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I was born in 1964 and brought up in Liverpool. I have BFA and MA degrees in Fine Art from Oxford University, a Postgraduate Diploma in Printmaking from Central School of Art, London, and in 2018 was elected an Honorary Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford University, for ‘distinction in the world of art’. I exhibit my wood engravings, linocuts and printed collages widely, have won 40 national and international awards (including a Rome Scholarship in Printmaking; a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award, USA; and an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award, Montreal, Canada) and have works in public and private collections worldwide. The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, have each purchased significant holdings of my works. Over 30 solo shows include two major museum retrospectives at the Ashmolean (1998) and the Whitworth (2008) respectively: each toured UK museums for two years. I had an earlier retrospective at Moscow’s Ex Libris Museum, Russia (1995); and solo exhibitions at the Holburne Museum, Bath (2017) and Gainsborough’s House Museum, Suffolk (2018). I am author of four printmaking and drawing books and was editor of Printmaking Today magazine from 1998-2013. I am only the third wood engraver ever elected to membership of the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in its 250-year history. I live and work in London.


Last year, I was approached by Westmorland and Parker Harris to sit on the selection panel for a new open art prize: the Westmorland Landscape Prize. The Prize, which is open to all UK-based artists working in any media, aims to stimulate thinking and debate about the way in which we exist alongside, as part of, or sometimes in spite of our landscape. The deadline for submissions in on 17 June and artists will be notified of the results on 28 June: between these two dates, myself and my fellow panellists – Cherie Frederico, Editor of Aesthetica Magazine, and Hazel Stone, Arts Development Manager at Forestry England – will be judging the artwork submitted…


Describe your printmaking process.

I make wood engravings, linocuts, lithographs, monotypes and mixed-media printed collages. I also occasionally make digital prints that are printed either as lithographs or as laser-cuts. My primary printmaking process is, however, wood engraving on end-grain, polished boxwood blocks using fine tools (like copper engravers’ tools) which come to very sharp points so as to cut really clean, crisp lines and marks into the blocks of wood. Boxwood is extremely slow growing so the wood is very hard, but it cuts very easily and cleanly and doesn’t wear out with the pressure of repeated printings. I start out making drawings in small A6-size sketchbooks and I also take photographs for reference. I draw up a chosen image onto a wood block and engrave it with a range of different tools - each of which has a slightly different shape or size of cutting tip so I can make broader or finer marks and lines and marks of assorted different shapes and sizes. When the engraving is complete, I ink up the surface (the engraved marks print as the white of the paper - it is the uncut parts of the block which are inked and printed) and print the block onto fine printing paper using my cast-iron Albion relief printing press which was made in 1859 and is still printing perfectly today.


How and where did you learn to print?

I was taught a wide range of printmaking techniques as part of my Fine Art degree at Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University and I developed them further at Central School of Art and Design in London. But printmaking is an ongoing process of learning so I feel I learn something new about it with every new print I make.


Why printmaking?

When I was a child (age six months until 18 years) I spent about 5 years of my life over different periods of weeks and months in hospital, having a lot of surgical procedures to try to fix a developmental abnormality of one of my hips. I spent a lot of that time drawing anything and everything that I could see from my hospital bed: other patients, bowls of fruit, light bulbs, my own hands and feet etc etc. The work was, of necessity, in small sketchbooks and single sheets of paper and was mostly in pencil or biro. Because I had a lot of time to occupy, my drawings got more and more intense and detailed - and were all in black/grey on white paper. When I started at art school, I knew virtually nothing about printmaking but had a portfolio of very detailed pencil and pen drawings! A tutor in the printmaking department introduced me to wood engraving thinking that it would give me a medium in which I could continue to lavish lots of time and attention to detail but it would have several advantages, long term, over a specialism in drawing in more conventional media, namely:

a) The different tools facilitate the making of a much broader and more interesting range of intricate marks than does a pencil or pen nib.

b) If you ink up a wood engraving block in black ink, without cutting any image, when you print it you will get a solid black shape. So, unlike working with pen on paper, an engraving starts from an idea of an image in darkness being brought out into the light, rather than applying a dark mark to white paper. Everything you engrave on the block will print as the white parts of the image and everything you leave uncut produces the black or coloured areas. As my drawings tended to have an interest in strong contrasts of light and dark - with a lot of darkness in them, wood engraving offered a more logical way to work as the ‘darkness’ is already provided with the uncut block and there is something very beautiful and very thrilling about creating an image in light out of that darkness.

c) Because you can print an edition from a wood block, the medium offered me the potential to continue to spend a lot of hours working on an image in huge detail and intensity, but, ultimately, I’d be able to print an edition from the block and thus have the potential to sell each print at an affordable price for the buyer, relative to the time I’d spent working on it, whereas, if I continued to specialise in very detailed one-off drawings - each drawing could become impossibly expensive to the potential buyer if I charged for, say, 6 weeks of my time spent making it. With an editioned print, that 6 weeks of time gets spread over each print in the edition so that each print is a much more affordable proposition in selling terms.

These same factors apply to my linocutting and other print techniques. My collages, however, arose out of a need and desire to work through ideas more swiftly than is possible with engravings - and to experiment with different surfaces, materials, colours, and to create compositions that were more invented and fantastical than the more specific ‘real place’ subjects of my engravings.


Where do you work?

I work in my home/studios in Hackney, East London. I have one studio where I make my engravings and another in which I print them. 


Describe a typical day in your studio.

There isn’t really a ‘typical day’ in my studio. Most days will usually involve correspondence - emails and admin of various sorts that sometimes takes over the day entirely. On engraving days, I like to spend whole days working on a block with as few distractions as possible - other than Radio 4 keeping me company in the background. Printing days are different again as they’re in a different studio in my house and I like to print to music with a decent beat - ‘I am Kloot’ or David Bowie for instance - as it helps to print to the rhythm of music.


