Originally from the beautiful valleys of Shropshire I now reside and work in Leeds (UK) where I teach printmaking at Leeds College of Art and sell prints and other goodies through retailers and online.
How did you get started in printmaking?
I have always had a passion for all sorts of beautifully printed and designed images from ceramics, to gift wrap, to illustrations and so by the time I graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in Textiles and Surface Pattern I was hooked on producing my own printed goods. Having specialised in screen print during my degree, and subsequently accessing independent print workshops and studios learning other printmaking processes my love of printmaking was well and truly ignited. The more processes I learnt the more I loved it!
Describe where you work:
I have a small set up for relief printing at home, it's not ideal as when I'm having a big printing session it tends to take over the house with prints lying about on every surface while I'm waiting for them to dry, but it suffices. I also use open access studios when I fancy doing some screen-printing or intaglio processes which is always a lovely treat!
What's your favourite printmaking process?
It varies in terms of what I'm working on at any given time. My work tends to be quite bold and graphic in composition so I find lino and screen print to be my main processes. But every once in a while I like to produce an etching or aquatint to mix things up a bit.
What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
I tend to concentrate on designing individual elements and then place them into a composition during the printing process. Every piece tends to evolve quite organically. I use a lot of collage elements within my prints so these tend to determine where the individual elements are placed and I kind of just go from there. I try not to think about it too much and just let the composition create itself.
What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
The final stages when all your prep (be it carving out your lino block or making your screens) finally comes together and you get to see it complete for the first time. The ability to produce the same image in so many different colours is also very exciting as each different colour can alter the overall feel of the image dramatically.
What's your least favorite part of the process?
What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
I take constant inspiration from everywhere. My day job demands that I am constantly updating my artist knowledge and looking out for trends within print and pattern so I am forever seeking out things that can inspire myself and my students. A lot of my work is concerned with nature, especially birds, and is also heavily influenced by 1950's textiles which are another passion of mine. I collect books, magazine cuttings and packaging that inspire me, be it styles or colour palettes so I have lots of boxes and bookshelves full of beautiful images if I'm every experiencing a creative drought!
How do you promote your work?
I think like a lot of creatives self promotion is often put on the back burner in favour of producing more work. At the moment I just have a blog and my etsy shop but am planning on getting an up to date website running in the next year. I exhibit quite a lot and take part in craft shows when I can, I also sell through local shops in the hope that people see my stuff. I'm working on a 'marketing' pack to start sending out to companies/galleries etc. too, fingers crossed something will come from that!
Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
Get yourself a good book or sign up to a workshop and dive right in! Don't be afraid to have a go and get your hands dirty, and most of all have yourself a good time while you're doing it. Anything on top of that is a bonus!