I saw this printing block in an exhibition on the Arts and Crafts Movement at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle where I live. The block is in storage at the V and A.I am interested in the Arts and Crafts artists because of their belief that art should be accessible to all in their everyday life. I have tried to illustrate this in my piece by emphasizing the importance of process and using a variety of relatively simple techniques to create a piece of jewellery which is easy to wear and functional.The techniques I used were etching, riveting, stamping and printing.
When I first saw the printing block I was struck by it organic nature - the elements seemed to grow out of the wood. As I am relatively new to jewellery making I was uncertain how to produce this effect and discussed it with my tutors at Morley. They suggested etching metal. I experimented with etching copper hand drawing with permanent ink to create the design. The desired effect was achieved after multiple etchings both from and back stopping out different areas. Once the piece was finished I used it to print a piece of cotton using four different colours for different part of the design. I chose dark green fabric both to complement the copper and in keeping with colours of the Arts and Crafts movement.
My original design had been for a brooch but it became clear that the thickness of copper required was too heavy for a brooch and I modified my ideas so that the block would hang from the printed material as a necklace.
This form of etching and printing were both new too me and my tutors at Morley were very helpful. The other class members were also very helpful and motivating.
London, England (made)
Morris, William, born 1834 - died 1896 (possibly, designer) Barrett's (maker) Morris & Co. (made for)
Pearwood and metal, with felt inlay
V&A collection reference number(s):