How long have you been printmaking?

For 35 years - since first getting hooked on printmaking at art school in 1984.


What inspires you?

My ongoing theme since schooldays has been ‘metamorphosis’ in one form or another. I took a Latin A level and was very into Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses' which certainly influenced my art and there are any number of great artists who have made images of Ovid’s subject matter - all of which I was very keen on when I was at school and university. My subject matter then tended to be portraits of my friends that were subjected to metamorphoses in various ways. After a postgrad. course, following my degree, I got a Rome Scholarship in Printmaking which enabled me to spend a year living and working at the British School in Rome. There I got very interested in Italian architecture - partly because of the theatricality of it and the way Italian light creates fantastic dramatic shadows and much stronger tonal contrasts than English light. That Italian light is great for engraving! I also was fascinated by the layers and centuries of history in Italian architecture - from Etruscan tombs through to Roman remains, mediaeval colonnades, High Renaissance and Baroque church spires and modern apartments - all co-existing in the same contemporary time frame. It was a kind of compressed metamorphosis all in plain sight. I also got very interested in the aspirational qualities of tower-building in ancient Rome and medieval Italy - and that sparked an ongoing interest in the idea of the Tower of Babel from the bible and what that story expresses about human aspirations and desires. These all remain ongoing concerns in my work.

Many other artists’ works have influenced me. The key ones are (early Renaissance Flemish/Dutch): Bosch, Bruegel, Van Eyck, Memling. Early Renaissance Italian: Giotto, Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico. High Renaissance: Da Vinci, Bellini. French Impressionist: Monet (in particular the changing images of Rouen cathedral in different lights). Italian 18th century architect/engraver: Piranesi. 20th century wood engravers: Edward Wadsworth, Gertrude Hermes, Paul Nash and many others.

There is also much autobiographical content in my work in the sense that the scale and intensity of my work has been fashioned to a large extent by my walking disability and the time spent in hospital. The idea of metamorphosis I suspect stems from a teenage psychological desire to be able to change myself and to cure my physical abnormality. That wasn’t possible of course, and is not something I’ve ever lost sleep over - it’s not something that I worry about, but I guess that, deep down, the metamorphosing ideas do stem from a sense of wanting to take flight from my own physical limitations and to explore other worlds of the imagination. The flights of fantasy, even if not directed at self-portraiture in metamorphosing terms, are something I’ve always felt very moved by so, I guess, in that sense, it is autobiographical. The places I make engravings of are always places I’ve been to as I have to feel I have some sense of intimacy with a place before I feel comfortable about depicting it. In earlier works, the portraits I made were always of friends or family.



What is your favourite printmaking product?

I love the boxwood blocks that I engrave - especially the round ones that still have the bark of the tree attached. It’s a wonderful feeling to work on this organic product. I also love my engraving tools - most of which I have bought second-hand. It’s very special to work with equipment that has been loved and cared for by other practitioners over many decades. The same applies to my printing press to which I’m also strongly attached!


What have you made that you are most proud of?

I have different favourite pieces at different times because you always hope that, with every piece you make, you want the one you’re working on to be the best thing you have ever made! So it’s hard to pin it down to just one work. But I did make a series of five Babel Tower printed collages in 2005 which were bought by the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester for its permanent collection. I am still very proud of those as they were particularly ambitious in scale and concept and took a circular format which has influenced the more recent work I’m making now.


Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I show with Long & Ryle Gallery, Pimlico, London www.longandryle.com which is showing my work at the London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, from 25-28 April 2019. I am also a selector for this year’s RA Summer Exhibition in which I’ll also be showing 6 of my own latest works (June - August 2019) www.royalacademy.org.uk. You can also see virtually everything I’ve ever made on my new website: www.annedesmet.com


What will we be seeing from you next?

In 2016, the RA published a facsimile sketchbook entitled ‘Anne Desmet - An Italian Journey’. This comprised over 120 pages of my Italian drawings from 4 sketchbooks spanning some 25 years reproduced at actual size (a little smaller than A6). This autumn the RA will publish a follow-up book of my drawings of the Greek Islands from 1984, 1985 and 2018. The book will be called ‘Anne Desmet - A Greek Journey’ and will be launched with a small exhibition of Greece-inspired collages later this year. I am also curating a significant exhibition for the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Entitled ’Scene through Wood - A Century of Wood Engraving’, it will show some 100 fine engravings from c.1920 - 2020 from the Ashmolean and private collections. It will open on 27th March 2020 until July 2020 and will include a selection of my own works as well as engravings by many other artists.

As I mentioned earlier, I will also be sitting on the selection panel for the inaugural Westmorland Landscape Prize, and am hoping to see a good range of really ambitious prints entered. Make sure to get your entry in by 17 June! Enter now: landscape.artopps.co.uk


Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

When I was at art school, printmaking - and especially wood engraving - was considered highly unfashionable and not an area of art that any self-respecting artist should have any interest in. I had great support there from the printmaking tutors but regular criticism from tutors who weren’t involved with printmaking and who spent much time criticising my practice and encouraging me to make large-scale paintings instead. In the end, whilst weighing up whether or not any criticism you may get is justified, I do think you ultimately need to work at whatever feels truest to you, whether or not it’s ‘fashionable’ or ’trendy’. It’s impossible, really, to predict what will be the next ‘in’ thing in the art world so there’s not much point in trying to second-guess it. All you can do is make work that comes from your heart and that you believe in. Hopefully, in either the short or the long run, that integrity in what you make will be appreciated by a discerning audience so, stick with it and don’t be downhearted if the sphere of art you have chosen to work in attracts criticism or even disinterest - working as an artist is a long game and you have to enjoy making what you make and believe in it or your life and career may not feel fulfilling. I feel very lucky to have had a long (ongoing) career doing something I truly love and I am delighted that, over the years, my work has built up a strong audience.

