Traverse V Photopolymer intaglio print and etching
The Isle of Skye lies off the north west coast of mainland Scotland, part of the Inner Hebrides. The Black Cuillin is a range of mountains in the south of the island – a caldera, the jagged remnants of an ancient volcano.
In May 2014 I made a two-day traverse of the Cuillin ridge with a damp overnight bivvy in a cave below Sgurr Alasdair, the highest of the many Munros on the route.
With me on this journey I took a grounded copper printing plate, carried in a plastic bag in my rucksack: in the bag I put two pieces of rock picked up at the beginning of the initial ascent, gabbro and basalt, which make up the majority of the ridge. They scratched through the wax ground of the plate as I walked, scrambled and climbed for two days, and the marks created were later deeply etched into the plate with nitric acid. This “Traverse Plate” was printed, embossed, and integrated into a multi-plate developmental series of photopolymer intaglio prints, based on a photographic image taken at a point of exhaustion towards the end of the second day. Thus the series incorporates an embodiment of the physical experience of moving along the 12 kilometres of the ridge.
Traverse I-V in itself is an exploratory excursion out of its own printing system and a diversion away from pure reproduction of a photographic image. The series was made as part of a research project at the University of the Arts London.