Kirsten Baskett

I am fascinated by the imprint or ‘emotional charge’ which prolonged and close human interaction seems to leave on an object.

We generally see this simply as patina or wear so, through multiple processes, I strive to tease it out, separate it from the object itself and distil it. Only then can I preserve it for closer study.

I begin by constructing paper sculptures of the object using materials which themselves have had a close human interaction and hopefully carry something of that ‘emotional charge’. These can include closely scrutinised engineer’s drawings or dress patterns, a writers well-thumbed draft carrying all their notes in the margins or even a lovingly curated child’s stamp collection. Highly personal items like letters or photographs can also be a source of ‘ready charged’ raw material.

Once completed, the paper sculptures are very fragile and delicate structures so I cast them in clear resin. This freezes them, suspended and floating; rather like museum exhibits or preserved scientific specimens ready for closer study.

I then photograph the sculptures and digitally manipulate the images before outputting to film. This enables me to expose a light-sensitive etching plate (photo-etching) to create an intaglio print on extremely fine, hand-made Japanese paper.

The final etching is also very delicate and fragile so, as the final step, I encase and preserve the etching in clear resin so that the print, like my sculptures, becomes frozen in time and permanently available to view. 

I love combining modern digital techniques, traditional etching and sculpture in order to push the boundaries of printmaking.