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Hello! I’m Kaylene. I’m an illustrator, printmaker and teacher.I’m originally from Canada but I now live and work in South East London with my Mr, two kids and two cats. I make quirky screenprints and linocuts – usually with a planty theme of some sort. I began Plant Prints for Peace after the birth of my first daughter in 2016. I felt like there was a lot of not-so-great stuff going on that year and wanted to try and make a difference doing something I love. 10% of sales from PPFP goes towards a wonderful charity called Peace Direct (https://www.peacedirect.org/) who work in conflict areas around the world to build lasting peace. I’ve always loved plants, though I’m not amazing at looking after them, and was really drawn to greenery as subject matter.


Describe your printmaking process.

I make screen prints at the wonderful Sonsoles Print Studio in Peckham.I’ll draw a design by hand and then digitise the drawings and have them made into film positives.I’ll then expose screens and print each colour layer – finishing with my love / nemesis – the thin black line – I never leave myself much of a margin for error when screen printing so I have to drink lots of coffee before I get started. I make my linocuts at home in my little studio / spare room.I’ll usually draw straight onto a block before I cut using my trusty Pfeil tools. Sometimes I’ll hand burnish prints but usually I use my Woodzilla press. Most of the lino prints I’m making now are reduction prints – I like the danger of no going back and the loosening of my drawing style when printing with lino.

How and where did you learn to print?

I learned to screen print and linocut at school and then university many moons ago. I came back to screen printing after a one day course with Peckham Print Studio (now Make-Ready https://make-ready.co/) and got properly obsessed. I got stuck back into linocut when my second daughter was born last year and I was finding it tricky to get to the screen printing studio. There’s been a lot of trial and error and a lot of checking out the work of other printmakers in books and on Instagram etc. for tips and tricks.


Why printmaking?

There’s something magic about printmaking. I know because when I teach workshops with adults or the children I work with at school, there is always an audible ‘woooowwwww’ when the print is revealed. Prints are so visceral and tactile. I feel like every one is an original in its own way – different pressure, different gradients, little marks – in mine anyway – I’m pretty relaxed about perfection! The process of printmaking is satisfying too – there’s a lot of problem-solving which I love.


Where do you work?

I do most of my drawing and prep work and all of my linocuts in my studio at home in Penge. It also serves as a spare bed but is mostly a land of things and images I love. And mess. Definitely mess.


Describe a typical day in your studio.

It’s pretty rare that I get a whole day in the studio. Printing has to fit between my teaching work, running around after two little ones and various other bits of adulting. I make pretty good use of the hours between 7-11 most nights, carving blocks, printing layers or drawing new designs. Most of my post office runs to send prints out happen on a Monday when I’m home with the littles so I make sure I am well stocked with snacks to see out the queue. I also spend time prepping for markets and workshops, which I do fairly frequently.


How long have you been printmaking?

I made my return to screen printing about 5 years ago and have been properly back to linocuts for about a year and a half.


What inspires you?

Probably fairly obviously, I am inspired by anything green and leafy. I love the life that plants bring to a space. I do freelance illustration as well and am often inspired by the work I do for clients. I recently completed a commission for a yoga teacher and have turned some of the figures into plant-headed characters – a theme I’ve been playing with.


What is your favourite printmaking product?

My Pfeil cutters are dreamy. I also love printing on HoSho paper because there’s a bit of embossing when I use the press. Really, I love all the bits and pieces though. I cannot be trusted in a printmaking shop…


What have you made that you are most proud of?

I’m inspired by the work of Peace Direct and have started a series of terrariums filled with landscapes from some of the countries they work in. Even in some of the places really struggling with conflict, there are still areas of astounding natural beauty. I’m really proud of the first couple of these as they are 7 layer reduction prints and I love the way they’ve come out with a sort of painterly feel.


Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I post work in progress fairly frequently on Instagram @kaylenealder. I also have my own website with a webshop kaylenealder.com/plantprintsforpeace and an Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PlantPrintsforPeaceI do a fair few markets around London – the next one is https://www.greenroomsmarket.com/ where I’ll also be running a linocut workshop. I’m a member of the lovely local SE20 Art Group in Penge and will be taking part in the Penge Art Trail – exhibiting at the glorious Alexandra Nurseries for the whole of June.

What will we be seeing from you next?

Oooh, good question. Definitely more plant-headed people and the rest of the Peace Direct series. I’ve also been having a bit of a play with monoprinted screen prints but I need a lot more practise with those! I also volunteer for the Just A Card campaign https://www.justacard.org/ which aims to ensure people know the value and importance of supporting artists and small businesses. I know they have some big news coming up so I’m looking forward to supporting that too.


Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

I find I have to remind myself that everyone has their struggles – none of us are alone in that and I know that I have a creative crisis of confidence at least once a month! That’s really common for creatives – self-doubt – but I guess the challenge is to try and focus on the positives and learn from the negatives. So I guess my advice is to be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions – there are lots of great peeps out there who are happy to help you through a print problem or just to give a few words of encouragement. Print nerds love a print problem!


Instagram:  @kaylenealder

Website: kaylenealder.com/plantprintsforpeace

Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PlantPrintsforPeace

Just A Card campaign: https://www.justacard.org/


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Describe your processes.

I tend to think about an idea for a while and scribble mini sketches in the back of my diary until I’m more sure what I want to create - and then it’s over to the computer and my tablet to draw up the idea digitally. Once I’ve got the design ready it’s over to the studio to expose my design onto a screen using light-sensitive emulsion and an exposure unit.

