Ella Cole, who works as the archivist at the Trust carefully cataloguing Dave's work, invited Alan Birch to come over today to the studio to take a look at the etching and drypoint plates that have been salvaged from the work left on Dave's death.
Alan is a superb print-maker and teacher himself, well known locally for his wryly witty print-making. Ella wanted to find out if Alan would be interested in resurrecting any of Dave's plates to make some new editions.
Dave made a lot prints, especially during the 1960s and 70s but, rather typically, once he had taken a proof or two he moved on to the next thing. So although we have a number of prints in the collection they are mostly scrappy and damaged. Dave never got into the habit of running an edition from his plates, or even taken real care of the prints he made.
We wondered if Alan felt it would be possible to make new editions from any of the surviving plates, and if so, was it worth it and would he be interested in helping us.
In the end Alan and Ella found around 50 plates, many very large, that Alan felt would be worth resurrecting:
Some of the plates were done using an unusual technique, possibly invented by Dave, of gluing metal onto metal to create 'relief prints'. I remember that the print technicians at Manchester Art College hated these as they easily damaged the expensive felt blankets used in the etching process:
There are also some lovely large steel plates that should make really great prints. Alan offered to help with all of this but we could see that it's a big job, that will probably take a good number of weeks' work to complete. Funds will need to be raised to get this done, but we all felt the results could be very special indeed, and we should start the process of getting art galleries with a special interest in print involved with the project.