Christine Amber Stangroom
Originally a sketcher and painter in oils, I explored various media studying Fine Art at the University of Derby. I still love variety in my creativity. Along with oil painting, screen printing and mixed media, I resumed etching, which I had first tried as traditional line etching in 1998. I produced photo etchings from my own photography, being taught this more environmentally friendly technique by Anna Johnson.
Since then much of my work has addressed presence in absence, traces, spirit of place, nostalgia and memories. The representation of a person and/or their memories, by an object, a place or a building, is a device I use repeatedly. I utilise many different printmaking techniques, the less toxic the better.
'Love Birds' shows the shoe of a dear friend, but which dates from her teens before I knew her. She had decorated the pair of shoes, making them unique illustrated personal items. The shoe is the garment which really retains the imprint of the wearer, so it is often presumed to contain the 'essence' of that person. This particularly loved shoe bears many happy little 'paintings' but the angle of my photograph highlights the pair of love birds. To the owner a shoe means something, there are often stories and memories associated with it. To others it is usually just an old shoe.
My photoetching, with the shoe filling the frame, aims to give the shoe importance, making it an object to look at and to consider. It is part of a series of work called 'Footprints'.
About eighteen years ago I began to experiment with pigmented encaustic waxes. My experiments included painting wax with an iron onto encaustic card, applying the wax to aluminium and printing from these, making small tiles with wax and photographing details with a macro lens, then projecting these onto 3 metre square moving muslin (as part of an audiovisual olefactory installation) and making a series of large vibrant encaustic monotypes using a heated tray, depicting precious stones used in gem therapy.
Having made regular collagraphs for some time, and recalling my earlier experiments on aluminium, I saw online the work of Elise Wagner in the USA. It inspired me to try encaustic collagraphs (which I prefer to call wax collagraphs).
The 'Untitled' print is my first pull from a wax collagraph plate made on 'Encausticbord'. It is, as is most of my wax work, essentially abstract. To me it evokes the feeling of being in a woodland, down among the tree roots, but who knows what others might see in it? Painting with wax instinctively is uniquely therapeutic. Listening to music whilst working enhances this. Making printing plates with wax can be equally enjoyable. This particular plate was made with an iron. Plates can also be worked on by scribing, scraping, drizzling from a tjanting tool, but I wanted to keep my first attempt simple and relive the feeling of first manipulating molten wax with an iron.