My beginning... why I am a printmaker
Updated: Feb 10, 2019
At college, 18 years ago entering the print room for the first time I was in awe of all the machinery, it all looked so alien to me, so complex but at the same time it captured my attention, intrigued me and pulled me in… almost magical…. that’s where it all began.
Fascinated at the time by urban spaces, decay, barbed wire, peeling paint, layers and traces in the environment; themes that lent themselves well to the scratchy marks of the needle on a drypoint plate the repetition of a linocut and the expressive texture of a monoprint. I set about layering and mixing processes, the repetition was invigorating. I could play, be intuitive! These are qualities that still pepper my printmaking experiences to this very day.
It was vital the university I went to had a print room, it was top of the list. I remember walking out onto the top floor of Britannia mill, where a bright expanse of light and space met me, it was hidden away but completely worth the trek up the old cold concrete staircase. Skylights sent the sun streaming in from high above adding to the calm atmosphere where people quietly created. The smell of white spirit and oil-based inks, the hum of the exposure unit and clang of the drying racks brought the space to life.
I had an unwavering desire to learn absolutely everything I could; whilst doing my degree course I came up with every single excuse possible to enable me to get a go at as much as I could, welding, casting, sculpture, printmaking, darkroom photography to mention a few… I’m a little bit of a magpie when it comes to using different materials and processes and it was not lost on me that my time to use these techniques was very limited.
Collagraph caught my attention; it's such a sculptural process, carving out the surface, applying materials and 'inking up' was just like applying colour to a painting. Even the emboss of this intaglio process leaves an impression on the paper… again back to traces…
I am naturally a really impatient person but I relish in the time when I have to wait to see the outcome of a print. The air of mystery involved is captivating to me, much like the way I was drawn to darkroom photography. Being a printmaker I also love the accidental marks, plate tone, scratches and ‘happy accidents’ and even though I am working figuratively these are a little reminder of my earlier obsession with the urban environment.
Thanks to Green door printmaking studios I have the facilities to continue my journey into print, it was here under the guidance of Anna Johnson (a figurative printmaker whose work I admire) that I developed my routines and learnt more about non-toxic printmaking practices.
Over the last 10 years I had the opportunity to learn and practice new techniques and processes. I adore the unique qualities each one brings to the table but more than that I enjoy mixing them up to see what happens!.