Experimental Darkroom

Digital Darkroom Print, black and white pixelation on photographic paper, 2018

Darkroom photography has always held a fascination for me. There is something magical about taking a photograph in one place and then summoning its appearance in another. I think it’s the closest to alchemy that I’m likely to get – but what is more exciting than following the rules of the darkroom  – is breaking the rules. I met Joanna Garrett, a specialist in ‘experimental darkroom’ in 2017 and she has had me hooked ever since.

The experimental darkroom differs from the traditional darkroom in a number of ways – mainly that it there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of utilizing it, the aim is to find a methodology and aesthetic that work ‘for you’. Through trial, error and lots of research, we are working collaboratively as well as individually in order to develop new bodies of work.

This way of working fits with my printmaking and installation practice and the thrill of finding something that works, as well as subverting a traditional method really excites me. To read more about my experiments with softground etching click here and to see how I have worked with sensors, animation and sound click here.

Alternatively, browse of some experimental projects in this gallery.


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Images From the Art Zoo

Steph Cottle Art Zoo, Zoo Keeper, by Jane Elizabeth Bennett at the Harris Preston 2018 Images from the Art Zoo

Images from the Art Zoo

Art Zoo took place on the 26th May 2018 and was a success. The aim of Art Zoo was to break down the barriers between artist and audience and give a unique insight into the world of the practicing artist. Take a look at some of the beautiful images taken by Garry Cook below.

Steph Cottle – The Art Zoo, Zoo Keeper

Steph Cottle Art Zoo, Zoo Keeper, by Jane Elizabeth Bennett at the Harris Preston 2018 Images from the Art Zoo
Meet Steph Cottle the Zoo Keeper for Art Zoo At the Harris Museum and Gallery

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‘Masters’ at Artlab

Creative Letterpress with David Armes at Artlab CPS 2018, Masters

Artlab Contemporary Printmaking Studio has recently run a series of three masterclasses in Printmaking entitled ‘Masters’.

I have been looking forward to the ‘Masters’ masterclasses for some time. Anyone that knows me well will know how much I love to ‘upskill’. The ‘Masterclasses’ were a great opportunity to network with some very experienced artists and expand my own knowledge.

Bronwen Sleigh’s Two Plate Softground Masterclass

Sleigh’s research and portfolio are extensive, and her workshop was as enjoyable as it was informative. The aim of the workshop was to explore methods of drawing a composite image over two soft-ground plates and then correctly register them to print on the star wheel press.

Two Plate Etching with Bronwin Sleigh, Drawing Studio, Artlab 2018
Two Plate Etching with Bronwin Sleigh, Drawing Studio, Artlab 2018

The group prepared each plate, de-greasing and coating them with a traditional softground wax, once the plates had been prepared they were etched in copper-sulphate and cleaned in preparation for inking and printing.

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Artists at Work in the Art Zoo

Art Zoo, Harris Museum, 26th May 2018

See Real Artists at Work in the Art Zoo! Art Zoo breaks down the barriers between artists and audiences.

Art Zoo is part performance, part installation, and part living sculpture. It is an absurdist event that will give visitors to the Harris a glimpse into the exciting and vibrant world of the artist and see how they work.

Art Zoo took place at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery on the 26th May 2018 and was a great success. Tours of the Harris were lead by the fantastic Stephanie Cottle as the Art Zoo, Zoo Keeper. Some of the specimens that she introduced the visitors to are featured below.

Stephanie Cottle, Art Zoo at the Harris, Zoo Keeper 2018, At Work in the Art Zoo
Stephanie Cottle, Art Zoo at the Harris, Zoo Keeper 2018, At Work in the Art Zoo

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More Artists in the Art Zoo

Art Zoo, Harris Museum, 26th May 2018

It’s not long now until Art Zoo! By popular demand, more artists have been captured and coerced into the Art Zoo at The Harris Museum and Art Gallery.

By popular demand, new editions to the Art Zoo include visual and sonic artist Rob Mullandar and collage an installation artist Tina Dempsey.

Tina Dempsey (Aliquam ultrices scelerisque artifex)

Tina Dempsey is an artist that works effortlessly across a number of mediums, including collage, photography, and installation.

By Popular Demand Tina Dempsey - Collage Artist, Art Zoo, The Harris Preston 2018, Lubaina Himid, Hard Times
Tina Dempsey – Collage Artist, Art Zoo, The Harris Preston 2018, Lubaina Himid, Hard Times

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