As you may have seen in the local press, Hadrian’s Wall is having a big birthday this year. It’s 1900 years old! To celebrate there are lots of events happening around Northumberland. The one that is relevant to the Hearth is a project to commission a collection of new handmade prints by Northern printmakers, with each artist creating a new work connected to a different place along the length of the Wall.
Our Hearth artist Cathy Duncan is taking part, and is in the process of making her prints right now. She is depicting Corbridge Roman Fort in a linocut. Of course she is doing it in a studio at The Hearth, also very close to the line of the Wall!
Making linoprints with several colours means thinking of each colour separately, and printing them separately in succession. Cathy has to cut away the Lino until she has the basic shapes that she wants to print using the first colour. Then she inks up that image and makes all the prints of that colour. Then the lino has to be cut away some more to make the image she wants for the second colour and so on. Sometimes Cathy uses more than one lino plate. There is a lot of care and precision involved. It’s called reduction printing because you keep cutting away and there’s less and less of the Lino left as you go on!
Our previous administrator Jo Bourne is also a printmaker taking part in the project, and she has made an amazing print showing the temple of Antenociticus in Benwell. It’s a woodcut using four carved wood plates, in 11 colours, and is beautiful. See her work on her Instagram jobourneprint.
You can see all the 61 finished prints in an exhibition, 80 Roman miles of Wall, at Northern Print in the Ouseburn during August and September. This is perfectly fitting as the line of the Roman Wall runs along Shields Road and New Bridge Street in Newcastle, passing through the Ouseburn Valley and somewhere along or near Stepney Bank right by Northern Print. The Wall still shapes our lives even after 1900 years!