The Importance of Proofing in Printmaking

Merlyn Chesterman has worked as a printmaker for the last twenty years. She began her career, as many do, at West Dean under the tutelage of Colin and Carol Walklin who had by then 100 years of experience between them.

Six years ago Merlyn brought together a group of professional printmakers from across the UK to form a collective group, Pine Feroda, who collaborate to make large scale woodcuts (85cms x 125 cms), which would be difficult to make alone.

Student's attending Merlyn's latest course at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, 'Atmostpheric Woodcuts', were shown a film just made about Pine Feroda by Martin Kemp of Togetherland. This film shows the lengthy process of producing a successful print and includes images of a print as it is resolved through proofing.

After students chose a subject that focussed on atmosphere, they then cut their blocks. Merlyn then encouraged them to proof their blocks at least twenty times exploring different colours, tones, transparency and papers.

Looking at this group of proofs they might begin to see one that is nearing a result that matched their expectations.

The next challenge is to learn to repeat this!

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‘I have come away with a much deeper knowledge of the whole woodblock printing process. Merlyn demonstrated through her work the importance of proofing and how using differing colour combinations can have a dramatic effect on a final print.  I cannot recommend this course enough to anyone interested in woodblock printing.’

Student feedback

Reviewing proofs
Sarah Johns, woodcut blocks

Study with Merlyn Chesterman

Merlyn’s next course at West Dean will be 'Water in Woodcuts' which takes place in February 2020. More information is available here.

 

Pine Feroda

Three professional print makers come together in North Devon to create Pine Feroda - a unique artistic collaboration that specialises in producing dramatic, large scale wood cut prints of the sea and mountains. 

Watch the video