Christmas is nearly here…drying time needed!

So I am running extra linocut print club sessions for anyone who’d like to come along and make a Christmas card. Printing inks take a long time to dry so like the BBC I’ve been thinking about Christmas for a while. At least it feels like December (burrgghhhh…it’s cold outside). Anyway if you fancy coming along and trying out Print Club at Tiverton Museum, let me know. You can use my contacts page, email or phone 07932776498.

Summer sun and botanicals at No4

The work has been at No4 for nearly a month. It’s been so nice to share work with the world (or the people of Bampton – sometimes the two seem the same). The new linocuts are the result of a period of working through snow and then an unusually hot summer. Much of the cold spring was spent walking in woods with the dog looking for signs of shapes, light and seeing through layers of criss-crossing branches. The ivy works come from this. Then comes the bright and hot sun with large deciduous leaves. Ash, cherry and sycamore with blue, greens, mustards and pale pinks. Dark leaves and bold shapes, geometry and irregular lines of shredded edges, or leaves curled into each other. Leaves mass together with small and irregular holes , cuts letting through the light and suggest the sort of tree, shape of a particular plant life. Trees are majestic and I hope I’ve highlighted just a fraction of their beauty. Thanks to Bampton and thanks to the trees…


Workshops aplenty

I’ve got two workshops coming up and more planned. I My workshop this Saturday is now full but I’m running one in June that has lots of places. If you’d like me to run an adult workshop, family day or other event let me know. Printing is great for artists and enthusiasts alike. This pic is from my last family day and the links below are my fliers. You could always complete my web form too if you’re interested.

Printmaking at your venue A5


Too close…

I’ve always had a slight problem with how far away I am from an image when I’m making it compared to how far away someone will be when they stand in a room to look at it. I get absorbed in trying to realize an idea or a thought (and forget the viewer).

Moving towards and back away from pictures has always been something to do, something that changes them. Its also good to look. Just looking is sometimes the point of it, I think. I did a project once on the importance of looking, and how difficult it is. The average time that someone looks at artworks in galleries is several seconds at most. Looking requires time, patience and requires knowledge. I’m always thinking of where we are visually… what are our shared thoughts, what, how and where do we look? I’m not sure I’ve quite tapped into that yet.

Maybe just as a starter I will remember to walk away from a print half-way through making it, just to see what it looks like on the other side of the room. Sometimes its rather dispiriting but then those are also the moments of clarity, when I lose my ego and start to rethink something, explore another idea.


En plein air

Working outdoors at the moment is painful! I find myself with 10 layers and shivers that don’t seem to want to stop even when i go inside. I think of the people who have to spend more of their time outdoors than in and i know i’m too soft. Working outdoors is crucial. Many years ago i spent months working outdoors and came back to Britain able to swim in the sea just clad in a swimming costume. I could hear the sounds of birds better and could be outdoors for periods of time without discomfort. I can’t do without my wet suit now. I’m outdoors this week working with kids and they show us how to do it – keep moving. So this week i’ll be en plein air, moving and learning on the go… I’m still hoping the weather gets a bit warmer though. The above picture is from an event in January, looks nice!

Material Printing World

Materials are really important. When I first printed in Falmouth I used lovely green rollers, heavy and gel like but smooth and attractive to printing ink. Layers of ink onto paper, flat and smooth without dimple… when i left Falmouth it took me a few years of struggling with hard rubber rollers to find the green durathene ones again. Head straight to Lawrence art supplies for this and great Japanese printing paper. Japanese printing paper is great stuff. Tough as old boots but much softer and with a crazy range of textures and degrees of translucency. I struggle to tear it and tend to use my knife (which helps with registration) and it soaks up the ink enough to give a crisp finish. Not to be wasted on a bad printing day though. Inks are just as important and I like anything that is thick and sticky. Then there’s the cast iron press, the hard beech press and the soft woolen blankets. Taking time to enjoy these different textures is a constant pleasure).

There’s many things that are lovely about printing and one of them is you can’t get anything decent from Amazon (apart from good old fashioned sugar paper which i do like to print on occasionally). Shopping for printing materials can be expensive but its a far, far better world than the alternative plastic throwaway one.

Home Working

There’s something wonderful about working from home. I imagine its the kind of thing people write great tomes about. It feels like a particularly female tradition, following in the footsteps of Jane Austen and all those put upon piece workers (not all traditions are good). I did an OU degree and found the process luxuriously private. I avoided the posturing of seminars and spent most of my time working in bed with a frown (whilst also teaching full time). I’m glad to say that I came out the other end with a feeling of control over my own thoughts. An example of how the modern world, if played correctly can work to benefit all sorts.

Yet privacy isn’t what this website’s about. I rely on and enjoy the internet. I listen to art blogs and the radio. I communicate with a vast array of people online and I find out about shows and artists I like. Nevertheless how to find a public voice does worry me…but perhaps I should park that thought. Best put my head down and get some work done instead.