I feel like a bit of a groupie writing this post! Ink’d Gallery, in Brighton’s North Laine, hosted a workshop with one of my favourite artists, Carne Griffiths, a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been a fan of Carne’s for a couple of years now, since I first browsed through Ink’d Gallery’s beautiful collection of prints and coming across some of his postcards. I was immediately hooked.
Carne Griffiths’ work was like no other I had seen. Dynamic, expressive, emotional. Beautiful. When I saw Ink’d were hosting a workshop in September with him, how could I resist?
About Carne Griffiths
Originally from Liverpool, Griffiths graduated from the Kent Institute of Art and Design in Maidstone in 1995. After completing a one-year KIAD fellowship and moving to London he served an apprenticeship at the longest-established gold wire embroidery firm in the world. He worked as a gold wire embroidery designer for twelve years, eventually becoming the creative director. Carne produced intricate designs for the military and the film, theatre, fashion and advertising industries. Motif and imagery that seems to inform much of his work today.
Working primarily with calligraphy inks, graphite and liquids, such as tea, brandy and vodka Griffiths’ fascination with drawing focuses on the creation and manipulation of the drawn line. Images explore human, geometric and floral forms, in a combination of both literal and abstract translation and in response to images and situations encountered in daily life.
Creating a Painting with Ink & Alcohol
It was only a couple of hours, but the workshop was a real eye opener into Carne’s process. He demonstrated how he tackles a blank canvas. With music playing in the background and talking to us about his process while he painted, it was quite wonderful watching his artwork come to life before our eyes.
He worked quickly and intuitively. Making marks, first with a fountain pen, then moving onto create his familiar liquid spatters with tea and ink…then waiting….watching shapes and marks come to life.
Then Carne would add more. Maybe adding more spatters and marks; using alcohol to disperse the liquid. Waiting and watching again… It was a fascinating process to watch. The image below shows a detail from the artwork he produced at the workshop.
What surprised me was the many types of tea he used! I don’t want to give too much away but rosehip was one of my favourites 😉
After his demo, eagerly, about 8 students set to work, creating our own mini ‘Carne’ artwork. We used lovely heavy watercolour stock (St Cuthberts Mill/Bockingford I believe), a stack of pens, calligraphy inks, graphite markers, tea, brandy and vodka. Again, sorry to sound like a groupie but…it was so cool!
Of course no two people’s work was the same. I love taking part in workshops, because although we all learn the same techniques, you can’t help but create your own unique version. Your own artistic voice shines through.
And my version? Well the first became a muddy mess! The second was a little more hesitant and cautious. The thrid was just pure fun. Importantly it reminded me how much I like painting. Dripping, spreading, brushing, spattering. I loved it.
Since the workshop I’ve continued to experiment. There’s nothing to show you quite yet, but I have some ideas up my sleeve for future projects. Follow me on Instagram, and you’ll see a few little experiments with flowers and inky backgrounds. The one you see above uses the inky splatters I created at this workshop.
I highly recommend you check out Carne’s work if you’re not familiar with it. He is really active on social media too, so it’s easy to see what he has been up to. Check out his Facebook & Twitter. Or purchase his work on Etsy.
FYI Carne Griffiths will be showing his work with Ink’d Gallery at the Moniker Art Fair 2014 this week, 16th-19th October.
He’ll also being showing the amazing ‘Acceptance’ (above) at the RCA Art For Youth exhibition this week, 15th & 16th October.
I just like to say, thank you to Carne for being so open and generous with his knowledge and artistic process. It was a truly inspirational morning. And to Ink’d Gallery for running the workshop and providing the chocolate biscuits. Also to Carne’s Dad, who patiently waited whilst I was nattering on!
If you want to see more, I’ve put a few extra photos of the workshop over on my Facebook page. Pop over and say hi. In the meantime, have a lovely day everybody.