A celebratory commemorative print suite.

We will be creating a powerful suite of ten prints using copper plates, each one of the ten images inspired by the Cornish Mining heritage and our tour through the ten areas that make up the World Heritage Site. One of the suites will be presented to the Cornish & Devon Mining World Heritage Site in a specially made presentation box. The remainder of the edition will be available for anyone to purchase singly or as a full suite of ten and will be available from September 2016.

Copper has a special interest for artists, it has very desirable properties that lend it to the production of fine etchings and in our case it is a very appropriate vehicle for our images. Copper plates are etched by various means with an image. Ink is then forced into the etched lines and wiped clean from the surface. The plate and paper are then passed through a printing press under pressure so that the ink and therefore the image is transferred onto paper.

Etched copper plate [foreground] and resultant print. Courtesy of John Howard
We know from past experience that our tour across the region will give ris
e to a wealth of surprising, imaginative and iconic images. From these we will choose ten images that will be made into copper etchings; each plate will be printed ten times which will give us a total of ten suites of ten prints each. These images might have been made by anyone taking part in the workshops – by children, students, adults, established artists. Printed by the finest printmakers in the region on copper from local workshops, these unique artworks will be used to disseminate the themes inherent in Cornish mining to be spread far and wide. From underground labyrinth to desolate skyline, machinery and building, the work clothes and tools; food, fields, houses, chapels, banks, steam, train and harbour, the minerals and the escarpments in the valleys. We know that these prints will be framed and housed in schools, boardrooms, libraries, homes, museums and shops. We thought it Copper plate [foreground] and resulting print. Courtesy John Howard would also be interesting to experiment and compare the respective qualities of tin and copper plates for etching.

Some examples of how these etchings may arise;

We work with children of all ages and their responses to the mines will provide a fresh visual language; working with master printmakers and with the finest materials, we can bring their vision to life. We could select up to three of their images.
At present, we are working with several students from Falmouth University who are are already engaged with mining heritage through their work. Zoe Pearce has made a commemorative bronze medal of Geevor tin mine, awarded second prize in national competition, with the British Museum wanting to work with her further. Nicola Kerslake is making kinetic constructions to be sited within the mining areas that will record wind movements onto copper plates. Jo Clarkson has made a casting in tin of plants from her home valley in Wendron, and she would welcome the chance to work with us in each site make castings of relevant forms.   It is our intention to offer other students the opportunity to respond to this remarkable opportunity and work within the context of the mines.
As curators and artists ourselves, we are in touch with a thorough network of artists working in the region and indeed those beyond that are interested in the themes of mining. We will be inviting such artists to respond and collaborate with our project. We are considering how sculptors , photographers or makers could translate their ideas into a print edition. For example, we might ask artist James Hankey to make a time lapse photograph on a 10 x 8” field camera that we can process into a copper etching.
From our previous experience, all kinds of visitors can provide memorable images. We anticipate commissioning at least one or two print editions from people without any previous art experience. We would greatly welcome contributions from elderly visitors, for example, who would have memories of a time when active mining was still a part of Cornish life and could bring their perspective on the locations to the project.