Discussion with Tiennick Kérével

12/01/2021 - Between two impressions

First, could you please present your activity?

I have a workshop where I give engraving lessons among other things, but also painting lessons. Regarding intaglio, I practice almost all possible classic techniques, such as etching, aquatint, drypoint, mezzotint, soft varnish techniques, sugar-lift etching... I know about all these techniques. And regarding block printing techniques, I practice wood grain and end grain. But end grain is rarer because people are not very familiar with this technique. And I also teach the burin, since I am originally a burin specialist.

What is your favorite printing technique?

I really like wood, the technique of woodcuts, and the techniques of etching combined with the drypoint and the burin.

What are your favorite products? Which one do you use frequently?

Among the Joop Stoop products, I use Moulin de Couzi papers a lot because they have a very decent price for everyday prints, and also tissue paper sheets and tarlatan.

Concerning the of inks, I buy a lot the 80 of Charbonnel, I have been using it for years. And for colors, I mainly use Joop Stoop colors.

I recently bought an aquatint cabinet in your shop that I use for my lessons, for my students, but also for my personal work.

I also use Charbonnel varnishes, the drying varnishes that I use for aquatint and then various varnish products to cover for engraving. Concerning the varnishes for engraving, I use varnish with a pad, like in the 17th century so I make a pad myself and then I use the ball varnish because it is much more resistant than others and it allows a finer work.

Why do you choose Joop Stoop products?

First of all, it is a store that I have known for a very long time and it is also convenient for me because you are in France. You deliver in 3 days, and since I often need the products quickly, there are a lot of conveniences. You know me well now so when I need something urgently, you send it to me before I pay. There is trust in the client-artist relationship.

Are there Joop Stoop’s products that you cannot find anywhere else?

Well, your inks :)

I will not hide from you that there are many other products that can be found elsewhere. But the easiest thing for me is that I know you well. There is a customer contact that I appreciate, it is nice.

On the contrary, according to you, which product is missing in our shop?

I wish I had more choice on rollers so if your line of ink rollers could expand, that would be interesting. We would like to have different styles.
For example, I would like to go back to the Hayter method which requires a hard roller and a soft roller. At your place, there are 28° shore rollers but I would like to find hard 60 ° shore rollers too to be able to play with this kind of process because I don't know where to find it.

Today, are you still surprised by engraving?

Oh yes, we discover things every day. You never finish learning, even when you master a technique, that's the point. There are always discoveries and then you can always refine the preparation of your acids to have lighter things, it is infinite, you never finish. I prepare basic acids or basic mordants but afterwards, depending on the density of the grain or depending on the preparation of the weak, medium or strong acid solution, we can obtain even different ranges of shade… Like I said, it is infinite.

And concerning the burin, there is no secret because it is a technique that either you have or you don’t. So for wood or copper, it is more about a graphic research on the use of the burin itself. We can be surprised with new research that can be done on the visual composition.

Sometimes you give classes for beginners. Do they need to have a minimum of knowledge to participate?

No, you don't necessarily have to have basic knowledge. I recently did a three-day internship with four newbies and we released some really cool stuff even though they were people who had never done engraving before.

A piece of advice for beginners who would like to start engraving?

The most important thing is to take classes and avoid going out on your own without advice because nowadays, the problem is that there are a lot of artists who do printmaking but badly and then they give advice to others.

Personally, I was trained in the 1980s by Jacques Frélaut at the Lacourière workshop in Paris. So I had this professional training, for which I got a grant from the government at the time and suddenly I was really in the job. I practiced intaglio and engraving for 20 years in my studio in Marseille before quitting because there were no more orders for prints. Then I had to re-target my workshop and convert it into an association to save it, to only do teaching. And in January I will be declared as professional training. Today, we are forced to declare ourselves as an association because the time when you could live with printmaking is over. The workshop is a bit struggling, there are not anymore orders from galleries, these days are over.