Once I’ve got the design on a screen I enjoy mixing up colours from acrylic paint and screen printing medium - at this point I play around with what colours might work together (although I must admit I’m partial to black against a strong background colour!). During the process I try to capture images and videos to record and share my process.


How and where did you learn to print?

I discovered printmaking at university in my first year when I studied a printmaking module in 2005. I started out learning lots of different types of printmaking, but I especially loved screen printing as it's so quick and hands on. After university, I continued to develop my printmaking through evening courses at Leeds College of Art, alongside an office job, to keep up my creativity outside work.


Why printmaking?

I love the screen printing process as it's so quick and with screen printing medium I can mix up almost any colour to experiment with! It still feels like magic to me when I expose my design on a screen and I really enjoy the hands-on part of exposing a screen. I’m still convinced the design won’t come out on the screen - but it (nearly always!) does.


Where do you work?

I work in different places depending on what part of the process I’m doing - I start and finish in my studio at home (aka the spare room!) with a computer to create my designs and a printing bench to create the finished prints at home. My printing bench is just a garage bench that I’ve painted, with some hinge clamps attached - it works perfectly well, although I have been eyeing up making myself a vacuum bed.

For exposing my screens I take my screens down to Leeds Print Workshop, a local print co-operative in the centre of Leeds. Leeds Print Workshop is a lovely space with lots of great equipment and really knowledgeable printmakers for when I get stuck! It’s also a really nice experience to get to know other printmakers too. However, I do love printing in my studio at home in my own space - I love putting some music on, picking out my colours to print with, and getting stuck in.


Describe a typical day in your studio.

At the moment I work full time in an office job that often means I only get to work in the studio on a weekend (or evenings when the nights are much lighter!). I love having a full Saturday to print in my studio at home - by this point I have my design on the screen and can get really stuck into the process of creating final prints. Firstly, I focus on all the ‘clean’ tasks of getting equipment ready and cutting paper to the right size. Once this is all in place I can focus on mixing colours and screen printing.


How long have you been printmaking?

I've been printmaking on and off for 14 years and decided to set up a space at home about 18 months ago in line with setting up a business to sell my prints. My business is called Ink & Bear and has been a great driver for creating more often. It’s great to be able to print at home, but my next step is to be able to complete the end to end process at home by getting hold of a way to expose screens.


What inspires you?

My biggest inspiration to date has been exploring constellations and the night sky. I love travelling and visiting new places and always feel really inspired when I return from a trip. I’ve recently visited Japan and was really inspired by the strong history of printmaking. My number one inspiration is meeting creative people and learning about their creative processes - I always get a buzz and want to get back into the studio to create some more prints.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I absolutely love getting a new screen for the first time fresh out of the box! I love having screens of different sizes, depending on what project I'm working on. My favourites are the aluminium screens sold by Handprinted. I also love having a variety of sizes of squeegees and have an old wooden one (the first one I ever bought!) that I still use the majority of the time.


What have you made that you are most proud of?

My favourite print is my large circular constellations print. It’s a simple design and I’m most proud of it as it started out as a small design with a few blobs and lines - I’ve developed the design quite a few times over time and now it’s a large square print with lots of detail. I love how using different colours effects the way the print looks - my favourite colour to print it in is either a metallic copper, or a blue to white gradient. I enjoy seeing how the colours mix when I print using a split fountain technique and I love seeing how different they look from the start of the process to the end as the inks get more and more mixed together.


Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I mostly sell my work on my website (www.inkandbear.co.uk) and at craft and print fairs around Yorkshire. I pop a lot of my work on my Instagram (www.instagram.com/inkandbear) and try to capture the process around making the work too.


What will we be seeing from you next?

I've been dreaming up a whale print for a while against a background of constellations. I’ve also got a dream of running classes one day - I think the process of screen printing is very therapeutic and I’d love to be able to share this with others.


Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Just jump in and go for it! I spent years using a full-time job as an excuse not to find time to create and now it’s such a nice balance to be able to make something from scratch with such a hands on process.

Website: www.inkandbear.co.uk

Instagram: www.instagram.com/inkandbear


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It can be interesting to include natural textures in our relief prints. Wood grain is a beautiful organic pattern and can be printed if we emphasise the natural grain in the wood. We can do this with a blow torch. Scorch the surface of the wood to bring out the wood grain. (Please be careful when using the blow torch by working outside on a non-flammable base). 

Scorching a Piece of Wood for Relief Printing - YouTube

Use a wire brush to clear the soft burnt areas of wood, leaving raised areas behind. Work the brush in the direction of the grain. 

Preparing Wood Grain for Relief Printing - YouTube

Dampen a scrubbing brush and wash away the leftover ash and soft wood. Try not to get the wood too wet. 

When the wood is dry it can be inked up. We are printing onto dampened Somerset 250gsm Satin White paper. The dampened paper will help to soften the paper to pick up as much ink as possible. 

Ink up the wood ensuring that the whole surface is evenly covered. We are using Caligo Safe Wash Relief Ink in Prussian Blue.

Blot the dampened paper and gently place it on top of the wood. Use a piece of greaseproof paper underneath a baren and work the baren over the whole surface. We are using a Ball Bearing Baren. 

Peel the paper to reveal the print!

You will need:

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I’m Kat, and I’m a designer/printmaker from Aberdeen, now living and working in South East London. I make quirky, story-filled linocut prints… I came to printmaking late, and almost by accident, following the birth of my daughter in 2015. I was keen to make my living as a creative working on my own terms in order to find some kind of genuine work/life balance, but I had originally envisaged starting a business designing ceramic homewares. That fell by the wayside when I realised how much I loved linocut, and how much easier it is to accommodate a press at home than a kiln.


Describe your printmaking process.

