Double Elephant Blog

Double Elephant is an open access community based printmaking studio available to anyone, professional printmakers, artists and beginners alike. We aim to offer resources, equipment and tuition to the highest professional standards. We encourage creativity and artistic personal development through a friendly approach and a focus on the artistic integrity of your printmaking.

May 19

Redefining Printmaking - And they’re Off!

Redefining Print is the name for Double Elephant’s new 2 year project, which will examine and explore the nature of printmaking today. We LOVE printmaking and we want it to be used and explored by all artists, not just those who are trained and practiced in printmaking. Printmaking has huge life and character and we know there’s massive potential for how printmaking is perceived and utilised. 

It’s common that those artists who go to art school, learn something of printmaking there. It’s also common that after art school, without the access to the presses and other equipment, that printmaking fails to remain a viable part of their artist’s practice. Without access to technical support and equipment, it is difficult for contemporary artists to have printmaking as a potential resource for exploration.

Contemporary artists ask questions about the world we live in. They do this through the work they make, both the way they make it (known as ‘process’) and what they make (the ‘output’). Both the process and the output have boundless, limitless possibilities.

So, to explore how we could redefine print, Double Elephant will collaborate with contemporary artists to explore what they think about printmaking, and all of its characteristics including, the community, the customs, the sensory environment (smells, touch etc.)

And.. Da Ta! Our commissioned artists are: Mary Leahy, Bryony Gillard, Clare Thornton and Katy Connor. (Welcome! We can’t wait to meet you!) Alongside these 4 artists we have commissioned a writer, Carolyn Black and a film from artist Volkhardt Mueller.

These six artists are the foundations. Their close questioning and exploration will lead the way. Come and join the journey.

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Jan 18

Contemporary Artist’s Bursary Programme continues..

Look carefully at these prints… they are printed without ink, known as ‘blind embossing’. Tamsin Pender has been exploring creating blind embossed prints using a range of different objects. One of the most beautiful ways to make prints, they work with light and shadow to be seen.

Jan 16

Print/Animation Tests - 2013 from Workshops n' Docs on Vimeo.

Animation and Printmaking testers with our outreach team and Josh Gaunt. We were getting ready for the workshops we’ll be delivering at Thelma Hulbert Gallery during their Animation and Printmaking exhibition that opens this Saturday!

Lots of fun!

Jan 9

Double Elephant welcomed the first artists onto our Contemporary Artists Bursary programme. Lasting 6 weeks, the selected four artists have the opportunity to explore how printmaking can make a difference to their practise. 

Our first session, led by tutors and artists Catherine Cartwright and Emma Molony, including warming up with collaborative monoprinting, and contrasting this with miniature drypoints. From next week the artists will begin to focus on their own projects.

The participating artists are Janet Sainsbury, Carol Harvey, Tamsin Pender and Nancy Clemance.

We’re excited to see how they challenge printmaking and how printmaking challenges them.

Dec 10
LOVE this monoprint!
This was done by a talented young person at the Atkinson Unit, a secure children’s home in Exeter The young people were great to work with and produced beautiful monoprints.
Double Elephant were there during one of their regular arts weeks, which also included photography, graffiti, poetry and more. 

LOVE this monoprint!

This was done by a talented young person at the Atkinson Unit, a secure children’s home in Exeter The young people were great to work with and produced beautiful monoprints.

Double Elephant were there during one of their regular arts weeks, which also included photography, graffiti, poetry and more. 

A day in the Life of Double Elephant - WEEK 6

Martha Harris, 3rd year undergraduate at Exeter University is shadowing some of the Directors, Tutors and the Outreach & Education Coordinator at Double Elephant. Here is some of her news…

This week has been a week of variety.

On Monday Catherine and I ambled down to Taunton to take down the brilliant exhibition of Double Elephant prints on show at the Brewhouse Arts Centre. Whilst making sure the prints were all removed and stowed away safely was relatively simple, it was nice for me to have followed this exhibition from start to finish; from curating, to hanging, to removal at the end.

On Tuesday Catherine and I started the day by visiting ISCA College of Media Arts, where we met with the deputy head teacher to discuss a project that Double Elephant would take part in in league with the Local Area Base Provision Fund. This fund allows children who are struggling for some reason in school, perhaps due to disrupted home lives, to take part in a one day a week one term project centring around the arts – in this case, printmaking.

Catherine discussed the possibility of elements such as day trips to galleries to help inspire the children, and the hope that the project should culminate in an exhibition to which the children can invite friends and family. This sounds like a brilliant project to be involved in, allowing the kids to take a day out to focus on the therapeutic process of printmaking, which would then hopefully help them to restore their attention to their school work.

We then popped in to the Guildhall in Exeter to say hello to some staff members of S.A.F.E. who were setting up their own exhibition for their AGM, including the prints they had developed with Double Elephant during an arts & creative writing project at the refuge. Whilst we couldn’t really be of much help, it was nice to talk to the staff members further about their thoughts on the print project, and to hear how much they both enjoyed and found the process beneficial.

Finally, on Wednesday I went into the Double Elephant office to help their business manager Claire with some of the more technical aspects that go in to the running of the print workshop. For example, I spent most of the morning helping Claire update and format the new, soon to be up and running Double Elephant website, something I had never encountered before and found really interesting! It was great to be involved in something I would have previously thought to be too dauntingly technical, allowing me to brush up on my computer skills and learn a new process at the same time.

Note from Double Elephant.. Big Thank you to Martha who has been a star helping out this term. Thank you.

Dec 3

some images from the Neo Replicants exhibition at Exeter Phoenix - on until 19 Jan 2013

into the New Year!

