I am mature student studying art with The Open College of the Arts. I have completed Drawing 1 and have embarked on Printmaking 1. I draw, paint, photograph and make things in willow, yarn and leather but my passion is printmaking.

20 Responses to About

  1. Dale says:

    I scrolled down to early Nov 2013. The tree and the pumpkin were my favorites. Thanks for posting all your trials and process!! Cheers.

  2. smgilmore says:

    Hello there, thanks for following me, have just had a quick scan, you’ve got some great work. I see you like willow- I’ve become a bit obsessed with all things willow. I’ll look forward to following your progress too, Sue.

    • starrybird says:

      Hi Sue, I loved the willow charcoal sculpture. I fact I love your interdisciplinary approach. I have just finished Printmaking 1 and have only a final reflection post to complete. I have signed up for Sculpture 1 as my final level 1 course. I will post the new blog in my final post here. It will be years til I get to your stage…

  3. Jan says:

    Thanks for posting your work and thoughts. I am almost 70 and stuck at home with a fractured spine, it is inspiring tto read your working method and see your images, it has given me some inspiration that maybe I can try to work on something. I love your energy and enthusiasm, thank you. Jan

    • starrybird says:

      Dear Jan, I am so pleased if anything I have written has cheered your day. Why not have a look at my garden blog littlecoppice.wordpress.com and come and have a walk with me around my garden? People moan about the effects of modern technology but it can be a great way of connecting and getting outside four walls. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  4. Carolyn says:

    Did you have your own etching press? Is it necessary for the course?
    Great work, great imagination

    • starrybird says:

      Hi, for OCA’s Printmaking 1, you do not need access to a press. The course is carefully designed to avoid the need. However, if you get the bug, ambition will soon drive you towards exploring using a press. Initially, I went to local open print studio, which is great because you work alongside other prntmakers and pick up a lot of tips. I also went to workshops. This list is a good place to start, but its not complete. http://www.printmaker.co.uk/links.html. Eventually I converted a mangle bought off ebay as a press, hence greenmangle. Cheers!

  5. Carolyn says:

    I am considering making a press from a mangle. Can you tell me if you used any plans or how you made your press. Does it still have wooden rollers or did you replace them?

    • starrybird says:

      Hi Carolyn, I bought my press on ebay and was lucky that it was in really goo condition having been stored inside in a garage. It had rubber rollers, and I used it just like that for ages, just with the addition of an mdf board. Later, I replaced the rollers with identical ones which had been sleaved in steel by a local engineering firm. This cost £120. I have a friend who restores mangles as presses and she had these spare, but she tells me simple to get done. My husband used a gear puller to get at the rollers, but that was the only specialist bit. A decent mangle should work with no mods if you get the rubber rollers in good nick. Good luck!

  6. Carolyn says:

    Could you attach a photo. I have been looking at mangles with wooden rollers (actually quite old) a circular handle and cast iron frame. If your mangle has rubber rollers is it not so old and smaller with a straight handle. I can actually remember my mum using a mangle that was attached to a washing machine of sorts!

  7. Carolyn says:

    Thank you. I am now looking for a mangle.

  8. starrybird says:

    Consider carefully. Dont go for a rusty mangle that someone has has in the graden as an ‘ornament’ and is now trying to fob off as a collectable! Good luck!

  9. Carolyn says:

    Thank you for this advice. I have managed to find a mangle and I am in the process of converting it. I have had the rollers sleeved and now considering how to make a support for the bed. Your photo shows a try beneath the rollers, do you have a bed as well and is it secured? My idea is to use some sort of composite wood for the bed. I think the mangle I have is very similar to your mangle. I have cleaned the mangle up and it all works well so I am pleased so far.

    • starrybird says:

      Brilliant! I dont use a fixed bed, means I can roll the mangle away. I just feed in a piece of mdf as a bed when in use. Its about 4mm and my local diy store cut it to size for me. I varnished it to make it wipable. Cheap and cheerful!

  10. Carolyn says:

    Thank you for reply. We are (husband who loves a project) just finishing painting the gears. The rollers are not stainless steel and I can feel the join in the sleeve so I hope its going to be OK. They were pipes and the join is only slight but I have been using a press that uses stainless steel. I will take them back if it does not work to be smoothed out, I am sure they can do it. Probably try it between Christmas and New Year.
    I have not followed the OCA course but I am tempted. However I have been doing printmaking as a day class and there are quite a lot of opportunities to participate in classes in my area which is south Oxfordshire.
    Thank you and Merry Christmas.

  11. Carolyn says:

    Hi again
    The mangle is back together but the gap that the cogs will allow appears small. Did you use the original cogs on your machine. It looks as if they will disengage if the rollers are two far apart I think the bed will have to be quite thin.

  12. starrybird says:

    Yes, but it is OK. Before I had clad rollers, my bed was about 6-7mm thick perspex, but after, I could not accommodate that any more. I tried replacing it with thinner perspex but too floppy, so went for mdf about 3- 4mm thick and that was fine. I have to present it to the rollers and push a bit as I turn the handle and it goes in ok. Makes it a better etching press. If I do lino (not often) I use runners, off cuts of lino in strips to feed in the plate (intaglio sell but made my own). We are not far from South Oxon if you want to come and talk mangles! Welcome… we all just muddle through, with a bit of help…

  13. Carolyn says:

    Sorry for the lack of contact but just to let you know the press is working. The bed is plywood 3mm and this allows lino and mono print but it is an issue if it comes out. Initially I was disappointed with the smoothness of the rollers but this not an issue since I bought a proper blanket.
    I have experimented with mono prints and lino and drypoint. It is quite addictive. Inks are now an issue but I find intaglio oil OK for most things and I clean up with vegetable oil. I have tried caligo too but found them really messy to clean up although they are water based and the ink takes ages to dry.
    This week I went to the Oxford printmakers exhibition at St John Evangelist Iffley Rd Oxford. It was a in cloister and the there are about 200 prints of all types, so really worth a visit.

    • starrybird says:

      So glad you have got a working press. I dont find the bed com ing out a prob, I take mine out all the time for storage. I like Caligo inks for some things but find, increasingly, that I am switching to Hawthorne inks. Oxford Printmakers looks fab and I must get other to see the works. All the best.

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