First lithography stone: printed



As a first attempt at stone lithography I’m fairly pleased with the outcome. The stone turned out to be very problematic but it’s always a great learning experience when things go wrong!

Although not usually present, I chose to leave a black border that developed through the processing stage as I wanted to keep as much reference to the stoney qualities as possible within the image. The stone was old and had many cracks running through it, however I felt that the natural ‘flaws’ of the material add to the character of the imagery produced.

Print tests exploring the use of greyscale within an image

rp1bwtest   rpwb1test   rpwb2test

Screen printed images made from a series of stone rubbings I took of the inside of the old railway tunnel I have been exploring as a location. The prints took on a new dimension when I started working with white on black and I have been exploring the use of different papers (white and black) and using different layers of ink (white, black and tinted black) to create images that maintain a sense depth.


A screen print test I made onto a printed layer of blue/black.

lithoprep1   lithoprep2

Starting to prepare a lithography stone with a drawing.

The very physical process of stone litho is what attracts me the most to using it as a printing method for some of my drawings. I also want to explore the textural elements of my stone rubbings using stone litho too, as I like the idea of taking rubbings from stones and realising them using stone – an element integral to this haptic and physically engaging lithographic process.

Field Recordings and Place Research

Recent images and audio made to capture time spent in a tunnel.

I am looking at ways in which to inform and enhance visual imagery and am interested in how audio and video could be read and understood as an extension of 2D work. This research will hopefully feed into my printmaking practice, which I am also starting to explore by using new methods and technology alongside traditional techniques; finding appropriate ways in which to create emotive imagery using hybrid methodology.

Tunnel reflection1

(Audio) Field recording: Tunnel1

Month-long Arts House Exhibition opened on August 11th

I have four screen print works up at The Arts House, Bristol. They are part of “Hot off the Press”  an exclusive exhibition of print works which has been organised and curated by Holly Brown.

2013-08-11 11.01.36

Hanging the work. Photo ©Lily Urbanska


The work will be up for a month along with work by two other printmakers.

Alex Thomas



Charlotte-Olivia Lewis


Details for the venue are as follows:

The Arts House, 108A Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3RU

Opening Times

Mon-Fri: 08:00-23:00

Sat-Sun 10:00-23:00


There will be a free promotional evening on 28th August with live music. More info about this to follow…


CFPR Photogravure workshop

Another successful workshop at CFPR. Some wonderful work was made, creative juices flowed and much new knowledge gained by all. I was really lucky to have the pleasure of working with Peter assisting on his workshop.. My eyes have been opened to a whole new teaching method and printing technique, and I now can’t wait for the start of term so I can start testing it within my own work.

Here are a small selection of images taken during the week. I haven’t included much detail of the images produced for copyright reasons, however these images give a small insight into the structure of the workshop.

2013-08-02 12.27.40

A selection of work made during the week. Laid out on the final day for the students to compare, contrast and discuss.

2013-07-31 10.19.14

Print of the calibration process using a Stouffer step wedge.

2013-07-31 11.02.33

An example of a relief plate that when printed will produce a monotone effect similar to lino or woodcut but with an additional embossed quality.

2013-08-01 12.45.30

A student wiping ink from the flexo plate before printing.

2013-07-31 10.35.02

Example of the process of ink removal from the flexo plate prior to printing. The soft paper is used in the final stage to polish up the plate and remove any excess oil/marks from the clean areas.

All photos ©Lily Urbanska

Callibration prep for Photogravure workshop

A morning spent testing the equipment and exposure times for photopolymer plates in preparation for the photogravure workshop which will run next week.

2013-07-22 10.53.47

Setting up the dark room.

2013-07-22 10.53.57

Inside view of the UV exposure unit.


Density calculator. An amazing piece of 70’s kit we used to measure the blacks after printing the exposure test strips (seen here alongside the calculator).

All images ©Lily Urbanska

Water-based Screen Printing and Ceramic Transfer

Some images from the week long CFPR workshop that took place last week, led by Dave Fortune.

2013-07-18 11.19.13

Materials scatter as the drawing process gets under way.

2013-07-18 11.17.16

The ceramics drying after the screen printed transfers had been laid on, waiting to be kiln fired.

2013-07-19 15.19.30

The work after being fired at 800C for about 24hrs. Some of the colours faded – especially the magentas.

2013-07-16 15.02.02

Discussion over layout and photoshop processing.

2013-07-18 11.24.41

Ceramic tile with transfer.

2013-07-18 11.24.55

Ceramic tile with transfer.

2013-07-18 11.18.16

My own design. Bone china cup with bee motif.

2013-07-18 11.16.53

The delicate process of soaking the screen printed transfer before sliding it onto the ceramics.

