1. Subject Matter

Mind-mapping to develop ideas for progression with the theme of 'Worship"
One particular text in which Benazir Bhutto discusses worship.
Researching Bhutto's interaction with crowds with enabled me to best represent the mood and style.

It became evident from the beginning of this workshop that I needed to focus in on one particular figure and how they worshipped, to enable me to get the best possible outcome for the workshop. After some mind-mapping in my initial research I chose to focus on Pakistan’s first ever female Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto presented really progressive and moderate views on worship when she was in government and throughout her political campaigns. She became renowned for her bravery in the face of religious extremists and in challenging the dictatorship in Pakistan. 

Perhaps the most striking aspect about Benazir Bhutto and the way she worshipped was that she died for the beliefs she cherished. I gathered photographs of Bhuttos interactions with her supporters, gaining a sense of how she was worshipped by people during her life.

2. Process & Development

Setup of press for printing by Fergal Kilkenny
From the initial drawing the image was then etched into the acetate. Tape was used to cover unwanted lines when printing.
Cleaning the acetate plate.
Print variations showing effects of different strengths of wiping on the plate.
New plate developed to reinforce the theme of 'Worship'. More concentration on line and depth.
The initial print shows there was not enough wiping of the plate. The second visual presents more finer lines and depth.


For the drypoint part of this workshop I decided to illustrate Benazir Bhutto on a bus, a scene from her homecoming parade in 2007. I centred Bhutto giving her visual importance and one of her supporters can be seen below the bus with their hands in the air in celebration (the phoenix rising). Having discussed the print with a few people it became obvious to me that it was not communicating the correct form of worship, as to some it suggested a football team on a bus celebrating a win.

I decided to revisit the subject matter and see how best to represent worship through drypoint. I looked at how Benazir Bhutto, in her life supported a moderate form of religious worship - how she was devoted to democracy, and how in her death became a figure of worship to millions of Pakistanis. I chose to draw an image of a father holding his child up to kiss a photo of Bhutto (reminiscent of how people present their children to the pope for blessings). In the background of the image is the mausoleum where she is buried and which is a site of worship to thousands of Pakistanis. The use of hatching and cross hatching I feel added to the depth in the image.

Cutting into the lino block to expose the letterforms.

Lino blocks on cardboard with registration marks.
Through overprinting I attempted to show passing of time and changes in forms of worship.
Black and white lino prints side by side present a striking contrast. 
Experimenting with embossing - could relate to leaders leaving a mark on the country through forms of worship.
Lino block printed on silk like fabrics.
Rectangular lino block used for repeat printing on fabric.

Lino block with Arabic script printed on fabric. Headscarf size.

Lino prints

I discovered soon into the development of a concept for my lino block that I would not be able to use the same image from my drypoint due to the intricate nature of the lines. I therefore decided that it would be best to create a new image to transfer onto the lino block. I chose to create a typographic lino print using the Arabic script to transport the viewer to another world. Linking into my original inspiration for the workshop one of the blocks features Benazir Bhutto’s surname (representing the tolerant, progressive views she held on Islam) and the other block carries the name of an infamous dictator from Pakistan who imprisoned Benazir and sentenced her father to death (General Zia ul Haq ruled by sharia law and supported extremist notions).

I decided that this could create a nice contrast in religious views and forms of worship. I experimented with overprinting to support the idea of changing times and leadership. I decided that the prints worked best in black and white as the contrast was more profound.

Using material I then wanted to reinforce the theme worship. Choosing a Quote from Bhutto “Democracy is the best revenge” I created a lino block with the text in Urdu and printed on a silk like fabric. The fabric is cut to the size of a headscarf, similar to those worn by Muslim women in Pakistan.

3. Reflection on Work of Peers

Raphaela Clement's drypoint etching of 'Lemons'

Raphaela's etching was of interest to me as it presented a similar line weight to my own. Her use of tight lines on the side of the lemon creates shadow and depth. The transformation of the the lemon over time can be seen in the etchings. There is a nice understanding of the wiping process and this allows for the visuals to really pop out of the page. I could see this style being implemented in the classroom with a bridging of printmaking and still life - engaging students in the creative process.

Jennifer Shaughnessy's lino block
Jennifer's work on her lino block was very different to my own approach as she had more than one colour. It was interesting to see the process of working on the block and removing colours one by one. The theme Jennifer chose was Metamorphosis and it was very evident from her block and prints. There was a nice bridging of mechanical and technological systems with the inclusion of a computer like switch board surrounding the cog. Given the fact that in todays world the majority of machines need both physical parts and computer components there is a very contemporary feel to Jennifer's work.

Jennifer Shaughnessy's print in progress

I really liked the colour choice for the set of prints. The green colour which is so dominant is something which would not necessarily come to mind when thinking of machines and working parts. Similarly the yellow allows certain circuits to stand out with a real graphic visual style.

4. Critical and Contextual References

An example of etching with emphasis on line. Artist includes another print technique on the one plate - aquatint.

The artist here (C.G Beiguio) uses intricate lines to express form and introduces two different printmaking techniques with the inclusion of aquatint. There is great contrast achieved by the artist through the use of these two print processes.

Similarly there is a great balance of colour over the entire plate and interesting texture created in the wiping of the plate. I would like to experiment in future with a combination of print techniques as I feel for certain visuals it could really adds impact.

Drypoint print by Angie Hoffmeister
Drypoint Print by Angie Hoffmeister

Angie Hofmeister creates drypoint etchings with a clear focus on line. Through line Angie manages to communicate movement and the layering effect really helps to reinforce the notion of transience.

I also like the contrast Angie Hoffmeister presents in the form of the background. By not cleaning the plate entirely the image pops from the page and the background has a subtle texture.