My article: Make your own Christmas: Nick Morley’s potato print wrapping paper appears in today’s Guardian ‘Do Something’ magazine. When the Guardian asked me to do an article on potato printing I of course said yes but I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I hadn’t used the lowly spud to make prints since primary school and although it’s a close relation of linocut I knew it would be a learning curve.
I started with some research on youtube, the fount of all knowledge. As you might expect, there are very few high level potato printers out there and most of the videos were by enthusiastic amateurs. The most useful info I managed to glean was that you should apply the paint or ink with a brush, not a roller.
With the help of Ella, my Hello Print Studio intern, I did some test prints, using a variety of inks. As well as regular white potatoes we tried using sweet potatoes but quickly abandoned them as they didn’t cut in half cleanly. It turned out that acrylic paint made the best prints and that you don’t need much paint at all. Laying the paper on a towel before printing makes a cushion which compensates for any unevenness in the cut surface of the potato.
To find out what else I learned, you can read the finished article on the Guardian website. Below are some of the photos I took along the way.
If you’d like to have a go, I’m running a potato printing workshop on Tuesday 16 December at Material Gallery in London. Visit www.materialmaterial.com for more info and how to book.