For this first print I was drawn to the rhythms of the barbed wire surrounding the bird in song. I felt this was a very striking image evocative of the plight of the yellowhammer : the impact of industrialisation and how that had negatively impacted on this particular species of birds.
From a technical point of view, I also thought that it could work well as a collagraph: incorporating wire and wood glue to produce interesting lines.
I produced a number of studies in my sketchbook:
To me these were not quite working and to my mind weren’t representational of the theme of hauntology. I decided to create a more ghostly impression signifying absence by having the bird be white. This worked more satisfactorily.
Initially I thought intaglio would probably work better on this image, but the scale that I could work meant that it would be too fiddly and not practical for my first attempt. I needed to work larger until I got used to the processes involved. So I decided I would use two plates printed in relief. One to have the shape of the bird cut out for the white area, and the next additive surfaces for the wire.
I was reasonably pleased with the plates, but the resultant prints were not at all successful. The white was too contrasting against the coloured background, the textured background was printing messily plus the shape of the bird was not working. I decided to put this down to experience and move onto another version, rather than spending time on refining colours etc. as I could tell it was unredeemable.