I’ve dabbled with printmaking in the past and want to do more. However it’s sadly out of bounds for a while. It’s a messy old business that takes quite a lot of space. You need room for inking, printing itself and drying the pictures. With only a tiny Belfast sink stuck in an unlit corner of the kitchen and a cluttered house it’s too chaotic. So I’m going to wait to resume printing until we’ve done our downstairs refit. There’ll be provision for crafting as more workspace and better access to a water source is planned. Now lino cutting is my favourite printing medium. But I thought that I would share my octopus print which was produced in an entirely different way.

He’s carved on those polystyrene plates that supermarkets pizzas come on. At least they used to. It’s been so long since we had a shop bought pizza that I’m not sure if they’ve changed the packaging to something a bit more environmentally friendly. Let’s hope so. However when I get back to printing I can still play with this technique. After I printed my octopus loads of friends enthusiastically gave me stacks of those polystyrene discs. They were left on my desk at work and in my porch. I’ve got enough to experiment with for years and years. I’ve also got a dustbin bag full of plastic lids that they gave me. They are for an entirely different crafting project that’s on the back burner. But that’s another story.

No special tools were needed to make the marks. I used things that were to hand in the kitchen: skewers, spoon handles, the end of a metal drinking straws. Some of the bubbly effect was intentional but some of it was due to the texture of the polystyrene. The medium itself enhanced the sea theme.

Now loads of my friends were captivated by my picture and begged for an octopus print of their own. I obliged and even donated one to an charity art auction at the pub. I think that it raised the princely sum of about £20. Every little helps! But in the end I had more requests than I could meet. For the problem was that the polystyrene degenerated after a while. My print edition was limited by the material used.

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  1. He is lovely… I keep seeing art techniques I’d like to try…one day!! There was a guy selling lovely lino prints in Scarborough when we were there. I wish we’d gone back to buy the two mackerel one. It wasn’t very expensive…But we didn’t.

    • I’m minded to do a mackerel when I’m up and running again. I’ll send you one but it will be a while. I think that the kitchen is due for refitting in 2024!

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