Nov 25

Contemporary Artists Explore Printmaking - Bursary Scheme

An opportunity for contemporary artists to explore how printmaking can extend and evolve their practice.
Double Elephant Print Workshop is keen to reach out to contemporary artists and we are particularly interested to encourage cross over between different practices. We are looking for artists with a genuine curiosity about printmaking, but have not included it so far as part of their practice. We are not looking for artists who already use printmaking. 
Over 6 evenings the selected artists will work at DEPW to experiment and create with different processes. We welcome specific proposals for how you’d like to use the time. We will advise on what is possible with the facilities and resources available. 
There are four places available and there will be a 1:2 ratio of tutor to artist.
Dates: Tuesday evenings, 8 / 15 / 22 / 29 January and 12 / 19 Feb 2013,  from 6-9pm at Double Elephant Print Workshop, Exeter. 
The Bursary covers the cost of using Double Elephant Print Workshop facilities with the support of two tutors during the 6 evening sessions.  
To apply for a place you should forward the following details to by Monday 3 December: 
  • Statement of how this opportunity will benefit you and your practice with a proposal for your intended activity (max.800 words)
  • Artist Statement
  • CV
  • 5-8 images of your work
Please note:
  • The four selected artists will each be required to deliver a talk about their practice and their experience for Double Elephant members.
  • Material costs are not included and will vary depending on the processes used and the paper chosen.
  • Selected artists must commit to all six sessions.
  • Double Elephant will retain a proof of all prints made.
Deadline for applications - Monday 3rd December.
Selection will take place on Wed 5th & Thur 6th December and selected artists will be notified by 10th December. 

Double Elephant CIC, Exeter Phoenix, Bradninch Place, Gandy Street, Exeter, EX4 3LS

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Nov 19

A day in the Life of Double Elephant - WEEK 5

Martha Harris, 3rd year undergraduate at Exeter University is shadowing some of the Directors, Tutors and the Outreach & Education Coordinator at Double Elephant. Here is some of her news…

This week I tagged along to Kenton Primary School to help Simon Ripley teach years 1-2 and 5-6 the methods and merits of Monoprinting and Collagraph printing. Having helped Simon run a similar workshop a few weeks ago, I felt confident enough to give the children any assistance they needed in getting to grips with the various methods, ranging from ideas for picture composition, to how best to apply ink to their images to produce the most effective print. The session was part of the children’s Fair Trade Fortnight, so whilst we provided the children with some helpful examples of fair trade topics, we encouraged them to take inspiration from the lessons and activities they had been taking part in over the previous two weeks to create their own exciting prints. And indeed, both year groups not were not only full of original ideas, but they were both eager to transfer these ideas into prints – and as many prints as they could manage! When I first forayed in to print making, I remember being vaguely daunted by what seemed a very technical and methodical art form, so was vaguely surprised at the immediate confidence in the process that these very young children had. However this is something I’m learning with each group of novice print makers that I work with – it only takes one demonstration of the chosen process of the session, and one tentative first print, for the printing bug to take hold. I think there is something about the repetitive process of print making that encourages people of all ages to become prolific very quickly.

Later in the week I accompanied Catherine Cartwright to a workshop with members of Exeter’s SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone) organisation. Whilst working with victims of domestic abuse at first seemed a complete departure from working with primary school children, the enthusiasm with which the SAFE group met the printing process was much the same. Catherine and I were helping the group develop sketches they had worked on in a previous session into dry-point prints, and many members of the group were quick to experiment with methods of blending inks, with very effective results. The umbrella theme under which the members initial sketches were grouped was ‘Weapons of Choice’, the idea being that in artistically rendering objects of abuse the members could reclaim these objects, empowering their own detachment from past abuse. The delicate images that can be achieved through the dry-point process lent itself very well to the delicate subject at hand, whilst the printing process was viewed by many as an interesting new skill, something the members said they would definitely be eager to try again.  

The images from the SAFE workshop are shown here.

Nov 6

Workshop with Artist in Residence - Steven Paige

Steven’s workshop was rich due to his enthusiasm to choose a topic, to indulge in research & to think “outside the box”,  as fuel for creativity…

Artist Steven Paige is a currently resident artist at Double Elephant Print, tasked with responding to the Leonard Baskin & Ted Hughes archive based at University of Exeter. Not a regularly practicing printmaker, his approach to the residency is a much conceptual as materials based. 

For the workshop on 31 October,  Steven presented aspects of the archive that he has found intriguing – namely how Baskin worked and corresponded with Hughes, how text/writing works with the image including the notion of the press or publishing of works and, as it was auspiciously Halloween, how a healthy approach to mortality gave rise to a rich field to explore.  For the workshop these ideas were explored further to encourage fresh approaches to making work. 

A taster of the poems that the group responded to:

"O shining Odysseus, never try to console me for dying.
I would rather follow

the plow as thrall to another
man, one with no land allotted to him and

much to live on,
than be a king over all the perished dead.”

— Achilles’ soul to Odysseus. Homer, Odyssey’ 11.488-491

"To Thanatos, Fumigation from Manna.

Hear me, O Death, whose empire unconfin’d

extends to mortal tribes of ev’ry kind.

On thee, the portion of our time depends,

whose absence lengthens life, whose presence ends.

Thy sleep perpetual bursts the vivid folds

by which the soul, attracting body holds :

common to all, of ev’ry sex and age,

for nought escapes thy all-destructive rage.

Not youth itself thy clemency can gain,

vigorous and strong, by thee untimely slain.

In thee the end of nature’s works is known,

in thee all judgment is absolved alone.

No suppliant arts thy dreadful rage control,

no vows revoke the purpose of thy soul.

O blessed power, regard my ardent prayer,

and human life to age abundant spare.

Orphic Hymn 86 trans. Thomas Taylor, trans. The Hymns of Orpheus, 1792.

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