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printmaking courses
New printmaking classes starting this May and September suitable for beginners and the experienced. Printmaker. For details email Helen at helentranckle@360trust.org or see foliostudio.co.uk

Printmaking is a very exciting and diverse technique.  It can vary from a painterly and loose practice to a more methodical one.  In the beginner’s classes we start with the looser method of monoprinting.  A good place to start as it eases into the crossover from painting to print.  The monoprint is so called as only one print can be made from it.  Any further prints will be difficult to achieve although sometimes a second paler print can be taken. There are many ways of creating a monoprint, either directly or indirectly using either a press or by literally pressing or drawing on the on to the back of a piece of paper onto an inked up image on a plate.  Whichever method is preferred the method is fast, easy and very satisfying to see the prints filling the print drier in no time.

Monoprints can be carried on into other techniques such as drypoint.  Drypoint is a non-acid etch method using etching needles to scratch into the surface of a metal or acetate plate.  The lines and areas of tone created hold the colour when inked up and printed.  The addition of Chine-collé, where delicate papers are bonded to the paper to give areas of colour and texture lends itself very well to drypoint printing.

Carborundum is another technique which works very well with drypoint.  Carborundum is made up of silicon carbide grit which is glued to the surface of a plate.  It produces areas or whole images of texture and holds ink giving depth or lightness to an image.  It is possible to create a whole image using just carborundum and like the monoprint it is also another painterly style where you are basically drawing with glue and grit!

Texture can also be created with collagraphs by building up a plate using materials, such as fabric, found objects, cardboard, string, thread, glue, anything really as long as it isn’t sharp or too bulky.  Collagraphs are called relief prints and this is because the top surfaces of the plate, unlike the etched plates, are printed leaving the recessed surfaces ink free.

Relief printing is carried on into the subsequent classes, looking at lino, lino etching and woodcuts. Also the techniques learned in the beginner’s course are developed so that several methods can be combined, advancing to multi-plates and looking at colour and layers.

The classes are often a combination of beginners and more experienced and attention is given separately to each person, however mixing the levels of experience is beneficial to both as ideas propagate by seeing other people’s work and experience.

Making prints  is a combination of ideas and technical ability and to that end it often produces results which are surprising and frequently prompt a dimension or direction not thought about initially.  I often view each print I create as a work in progress making possibilities endless. .. Printmaking is always inspiring!

Visit foliostudio.co.uk to for more about Helen and to see some of her personal work.

‘It is not enough to know your craft – you have to have feeling. Science is all very well, but for us imagination is worth far more.’ Edouard Manet

With equipment for the personal use of each student and specialist presses capable of handling prints up to A2 in size you will not find a better environment or more dedicated teacher to start making your very own art work through this dynamic, challenging and rewarding medium.


"I have thoroughly enjoyed Helen's course. It has been informative, inspirational and tremendous fun. I highly recommend it - but you're not having my place because I'm signing on for more!" Gill Jones.

"Helen is an extremely good printmaking tutor. She is calm, informative and talented. I have thoroughly enjoyed being on one of her courses and have learnt a lot during the last six sessions. I would strongly recommend Helen to anyone who is looking for a course in printmaking techniques whether they are interested in fine art or more a graphic approach to the arts." Allie Garrity.

"Helen has established a print making course that is both creative and informative, but with a fun and supportive atmosphere. This was my very first attempt at print making since leaving design college in the early seventies - I really enjoyed the course and produced some images that I feel happy with. I will definitely do another course". David Ames.