Otters have been sighted in the River Usk, in the valley where I have my studio space, for several years now. I’ve only been lucky enough to catch brief glimpses out of the corner of an eye. I’ve heard stories in past years of them swimming under the bridge in Crickhowell(Wales) and keeping people in the beer garden entertained.
A friend, Dutch, a keen photographer and fisherman was lucky enough to get some good pictures while out fishing one day and was kind enough to let me use them for some of my source material. One time, a pair entered the river while he was waist deep fly fishing and started playing. One suddenly stopped and swam right up to him, circled him then rolled and dived under. How lucky!
So I’ve been developing this idea of an otter print for a while. The otter has wriggled and spun itself into so many different positions in the composition! I hope I’ve finally captured something ‘otterish’……’ottery’?
I like playing with the in water/out of water/reflection thing, trying not to get too tied up with reality and looking for a bit of poetry in things. Not always the easiest thing to do when working with a complicated process as well.
I use a cast iron book press to print, this is the largest size of paper that I can fit, 42cm wide. I have to hand finish/burnish the first one or two layers of the reduction print because of the greater printing surface area. By the time I get to the last and darkest printing I have to be careful not to apply too much pressure.
I’ve posted a number of pictures to show the design and printing process.
The small circles are cut with a cordless drill and a small woodworking bit. You have to be careful not to put pressure on the drill otherwise a raised edge forms around the circle.