footprints inspired the design of this printed sculpture.

The prints, which join together in lots of different ways, are all made from etched lino and printed using both intaglio and relief techniques to get layers of colour. Some are mounted on flat wooden tiles, others are on boxes. Each box has a sound reminiscent of foot steps.

The exhibit includes poems and quotes about walking to give you ideas as you arrange the prints to form your own unique walk. 

Rope as a beginning

I started with the idea of a rope puzzle. A bit corny I know, but you’ve got to start somewhere!

These prints are from a pvc block. There is information about this technique on the blog.

The concept of walking

My idea moved on from rope to footprints and I made some collagraph plates using tile cement to test this out.

The blocks are only 10cm square, and I wasn’t happy with the effect of the messy textures at this scale. I am trying earth colours – a bit dull here to be honest.

Working it out on paper

I like the idea of footprints and that someone is walking a long and winding path. It took a while to get the proportions right and to make sure every tile would join up with the next one along at least one edge.

There are only 5 designs but these produce hundreds of different layouts.

Etched lino blocks

Testing out etched lino as a way of producing the printing plates. I think this will work!

The lino was masked with plastic and vaseline, see more about the etched lino technique on the blog.

Printing blocks as art work

The lino blocks absorbed colours and looked beautiful themselves. After a plate has been printed many times it takes on a different quality.

A finished art work

I mounted the etched lino blocks as an artwork for the exhbition at The Ropewalk. It is really hard to part with printing plates as they feel like old friends!

Interactive with sound too

The plywood blocks each contain a little pebble which makes the sound of footsteps when you move the block and turn it round to fit it in with the others.

The blocks and tiles

It is interesting to change from a flat two dimensional plane to explore space in three dimensions. The designs don’t always fit together, there is a bit of puzzling needed to make it all work and avoid dead ends. Spot the blocks in this arrangement that need adjusting!