Steph Mastoris took over R&J's Instagram page from the 5th to the 10th April 2021.
DAY ONE: Monday 5th April
Over that last few years I have become interested in the words and meanings found in the Christian liturgical year. The result is an ongoing series of type-works that attempts to crystalise the meaning of each major religious festival and celebrates some of the special words and phrases used.
Passion & resurrection
DAY TWO: Tuesday 6th April
The growing interest in analogue ‘making’ during the past decade has led to a revival of letterpress printing. In my work as a museum curator I have been able to respond to this demand by organising events and workshops where visitors can get a taste of this ‘inky art’. This has evolved into more extensive work with graphic design students at Swansea College of Art and facilitating the use of a fine early iron hand-press at the National Waterfront Museum by professional artists.
My museum work and letterpress practice have, in turn, led me to be an active member of the British Printing Society, hosting practical sessions for members in my elysium studio and the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.
1 Press in use at National Waterfront Museum Swansea
2 Wanted! Poster - Children’s printing and drawing activity
3 Form & Meaning Exhibition Poster
4 Exhibition at Swansea College of Art
5 Keith Bayliss printing woodcuts at NWMS Residency
6 British Printing Society at Elysium Gallery keepsake detail (14-1-2016)
DAY THREE: Wednesday 7th April
I am very grateful for the support and encouragement I receive from being part of the elysium gallery & studios in Swansea. The images included here are part of a series of posters created for an installation in collaboration with the artist Philip Cheater titled, ‘On the Brink’. This was organised by elysium gallery in September 2018 and shown Volcano Theatre, Swansea, to coincide with Marc Rees’ performance piece, ‘Now the Hero’.
The texts are from peace messages to the world, broadcast by children of the Urdd since the 1920s, and key phrases from four war poems -Y Gododdyn, In Parenthesis and work by Hedd Wyn and (the now-forgotten poet) W G Thomas.
More recently, I contributed three pieces for the zine created as part of elysium gallery’s ‘Ways of Protest’ exhibition.
Thanks Phil Cheater, Marc Rees and Now the Hero for the original idea and commission.
On the Brink - general view
On the Brink - Poem wall explosion
On the Brink - Inside the polyhedron
On the Brink - Peace texts 1
On the Brink - Peace texts 2
Ways of Protest - Zine cover
Ways of Protest - No, No. No!
Ways of Protest - Now, Now. No!
Ways of Protest - Now Now NOW
EU poster outside Elysium, Orchard St studios Swansea
DAY FOUR: Thursday 8th April
In 2019 I was honoured to be invited by the team at Oxfam bookshop in Swansea to install permanently the Urdd peace texts above the book shelves. The texts were recycled from the ‘On the Brink’ installation at Volcano Gallery, Swansea, created as part of the Now the Hero 14-18 programme in September 2018.
I am so touched to see that my prints are still inspiring visitors to this wonderful bookshop. The fourth photo shows one definition of peace : 4 women from 2 continents singing in front of bookshelves full of Art & Science books, underneath my prints
In November 2020 I attempted to echo the Urdd texts in miniature within the miniature ‘art gallery’ on display in the window of the Bookshop. Here I reflected Oxfam’s BeHumankind messaging.
I produced the ‘Peace’ letterpress print in the run-up to Christmas 2020 as a limited edition of 12 and donated them all to Oxfam bookshop in Swansea.
Woman with Peace text
Me installing texts
General photo of ‘art gallery’
Peace, Peace, Peace
DAY FIVE: Friday 9th April
I seem to return again and again to the triptych format. It allows much lateral expression of meaning and thought. A number of themes can be explored in the triptychs, particularly the power of punctuation to adjust or completely change the emphasis of the preceding word, and the double and sometimes triple meanings of homophones and homonyms.
Triptychs are useful to amplify the meaning of a text through repetition but with differing printing techniques. They also provide interesting opportunities to investigate groups of rarely-used archaic and technical words.
In fact ‘thinking in threes’ dominates my work at present, as I find it helps to define the core of a subject and simplify communication with the viewer.
DAY SIX: Saturday 10th April
During the Covid19 pandemic I became fascinated by the new words and phrases that appeared almost every week. For the first anniversary of the UK’s lockdown, I printed a suite of twelve type-works that feature some of this new vocabulary.
Prints are for sale in the R&J online shop, priced at £95 inc p&p.
To purchase letterpress prints by Steph Mastoris, please visit our online shop.
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