All images ©Lily Urbanska

Workshop assistant at CFPR

Over the academic break I am working as an assistant for the Centre for Fine Print Research at UWE as part of their programme of summer courses. I will be shadowing the course leaders and helping to prepare and engage with the processes involved; working with and also alongside the students in order to gain knowledge and experience in the field of print research and teaching practices. The two courses I’m involved with are ‘Water-based Screen Printing  and Ceramic Transfer’ led by Dave Fortune and ‘Photogravure: An Early Photographic Printing Process with a Modern Twist’ led by Peter Moseley.

After settling back in Bristol after my return from Bergen Academy of Art and Design I was keen to not let my art practice and research slip, however due to various (ridiculous) rules regarding insurance and other such issues – students aren’t permitted to use the facilities at UWE between June and the end of September. So in order to try and get around this I spent a great deal of time applying for various internships and generally pestering until they let me come and assist with some of the workshops!

I will be posting progress updates and results from the workshops as and when they appear.

Information about the Centre for Fine Print Research and about Peter Moseley’s PhD research into Portraiture and Early Photographic Printing can be found by following the links below.

Screen printing: Stepping into the unknown…

During the past couple of years I have mostly concentrated on learning intaglio printing techniques, with occasional trials of lino cut and letterpress, however today I started to learn a new technique that falls under the guise of silk screen printing. I have been working from a photography base with much of my imagery over the past few months and there were some images that I just couldn’t seem to explore using any of my tried and tested printmaking methods to date. After seeing some of the drawing and photographic work that was being produced using silk screen methods at the KHiB Graffik department I decide that it might prove to be the technique I could use to capture the essence of my elusive images. The technique that was being used is new as far as I an make out; discovered by ‘Odd’ the print technician here and worked and re-worked before a (mostly) failsafe approach was established. I am still in the very early stages of developing this within my own work, and understand just a little of the process in relation to traditional silk screen methods, but I understand it to be silk screen printmaking with offset screens  and image manipulation in order to create a much smoother and subtler picture from four screens using a CMYK separation system. A lot of the digital preparation and programming went straight over my head to be honest, but once the practical tasks began such as cleaning, preparing and exposing the screens I began to get into the swing of things. It seems to be a process that requires an infinite amount of patience (a good exercise for me) and an open mind for mistakes and alterations to organically manifest, however there is something very reassuring in the methodical action of printing up an image layer by layer. With my first image I started by printing the magenta layer first, then came yellow followed by cyan and finally black to give the image the depth and balance it needed. I encountered similar registration problems as I have with previous intaglio techniques due to the fact that I’ve been working predominantly with circular plates/imagery, however with the screen prints I managed to more or less get them aligned using the acetate registration technique. I felt a growing sense of pride, interspersed with frustrations due to misalignment or inconsistent ink density, but in the end pride won and I am happy to present my first attempt at silk screen printing using Odd Melseth’s (yet unclassified) pioneering technique! You saw it here first!


First screen waiting to go!


 Checking paper alignment and screen tension.


 Prints after the Magenta and Yellow layers.




The finished print.

(small) Mezzotint series

“If at first you don’t succeed, try and try and try again…and then you might succeed.”

This was my mantra for about two weeks solid as I prepared and printed more mezzotint plates as a continuation of work I made during a workshop in early February. I have built up a love/hate relationship with Mezzotint, mainly due to the fact that I have found it increasingly hard to actualise any of my ideas in a way sympathetic to the medium. I love the amount of physical work that goes into preparing the plates, and especially the plates I have been using as I first had to cut and then file them into small 7cm discs before scoring each surface and after that scraping and creating an image into the surfaces. I also enjoy the minimal amount of chemicals used in Mezzotint production. Much like drypoint, preparing the plate is chemical free, and only a light use of cleaning fluids is used during the printing process. Good news for the environment, and even better news for my poor hands!  These points aside, mezzotint for me is an incredibly frustrating process; one which I find hard to control. In many cases the images I ended up producing were so far from the initial ideas that I ended up preparing the plate again and starting the image afresh. As previously mentioned it took me a good two weeks to forge some sort of bond with my mezzotint work, and even then the results I have managed are far from perfect. But at least they are the start of what I hope to be a skill that I will continue to persevere with and develop over time.

I am drawn to any exercise that involves deep concentration and commitment, and enjoy spending hours and hours working and learning a new skill to then be rewarded by the glimmer of hope that perhaps I might be getting better. After a very slow and cackhanded start I was set to give up on the process in the first few days in favour of returning to the faster pace of aquatint. However after a good deal of self motivation and old fashioned stubbornness I finally began to understand how to use the tools to my advantage and things started to slowly slip into place as far as technique was concerned. After many a day hunched over these tiny prints and a lot of testing and proofing, I have finally got a small series of four prints that I am happy enough to consider keeping, and hope to continue and expand upon this series in the coming weeks.

IMG_0754 IMG_0753 IMG_0752



Mezzotint on 7cm diameter copper plates. ©Lily C Urbanska