Papaya Slices on Turquoise - Ailbhe Phelan

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London View Inspiration Details

Artist Statement

Ailbhe Phelan

I've attended a weekly afternoon printmaking class for the last 3 years. I enjoy adding texture to my intaglio prints which are based around my realistic drawing style. This year I wanted to explore printmaking further by introducing colour and new techniques. I love loose blocks of flat colour contrasted against linework (a style I use in my graphic work). After visiting an exhibition of Scandinavian textile design early last year in London I started to explore the V&A's online textile collection looking at the fabric designers and printmakers of the early to mid 20th Century for inspiration. Fabric designers of those periods regularly used a variety of mark-making techniques before the final designs were screen-printed or woven (eg initial designs might be created partially using linocut techniques or perhaps crayon linework on rough paper to achieve textured lines). Their use of colour was often vibrant, flat and not tightly registered to the linework which adds an energy to the finished fabric.

This recent print of mine introduces vibrant flat colours by incorporating handmade coloured Japanese paper as chine-collé (a new technique for me). On some sections I pre-print them using collograph printing (another new technique) to add even more texture. By etching my plate using the soft ground process I can add another layer of texture and I contrast the loosely registered areas of chine-collé colour with my linework. The subject matter of food/nature as a still life is one I return to regularly as, like the fabric designers I admire, I find it easily offers form, texture and colour.

This print has 12 pieces of chine-collé, one of which is a pre-printed collograph. There's nothing like starting to learn techniques by jumping off the deep end and there was a lot of technical learning on this print!

Papaya Slices on Turquoise - Ailbhe Phelan

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inspiration details:

Furnishing Fabric

Britain

1952-4

Vivien Shaw

Printed cotton

V&A collection reference number(s):
T.23-2016, T.545:2-1999, E.701-2016, CIRC.220-1951, CIRC.232-1950, T.144-2009, CIRC.3-1940

Exhibition Guide

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