IMPACT 11 Printmaking Conference

At IMPACT 10 in Santander 2018, Hong Kong Open Printshop launched its bid to host the following IMPACT 11, with the expectation to welcome delegates to their vibrant city of Hong Kong in September 2020. The aim was simple; uniting printmakers, artists and academics from across the world, exploring the many planned exhibitions across the city, exchanging and critiquing printmaking practice at academic paper sessions, and sharing techniques and idea during workshops and over breaks. However, the disruption of Covid forced the IMPACT 11 hosts to put the conference on hold and rethink their plans. Meanwhile, we waited to see what might happen.

On April 20–25th 2021, the HK IMPACT team exceeded our expectations. They worked tirelessly to rethink and reorganise, distil a city-wide conference and exhibition schedule, and transform the IMPACT printmaking conference into an online event. The team also had to draft a program that fitted across multiple time zones. Thank you to the Hong Kong Open Printshop and to all who have remained committed to contributing and supporting Impact 11.

Below you will find prints and presentations made by academics from the CFPR.

Review of IMPACT 11 Conference by Wuon-Gean Ho

The IMPACT Printmaking conference first started in 1999 at the Centre for Fine Print Research, UWE Bristol, and has become an eagerly awaited highlight of the printmakers’ calendar. The gathering of an international printmaking community together every two years allows for a joyous celebration of advanced printmaking techniques, concepts and theory, against a lively backdrop of each city which graciously hosts each event. My first experience of an IMPACT conference was in 2009 when I gave a talk at the IMPACT 6 event in Bristol. I enjoyed it so much that I came away with a vague dream, now realized, of working there someday.

IMPACT 11 was to be hosted by Hong Kong Open Printshop, a printmaking studio established some 20 years ago. Covid disruption forced the organizers to quickly pivot to an online conference, which was delivered from April 20–25th 2021; some 145 attendees beamed in from all over the world. The talks and panels were performed over zoom. Interspersed with the talks were captivating videos: vignettes on local Hong Kong artists, each working in some way in the print world: from monoprinting with screenprint; monumental collage; gum-bichromate printing; the revival of Riso; a virtual tour of the Hong Kong Open Printshop and their great ambition to recast a collection of traditional letterpress type, and more. These videos provided a real sense of visiting this incredible city and the printmakers who live in it.

Traditionally the IMPACT conference has carefully curated exhibitions, which would have been my main source of inspiration and astonishment. This year, the 73 exhibitions were somewhat hidden in the new online format, their physicality completely absent. At previous conferences I have wandered behind huge sweeping veils of printed works, or marvelled at the delicacy of sculptural and installation forms, allowed myself to be peer closely at velvety surfaces, or participated, touched, created and destroyed forms at invitation. The exhibited works will remain online for a year so we can browse at leisure and perhaps make a slow response conversation to the shows instead.

The talks took advantage of the online video presentation format to make scholarly and thought-provoking displays of ways of thinking and working: in some, humour and playfulness came through, in others, a taste of culture from another land. We were treated to surveys of prints from various places notably Poland, Australia and Dundee. Collaborative ways of working in print and book works was a strong theme. Use of old and new technologies were covered, from laser cut woodblocks and computer controlled extruded clay to experimental techniques of Woodburytype and gillotage.

Overall it was a fun and lively event, and a gathering of many printmakers from all over the globe. I hope very much that next year 2022 IMPACT 12 conference which will be held in Bristol will allow us to gather again, and for those who cannot join in person, that we can bring together elements of online content and networking to create a warm virtual environment.

CFPR Prints and Presentations at IMPACT 11

Abigail Trujillo Vazquez
Open portfolio: The appearance of footprints 

Printmaking as memory, meaning and experiment, Abigail explores ways to emphasise the significance of materials and the 3D dimension. Pictured in photographs, Abigail explores the possibilities of extracting physical variables involved in translating digital images to screen printing, lithographic, relief prints and embossing. 

Constanza Dessain
Illustrated Talk: Seeing touch: the Woodburytype as haptic image

Constanza’s talk reflected her interest in the relief surface of the 19th century Woodburytype print and how the unruly materiality of gelatin has led to the development of an idiosyncratic method of taking gelatin casts on paper, producing images with rich haptic qualities. Constanza shared how she can work with these direct imprints to encounter and represent the entanglement of human and non-human agencies in an agricultural landscape in southern Scotland.