I’m slow and precise when designing and carving, then fast and messy when printing. I don’t work much in sketchbooks - I tend to seize upon ideas from nowhere and scribble quick thumbnail sketches on whatever scrap paper I have to hand before they get away. If one of these looks promising, I usually work it up in a little more detail before either moving to the block to flesh it out at full scale, or, for particularly nervewracking pieces, developing a full-size sketch on paper that I then trace and transfer in reverse to the block. I don’t use anything fancy - just and HB pencil and some tracing paper. I fix the design on the block by redrawing it with permanent ink (I like Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens), reworking and refining the details and composition as I go. Some details don’t get decided on until after I’ve carved a good portion of the block - I like to wait for the perfect idea to present itself naturally, rather than forcing it at the start, and I don’t mind having some unknowns as I carve. Once carved, I’ll run a few test prints, clean up any unwanted marks from the blocks, decide on paper dimensions (more test prints), colour/s (yet more test prints) and then get busy with the run!


How and where did you learn to print?

I’m mostly self-taught, although I did a foundation year in 2010 at London College of Communication (which used to be the training ground for typesetters and the newspaper print industry). They had a set of amazing basement workshops full of old letterpress machines and hulking great cast iron presses. I signed up for every session I could so I could try out all the different processes, and spent a lot of my free time down there. Funnily enough, I really wasn’t into linocut at that point - I was determined to master screen printing because it felt much better suited to working as a graphic designer (which is what I hoped to do when I left - I was a 27-year-old career changer, taking a year out from my previous work in tech start-ups to retrain). Suffice to say, I’m still rubbish at screen printing (and pretty rubbish at graphic design), but picked up lino again about six years later on a whim. Most of what I know about linocutting I learnt by getting it wrong over and over again, until I got it right. More recently, I’ve found it really helpful being part of the printmaking community on Instagram - people are very generous with their knowledge and I’ve learnt a lot from my fellow makers over there. We’re basically a massive bunch of geeks who love sharing tips. 


Why printmaking?

Although I can draw competently in many different styles, I always found it a little boring - possibly because I was so unfocused in my approach, flitting from one style to the next and always too impatient to put in the work necessary to develop my own visual language. No matter what I tried, the results always felt like they were missing some vital ingredient. That changed when I began printmaking - it makes my brain operate in a different (much better!) mode. I find my drawings come alive in print in a way that they never did on paper. For me, there’s a new sense of energy and fun that comes entirely from working within the boundaries of a block, playing with the balance of light and dark, and testing the limits of what can be carved or printed - it’s like a game. I like puzzles and have a fairly scientific brain, so the technical side of printmaking and all the troubleshooting is one of the things that makes it enjoyable. I also love that the outcome of my playing happens to be a product that’s ready to send out into the world - no digital interference required, just a signature to say “I made this”. It feels very honest and direct.


Where do you work?

I’m currently in a temporary studio due to renovations, but I usually work in the spare room of my house, which my husband (and anyone who stays in that room) kindly tolerate. There’s stuff EVERYWHERE, on every possible surface, and then more stuff on top of that. I’m not tidy. Piles of lino. Leaky ink tubes. Rollers hanging from every available surface. Cutting tools lurking unseen in places where I’m bound to stab my hands on them. Stacks of paper torn by hand to all the different sizes I use. All the packaging materials required to send prints of varying sizes all over the world. A million tiny, fluffy curls from the torn edges of my paper, which stick to socks and get trodden through every other room of the house (it’s like having a very fibrous, white cat - all our clothes are covered in tiny strands of paper). I have boxes and boxes of prints, from firsts through to embarrassing rejects, along with all the paraphernalia of the printmaking process, because I’m incapable of throwing anything away. Ink on the carpet. Ink on the door. Ink on all my husband’s music gear which lives in the same room (eek)…


Describe a typical day in your studio.

I drop my daughter off at nursery around 9 and head back to the house to start work. It varies from day to day, but I tend to do things in intense bursts because I’ve discovered that I’m most productive when I knuckle down and focus on one thing. I can work intensively on a block for days to the exclusion of all else, including eating, and follow that with a fortnight of doing nothing but printing and re-printing from my stack of blocks to try and build up a healthy stockpile for my Etsy shop. When I list a big batch of new prints I tend to get a flurry of orders thanks to Instagram (where I post all my work in progress) - dealing with these can eat up the next week or so in terms of quality checking, signing, dealing with enquiries, packing them all up and getting them down to the Post Office. I often wish I were better at spacing tasks out and mixing my days up a bit - I always intend to do a bit of packaging prep each day, a bit of printing, a bit of working on new designs, but in practice I fail at that and end up sprinting from one enormous task to the next. There’s a domestic element to deal with too - because my studio is in my home it’s a constant battle to prevent life admin and chores encroaching, because they really mess with my concentration.


How long have you been printmaking?

I’ve been at it ’seriously’ for about two years now - I began in earnest when my lovely in-laws gave me a set of Pfeil carving tools for my birthday. I had been dabbling with lino for fun using a set of wonky student tools and could feel the pull of it even then, but I became addicted when I realised what I could achieve with my new kit. I had no idea at that point that it would become my living!

What inspires you?

I’m a storyteller at heart, and find a constant source of inspiration in folklore, fairytales, nursery rhymes and the natural world. The more esoteric the better - I like disappearing down spooky rabbit holes, and I especially like ideas that feel like the beginning of a longer tale. I try to inject a sense of story into everything I do - the thought that people might use my prints as a jump-off point for their own stories makes me extremely happy, and is one of the reasons I try to pack in so many little details. I want to give people reasons to look again and again, in case they miss something!


What is your favourite printmaking product?

