CALLY TRENCH

The Fourteen Stages of Birdhood (2023)

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Cally Trench's linocuts


Growing older: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Growing older
Signed linocut print, edition of 20
from The Fourteen Stages of Birdhood (2023)

These fourteen linocut prints show different stages in a Bird's life from hatching to decomposing after death.

The complete suite of fourteen prints was shown in In The Likeness of Birds, an exhibition with Annie Rapstoff and Monika Tobel at The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford, July 2023.
Six of the prints are being shown in Animal Magic at the Spencer House Gallery, Tetbury, November 2023 - January 2024: Hatching, Chick, Bathing, Strolling, Singing, and Growing older.

Monika Tobel has written about Cally Trench's The Fourteen Stages of Birdhood. This piece of writing was first published in In The Likeness of Birds: Writings by and about Annie Rapstoff, Monika Tobel and Cally Trench, to accompany an exhibition at The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford, 2023.

Hatching: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Hatching

Chick: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Chick

The prints are a kind of autobiography for the Bird, encouraging us to empathise as we watch her progress through her short life. The Bird is based on observation and fellow-feeling. For example, Landing is based on my recollection of a long jump in school athletics, and Bathing reflects my observation of the bird bath in my garden. The Bird is not intended to be an accurate ornithological representation of any particular species of bird.

Bathing: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Bathing

Strolling: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Strolling

The prints are influenced by the 18th-century wood engravings of Thomas Bewick, folk prints, the fourteen Stations of the Cross, and Hogarth's eight-part The Rake's Progress, published in print form in 1735, which has been described as the 'ancestor to the storyboard'.

Flying: Linocut by Cally Trench



Cally Trench, Flying

Eating: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Eating

The complete suite of prints is:

Hatching / Chick / Bathing / Strolling / Flying / Eating / Landing / Singing / Building a nest / Mating / Feeding the chicks / Growing older / Dead / Decomposing

Landing: Linocut by Cally Trench



Cally Trench, Landing

Singing: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Singing

The prints are in editions of 20, hand-printed in black ink on Clairefontaine Simili Japon ivory paper, with the birds' eyes hand-painted in acrylic. The paper size is 32 x 24 cm.

Building a nest: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Building a nest

Mating: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Mating

Because they are printed by hand and hand-finished, there is variation in the texture and tone of the prints, which I welcome because it makes each print unique. There is no 'perfect' print.

Feeding the chicks: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Feeding the chicks

Growing older: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Growing older

Every print is signed, titled and numbered in pencil, and stamped with my monogram mark in puce archival ink.

Dead: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Dead

Decomposing: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Decomposing


Cally Trench: monogram chop mark


A fifteenth print, Dancing, was made as part of a special suite of bird-related linocut prints for an exhibition of work by Annie Rapstoff, Monika Tobel and Cally Trench, In The Likeness Of Birds, at The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford in July 2023. This print is also in an edition of 20, but hand-printed on white (rather than ivory) Clairefontaine Simili Japon paper.

Dancing: Linocut by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Dancing


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