Just arrived at ArtisOn.  Here's the view.

Just arrived at ArtisOn. Here’s the view.

ArtisOn?  ArtisOn?  Never heard of ArtisOn?  Well, that’s your bad luck, is all I can say.  Just six miles from here, outside Masham, are some studios. These belong to ArtisOn, who provide programmes of day workshops that will unlock your creativity in ways you might never have thought of.

I’d fancied doing some print-making.  Back in the dark ages, when I was at school, I’d enjoyed the odd chance to do lino cuts.  Something about simplifying objects back to their very essence, seeking to capture their vitality using simple materials,  simple cutting tools, choosing papers to print my images appealed to me then and appeals to me now.

I spotted one of ArtisOn’s courses – Printing without a Printing Press. This promised the chance to re-visit now rusty skills and have a go at one or two more.  And Malcolm promised to enrol me on it as an early birthday present

What a fantastic day.  Only six students, and one most motivating teacher, Hester Cox. You can see her work, largely inspired by the rural environment in which she lives, here. She showed us collographs: we added to and removed layers from thick card, adding scraps of textured paper, dried leaves, sand and small found objects to make simple textured images.  My resulting stylised flower looked OK, I thought, but when I tried printing it later, I was disappointed.

Lino cutting went better.  I enjoyed choosing the best cutter for achieving different effects.  I enjoyed choosing which parts of my design to leave in relief, and which to gouge away.  What a satisfying time that was, carefully cutting away at the lino until it revealed something like the effect I was after.

I've just finished hacking away at my sheet of lino.

I’ve just finished hacking away at my sheet of lino.

Then it was time to eat.  I’d been told – several times – that the real motive for going to ArtisOn is to have lunch.  I can confirm this is an excellent reason.  Pasta bake and bowls full of different salads may not sound exciting, but when a simple dish is crammed full of varied vegetable tastes and textures, there is really nothing not to like.  Berry pudding, tiramisu, juicy fruit salad…  it all slipped down very easily, as did a quite sensational parsnip and ginger cake with our afternoon tea.



After lunch it was time to get printing.  We learnt how to prepare our paint for action with rollers, how to mix colours within a single print, how to apply pressure to our papers to get the image to ‘take’.  And we had the excitement of seeing our efforts come to life.  We got so involved that we had little time for our final activity of making simple stamps from wood blocks and easily-worked soft polystyrene ‘funfoam’.  I shall enjoy making stamps such as these to label my pots of marmalade, or to make hand-stamped wrapping paper.  Here’s my first effort.

Marmalade labels in the making.

Marmalade labels in the making.

This was a great day.  I was buzzing with ideas on the way home, and I know I’ve been equipped to begin to develop my long-forgotten interest in print-making.  If you’re on my Christmas card list – you have been warned. Limited edition print on its way to you in nine months time.  Blame Malcolm.  He paid.




18 thoughts on “ArtisOn

  1. Oh yes print-making is a great activity. I like your stylised flower print. I’m sure you realised that like anything the more you do of it the better you get. I ended up preferring to make collographs rather than lino cuts after about 10 weeks wielding the gouger thingy!!!


    1. Thaks for the encouragement. You’re right, I could see it wasn’t going to be an intuitive thing, getting collographs right. After all, if it were all that easy, where would the challenge be?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow – did you do that robin? You have talents I didn’t know you had 🙂 And I’d love to learn how to make stamps.


    1. Honestly, Kalba, it’s easy. Buy some funfoam (and who knows what THAT is in French?) and I’ll give you a lesson. Oh, and you’ll need a biro that won’t write any more too. I think that’s the only kind we have 😉


  3. This is so weird because only last night I was discussing a very similar course that is run close to where we live and encouraging Mr OC to give it a go. I will take your post as a sign that he needs to do it.


    1. I’ve been away, hence my silence. Please let a waiting world know how Mr OC gets on. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it if he enrols.


  4. Oh Margaret! I always read wih great interest your blog even if I don’t leave an answer! But these days I leave sfr which belongs to Altice who controls Numéricâble, Virgin mobile, l’Express and Libération! It’s too much for me! So I won’t be able to read your writings for a (long) while. I regret! Meanwhile go on writing Margaret with your personnal touch and interest for all what happens around you! I often think of you and Malcolm for your kindness when we went in Ykshire. Yours sincerely. Noëlle


  5. What an amazing day! Your results are most impressive and I wonder if you will continue to pursue this on your own? Thanks for sharing the experience with us.


  6. I left a comment earlier but it’s vanished. Like Kalba I’m very impressed with the bird – particularly the way the claws are clutching the twig. Reminds me of Mark Hearld’s work. As for the labels – can you do bees?!


    1. I don’t know Mark Hearld so I’ll have to put that right. Hmm. Bees. Tricky. I must write to you after our flying visit today to Montreuil 😉


  7. Can I tell you how excited I am for you?! Aren’t you the one who says you don’t have any creative outlet? This sounds like a perfect day and your enthusiasm is so evident. I think the little bird print is lovely and can just see your marmalade jars, with handmade labels! Your teacher’s talent and skill is amazing–I love her work. I’ll look forward to seeing your future efforts!


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