Is it a cop-out to say “all of it”? My favourite carving tools are my Pfeil ones, although I recently got the Flexcut micro palm set and am getting to grips with them. I find them less comfortable to hold, but they can achieve a slightly finer level of detail. I think in a fire though, I’d save my Pfeil ones first. I use an Xcut Xpress die-cutting machine instead of a ‘real’ press (I don’t have room for one) and it’s not an exaggeration to say it changed my life, because 90% of the prints I sell are printed on it! It took a bit of trial and error (and some frustration) to get it working exactly as I wanted, but I get really sharp, clean prints with it and it folds up when I need to get it out of the way. The only downside is the limited size you can print.


What have you made that you are most proud of?

The thing that cemented the idea that perhaps I could be a ‘real’ printmaker was a set of eight element-inspired figures that I made over the summer of last year. It started with one (the Man of the Sea), who acquired a brother (the Man of the Land), and then two others (Fire and Air). Of course, I couldn’t do the blokes and not do the ladies, so four female figures followed soon after. Lots of people followed their development via Instagram, and when I finally uploaded the full set for sale things went a bit nuts, which enabled me to take a deep breath and declare myself a full-time printmaker. I’m so happy with them as a set - each one possesses a distinct character. People pair them and group them in all sorts of ways, and tell me all kinds of stories about which is their favourite and why - they seem to find lots of details to relate them to themselves and those they love, which is amazing.


Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

The best place to see my work is on Instagram (www.instagram.com/flintkat) - I’m pretty active and my feed is mostly work-in-progress. I sell online via my Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KatAndKin) and at occasional makers’ markets in and around London.


What will we be seeing from you next?

I have a lot of Big Life Things happening this year which are rather limiting my creative plans, but I’m determined not to let that stop me. I’m currently working on my largest linocut to date for a lovely group show that I’m doing on the Sussex coast in August (https://www.wearescip.co.uk/the-green-show/ ). It’s inspired by the coastal fishing towns that featured heavily in my childhood in the North East of Scotland, so it feels very personal and I’m going a bit overboard as a result. I decided to test the limits of what I can do after two solid years of carving lino and I’m so excited to print the block when I (finally!!) finish it. It’s taking aeons! Other than that, I’m working on a series of new blocks inspired by vintage magic shows and the circus and frantically trying to restock my Etsy shop in the midst of a house renovation, because it’s looking pretty bare at the moment.


Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Find your own voice - being distinctive will serve you well, because the people who like your work will like it for the right reasons, and will stick with you to see what you do next. Don’t chase trends all the time, but if you do, make sure to do something unique with them that could only have come from your brain. Practise. A lot. Don’t give up when things go wrong - invent solutions, seek advice, share your mistakes for a laugh… and don’t stop.

Follow Kat on Instagram (www.instagram.com/flintkat) or her Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KatAndKin)


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Monoprinting is a lovely technique that allows printmakers to be spontaneous, painterly and experimental. This simple monoprint project produces beautiful delicate prints using a piece of scrim and an etching press. 

Begin with a piece of perpex, a plastic inking plate or a sheet of drypoint plastic. use masking tape to tape off a rectangle on your perspex. If the plastic is transparent, place it over a cutting mat to get straight edges and right angles. 

Cut a piece of scrim to fit inside the masking taped area. 

Pull away threads from the scrim to fray the edges. 

Manipulate the fibres to create gathers and holes.

Roll out an even layer of ink. We are using Akua Intaglio Ink - a mix of Carbon Black and Phthalo Blue and rolling out with a Hawthorn Roller



Peel the masking tape away. Lay the scrim on top of the inked up area. Carry the perspex over to the etching press. Lay a piece of paper on top - we are using Snowdon (dry, not dampened) and cover with blankets.

Put the print sandwich through the press. The first print taken from this sandwich gives us a sold background and a white area where the scrim has acted as a mask. 

Carefully peel the scrim from the perspex. 

We can now print with the ink that remains on the perspex by placing it back on the print bed with paper on top. 



Lay the scrim ink side up on a clean sheet of perspex (clean the original sheet or use a second sheet the same depth as the first so your press pressure remains consistent). 

Lay a piece of paper on top, cover with blankets and run through the press. You should be left with a delicate print from the scrim. 

We can also create two colour prints. Instead of printing the scrim by itself on a clean piece of perspex, we can lay it on top of a rolled out rectangle in another colour.

To do this, repeat the steps above by re-inking the perspex in the first colour and putting it through the press with scrim on top. This will ink up the scrim. Clean the perspex (or use a fresh piece) and roll out a second colour. 

Place the scrim on top with the inky side facing up.

Cover with paper and put through the press.

We can take another print from the perspex once the scrim has been peeled off...

...and we can print with the orange side of the scrim. 

To make your own scrim monoprint you will need:

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Hallo, I'm Masha Tiplady, Edinburgh-based printmaker, working primarily in linocut. I grew up in Moscow and moved to Scotland nearly 20 years ago to complete my Master's degree and now call it home. I like creating colourful linocuts, using both reduction and multiple-plate techniques. I absolutely love carving, it’s such a meditative process and I often end up carving more tiny details than initially planned.


Describe your printmaking process.

My linocuts usually begin as a fairly vague image in my head - I hardly ever sketch at that stage and just let the image/colours develop in my imagination. Once the image in my head is clear enough I tend to draw straight on lino and start carving, often changing things as I go along. I don’t have a proper printing press and hand-burnish most of my linocuts with a wooden spoon and a glass barren. After I finish a new linocut, I usually put together a short video of the process and upload it on Instagram, Facebook and my website www.mashaandtheprints.com.


How and where did you learn to print?

