• The Physicality of Print

Brown, Steve Royston, 2010, Thesis, The Physicality of Print PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

Printmaking within the applied arts is an extremely diverse practice that can
extend the concept of what a print can be. Rather than the dissemination of
published images and text, in this context printed information is transformed
into objects and materials, ceramics, textiles, tableware, clothing. Prints such
as these are not ʻreproductionʼ they are ʻproductionʼ.Process is crucial to both
printmaking and the applied arts and the determining aspect of production
plays a vital part in defining the qualities of a work such as print-decorated
ceramic objects. To work with a printmaking process in this sector requires
interpretation, predictive foresight and a degree of ʻthinking-through-makingʼ
to transpose an image into the physical world of materials and objects.
Printmaking, specifically within the ceramic discipline, is often plagued by
issues of integrity brought about by problems relating to ʻdivisionʼ, these
issues include: -

- The physical divisions between image and object
- The divided tasks in production that can disrupt thinking and making
- A division of perceptions surrounding the surface/form relationship that
considers the surface as supplementary or artificial
Commercial production has developed approaches and techniques to
integrate surface and form, combat these negative perceptions and raise the
value of this type of work. These methods are not, however, always
appropriate or accessible to individual ceramist-printmakers working in the
studio. How can this sector overcome these negative factors and adopt
strategies that invest some value of visual integrity within production?
The research project answers this question in two ways: A low-tech,
accessible method was developed in the studio with the aim to offer a new
practical approach that physically integrates complex ceramic forms with the
printed image. The aim was to facilitate this unity at an early ʻraw-clayʼ stage,
where the combined manipulation of surface and form can take place
together, resulting in an aesthetic that has ʻvisual integrityʼ. The second aim of
the research has been to identify the inherent qualities of working and thinking
ʻwithinʼ the language of ceramics and print materials and processes.
ʻSyntacticʼ qualities and factors have been determined through research into
historical innovations and the observation of current commercial practice in
the field of screenprinting and screenprinted ceramics. This has helped to
establish approaches to overcome negative factors relating to the perception
of division, and invest integrity in the work through principled approaches to

The project adopts a methodology of ʻthinking-through-makingʼ where iterative
studio experimentation is undertaken through tacit understanding, gained from
experiential knowledge combined with research of contemporary and
historical precedents. This approach is reflected upon and informed by writers
who discuss working within the inherent language of printmaking.
The research contributes to the advancement of knowledge through the
development of a new versatile technique that can be easily accessed by
ceramists and printmakers who wish to produce integrated ceramics and print
works. This contributes to the advancement of technology, perception and
knowledge in the field of printed ceramic objects. My approach and the
development of a value system also offers a tool to further the critical

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art > W140 Printmaking
Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts > W750 Clay and Stone Crafts
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2012 14:34
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:44
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1134
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