Wuon-Gean Ho
Exhibition: Covid Tales

Covid Tales is based on a series of 100 prints made for Wuon-Gean’s father, who remains in a care home after breaking his neck. Part diary, part postcard home, the prints are packed with hidden details and narratives that allow for a slow reading of the image and aim to keep up a visual conversation.

Since making the original series of prints, the world has been impacted by a pandemic. We have each experienced many forms of lockdown. Responding to the fear, absurdity and drama of the situation, Wuon-Gean has created another 40 images in an ongoing series called Covid Tales. The images are in the same format of 15 x 20 cm linocut and monoprint. They cover various situations, from longing for forbidden touch, comfort eating, working from the bedroom or bathroom, living room yoga, and being overwhelmed by the screen.
Link to Covid Tales:

Angie Butler and Imi Maufe
Exhibition: POSTED/UNPOSTED: British Isles

POSTED/UNPOSTED: British Isles (2019-2020) is a new iteration of the POSTED/UNPOSTED (2016-2017) project curated by Imi Maufe (NOR) and Lina Nordenström (SE), who worked with 25 invited artists, printmakers and visual poets from the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden).

For this new British Isles version, Imi Maufe and Angie Butler worked with 24 creative practitioners who use letterpress. The resulting work spans fifty years of letterpress publishing expertise, illuminating the wealth of innovative letterpress printing that takes place across the British Isles today. By curating and exhibiting the work, Imi and Angie hope they will inspire other practitioners to explore the process for themselves and provide possibilities for further exhibitions for this project, which expands geographical, process and publishing boundaries.

Stephen Hoskins
Exhibition: Flight of Fancy; a retrospective of prints that fly. 

Stephen has been making kites and aeroplane prints for the last forty years. The aeroplanes were initially inspired by an uncle who made model aeroplanes in the 1950’s. The prints are about the craft of making, providing a gentle delight in challenging the notions of what constitutes a print and where the perceived borders between the fine and applied arts, end and begin. Paying homage to traditional kite manufacture such as Japan, Thailand, Nepal and India, Stephen has combined his love of model aeroplanes, late 20th-century print technology, and the unsurpassable quality of a sheet of delicate handmade paper.

Stephen Hoskins
Paper: The evolution of print technology through the printed history of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

What does ‘Alice in Wonderland’ have to do with printing history? ‘Alice’ is one of the very few books in continuous production over the last one hundred and fifty years. Alice and its sister publication ‘Through the Looking Glass’ are unique and have always been illustrated volumes, thus offering an excellent opportunity to compare developments in technology through the years. This paper presented a detailed printing history of Alice from its first publication in 1865 to the present day, including examples of leading artists of the day and how the printing process influenced their work.   

Susanne Klein
Paper: Different shades of grey

This paper explores the reproduction of photographic pictures using Woodburytype and Lithography. Comparing silver halide photography, Woodburytype with lithography demonstrates how greyscale is a function of image size. The greyscale in Woodburytype is independent of the size of the print, i.e. the same contrast and the same number of grey levels can be achieved without loss of image resolution. This is not the case for lithography, contrast, and greyscale generated by halftone. The dot size defines the resolution, i.e. the sharpness of the detail, in the image. Susanne explores quantitively and qualitatively how the greyscale qualities of a silver halide photograph is transferred to the different printing techniques.

C. Parraman, F. D’Agnano, C. Mandrile, P. Goddard, N. Roberton  
Paper: The engaged surface – prints for visual sensory perception

A picture may speak a thousand words, but how might images be translated as a tactile surface? Why might this be important? In the age of screen-based media and digital reproduction, we have abundant access to images. Yet, so many images are accessed via screen or as digital prints. This paper explores how materials and surfaces feel to the touch and how these can be used for social, cultural engagement, factual information, and way-finding. We are developing materials and resources as memory aids and tactile pictures to understand, for example, the composition and pictorial narrative of a painting, the surface details of a museum artefact, or a scale version of a large building. The presentation will explore different examples of surface tactility and multi-sensory engagement.

Abigail Trujillo Vazquez
Constanza Dessain
Lockdown Chop, Wuon-Gean Ho
Angie Butler and Imi Maufe
Stephen Hoskins
Woodburytype, Susanne Klein
Comparative materials (left to right) CNC machined block, intaglio and relief print on paper, porcelain imprint, glass casting,
Cecilia Mandrile and Sonny Lightfoot
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