I’m a self-taught printmaker. I discovered linocut by pure chance after attending a local workshop - I was suffering from a pretty bad postnatal anxiety at the time and just wanted to do something different to take my mind off things. I fell in love with linocut straight away and it quickly became my ‘happy place’/passion (and now - a full-time occupation). I started by reading a few books and watching many hours of YouTube videos and absorbing as much information as I could find on a subject. Then I just started carving and attempted my first reduction linocut (“A girl with a necklace”) only a few weeks later - it was a huge learning curve but I loved everything about it. I also joined an on-line linocut community - there is a large Facebook group called “Linocut Friends” which is a great source of practical advice and a friendly community of linocut-obsessed people. Last year I joined Edinburgh Printmakers and started learning intaglio techniques there - frankly, I’m fascinated by all printmaking techniques and will hopefully get a chance to try most of them.

 

Why printmaking?

To me, linocut is a perfect medium, which combines a thorough planning and methodical process with an element of a complete surprise. There is something so magical in watching the image to appear layer by layer and you are never sure what it’s gonna be like until you’ve finished the last layer. As many printmakers will agree - it’s such a thrill!

I also like the fact that linocut allows for pretty much endless possibilities of experimenting with colours.


Where do you work? 

I’ve set up a small studio space at home and keep expanding (basically, taking over the living room inch by inch). One day I hope to have a separate studio but at the moment such set up works for us - it means I can juggle working with looking after our young daughter.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

At the moment, I have to plan my work around our daughter’s routine and available childcare - most days I will work in short bursts during the day and again for a good few hours in the evening.

What inspires you? 

I find inspiration in things that interest me: my favourite books, music, history. Many of my linocuts have a retro feel to them: beginning of the 20th century and 50s-70s are my two favourite eras.


What is your favourite printmaking product? 

I love my Pfeil gauges, I’ve built a nice collection that suits my mark-making needs. I’m also very fond of Flexcut tools - micro palm set in particular. As for ink, my favourite is Caligo Safe Wash range and traditional gold ink by Cranfield.

What have you made that you are most proud of? 

It’s got to be my latest 10-colour reduction linocut “Murmuration’ - a commission which was great fun to make. It was my first go at a landscape and I’m very happy with the design I came up with and how it turned out.


Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

You can see my work in Art & Craft Collective gallery in Edinburgh and Scottish Design Exchange in Buchanan galleries, Glasgow. You can also buy my linocuts from my website www.mashaandtheprints.com and on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/mashaandtheprints/


What will we be seeing from you next?

I’m working on a new mid-century-themed reduction linocut and I have a couple of botanical designs on my mind (can’t get enough of flowers at the moment!). I’m also hoping to do more etchings this summer and try woodcut when I get a chance.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Main advice would be just to go for it! In my experience, the best way to learn is to try something new, even if it scares you and feels overly-ambitious. You’ll make mistakes but that’s the best way to learn.

Links:

Website: www.mashaandtheprints.com

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mashaandtheprints/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mashatiplady/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mashatiplady/
 


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There are many objects that can be gathered from around the house to add to your printmaking kit! Here are some of our favourite alternative uses for easily found objects that we use in the studio every day! 

Use clips on your hinged screen for an easy squeegee rest:

Securing two large clips to your frame creates a rest on which your squeegee can rest between pulls. This can keep messy ink within the frame and lowers the risk of getting ink all over the place! We have written a blog post on how to make a hinged screen printing board here

Use grip matting under your board:

This stops the board from sliding about and makes it easier to put pressure on your squeegee.

This grip matting is also really useful when cutting lino. It stops the lino from slipping about, making it both easier and safer to cut. 

Save empty tape rolls to prop your screen:

When your screen is attached to a hinged board you may need to raise your screen to flood your ink. Use an empty tape roll to hold your screen away from the paper.

Empty tape rolls are also an easy place to rest your squeegee without dirtying your table with ink:  

Use old store cards to scrape excess ink from screens:

These are a perfect flat surface to remove as much ink as possible but are not sharp so are unlikely to damage your mesh.

Use baking spatulas to mix ink:

It's much easier to mix screen printing inks with a flexible spatula intended for cooking rather than a metal inking spatula that you may use to mix relief inks on an inking plate. A flexible spatula will ensure you don't have any unmixed ink in your pot, giving you a smooth, even colour. 

Use old magazine pages to block off unwanted areas of your screen:

We often like to expose more than one image onto a screen but only want to print one at a time. Instead of taping over the whole unwanted area, we can use a magazine page with just one piece of tape to secure it to the screen. This produces less plastic waste and also protects the screen from the tape which can occasionally damage the emulsion or leave a sticky residue behind. The shiny surface of the magazine page can be wiped clean if necessary. Rob Luckins was using this technique last weekend when his workshop group were printing four layers with just one screen. 

Wash out squeezy bottles to hold thickened dyes:

Screen printing with thickened dyes is great fun, especially when breakdown printing. Because these dyes are runnier than screen printing inks it can be easier to apply them to the mesh with an old washing up liquid bottle than with a pot and spoon! Bottles with wider openings could be used for thicker inks. 


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I am a Worthing based linocut printmaker. Born in Brighton, moving to Worthing in 2012, I've always been surrounded by the Downs and the sea, for which I am very lucky, if a little complacent of at times!


I love to get out and about to find inspiration for my prints, which lately has been trees! I've been taking a few walks up on the downs with my camera and or sketchbook. This time of year, the leafless trees are amazing structures and provide great inspiration for new carvings.

Recently I had a huge opportunity to spend much more time concentrating on printmaking, so I shall be embracing this with gusto! Fingers crossed...!


Describe your printmaking process.

One phrase that I keep on hearing when people see my work is that I 'must have the patience of a saint!'. I don't know about that (you should be in my studio when things don't go to plan...!!!), but I do like to print intricate designs and I love to see the end result.

I always like to challenge myself with each new print, so I like to try and think of ways of getting more detail into the print, either by using different colours (I do love a good blend!), or adding more layers (which may be via multiple plates of lino, or using the reduction technique).

I do like to get out and about each day, walking around town, on the seafront or up on the downs, with either my camera or sketch looking for inspiration for the next print.


How and where did you learn to print? Why Printmaking?

About 5 or 6 years ago I was on holiday in South Wales, and I ended up walking in and out people's houses... They had opened them for the local artist open house event. I met and got chatting to local artist Lee Wright, who, I discovered, made linocut prints. At the time I had never heard of the medium (I guess it skipped my generation at school...?).

He gave me such inspiration to give it a go myself. So, I bought myself a little starter kit from Amazon, and began to teach myself. Over the years I have picked up tips from other artists through social media and by attending local events or art fairs (not least the one held by Handprinted showcasing the work of Linocut boy a couple of years back).


It has been great learning the different techniques and processes, if a little scary at times, wondering or second-guessing how things will turn out. I'll admit, things don't always work, but that is just a part of the process. Brush my self down, and get on with the next challenge!


Where do you work?

I am so lucky to have the space at home to have my own little studio. It's a modest space, but certainly does the trick!

It certainly has evolved over the years, from the starter kit, to now having my own etching press and working space. It's wonderful, and never underappreciated.


Describe a typical day in your studio.

I have a mantra....you must turn on the laptop, and you must leave the house.

So, first thing in the morning (around 8am) I will have had my breakfast, and turned on the laptop. This makes me check my emails and keep up to date with anything that I need to do.

Once that's done I shall get on with the main interest of the day, which will generally be either; working on my latest print, updating my social media, or my online shop, or updating my website, or getting ready for an upcoming event (sometimes a little of all of the above).

There shall certainly be a lot of tea involved in the day (my fuel!), and of course the compulsory walk, to get some fresh air and, if I'm lucky, some inspiration!


How long have you been printmaking?

Around 7 years now. The first 3 or 4 of those I was just dabbling, and teaching myself different techniques, but over the last couple of years I began to take it more seriously, trying to get my work out there 'into the wild'.


What inspires you?

I do like to make sure that I get out and about daily (hopefully daily, but I don't always manage to...bad Wayne!).

Just going out for a walk, either down to the seafront, or up on the Downs will get the creative juices flowing. Either by what I see on my travels, or just having some down time to let my mind think of new ideas.


What is your favourite printmaking product?

My Pfiel tools (they're AWESOME!)

Oh, and Caligo safe wash inks are amazing!


What have you made that you are most proud of?

Is it corny if I were to say 'my latest print'...? It is corny, I know, but I am always proud of the latest print that comes together, just because of the effort that goes into it and to finally see it in its final form is great!

But, if I had to choose one of my prints, I would probably go for my 'Worthing Best' print. This was a commission from The Brooksteed Alehouse (a local micropub on South Farm in Worthing. If you haven't been there, go, it's great! This isn't an ad by the way!).

The owners wanted a print that represented Worthing but also suitable for their pub. I came up with the idea of a pump clip for a fictional beer 'Worthing Best'. They loved the idea...I just had to print it...

It ended up being my largest print (still is) at 60 x 42cm, and a 6 layer, single plate, reduction. I am glad to say that the owners loved it, and it is currently hanging up in their pub for all to see!


Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I currently have my work in an Artist Collective gallery in Tunbridge Wells (which is coming to an end on the 23rd March...boooo!). Other than that, I sell my prints via my etsy site.


What will we be seeing from you next?

Apart from new prints, I shall be at the Paper Daisy Easter Boutique at the Shoreham Centre and then the Fairy Tale Fair at the Charmandean Centre in Worthing, on the 13th and 14th of April. Come say hi!

I shall also be taking part in the INK event at Colonnade House in Worthing, which is an exhibition showcasing local printmaking artists. Very lucky to be a part of this! That runs from the 2nd to the 13th April.

For the first time this year, I am opening my house, taking part in the Worthing Artist Open house event (I have taken part before, but this is the first time at my own house). Over three weekends in summer; 15/16th June, 22nd/23rd June and 29th/30th June.


Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

I am currently attending an evening drawing class at Northbrook College. The tutor (Steve Carroll) has his own mantra which is 'just leave it!'. What he means is that if you make a mistake, then don't worry about it, just move on, live with it, and adapt to it. Make it work into your piece. Don't be so precious over every tiny little detail. That has really stayed with me, as it not only applies to drawing, but to printmaking too. If you happen to carve something away but you weren't meant to, just leave it! You cant undo It, so go with it. Sometimes it's really hard to, but you have to.

So, whether it be drawing, or carving, if you do happen to make a tiny mistake, it's okay, just leave it. It'll be fine. The world won't end! its taken a while for me to learn that, and I'm not 100% certain that I have completely yet, but I'm getting there!


My website; https://longhurstlino.com/

etsy; https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LonghurstLino

Instagram; https://www.instagram.com/longhurstlino/

Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/LonghurstLino/

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Using a hinged board to screen print onto paper is a game changer. It allows you to register layered prints and print in identical editions. Here's how we made our latest batch of A2 hinged boards in the studio:


You will need a board at least the same width and slightly longer than your screen. It needs to be a smooth, rigid, wipeable surface. Laminated (melamine faced) MDF works perfectly. MDF that has been varnished can work too. This board is around 20mm in depth. 

This board is for an A2 screen.

You may want to use your board for different sized screens so make sure your hinge clamps are close enough to accommodate all the sizes you would like to use. For small screens such as A4 and A3 you may want to recess your hinge clamps into the board a little to reduce the snap on the screen. The hinge clamps hold the screen a little above the board - this gives a great snap off for perfect prints but can make it difficult to print close to the frame of a small screen. 

Use a pencil to mark through the holes on the hinge clamps.

Drill pilot holes where you have marked the board.

Screw the hinge clamps down to the board. The hinge clamps come with screws but you may want to use alternative screws depending on the depth of the board. 

Secure the screen into the hinge clamps by turning the wingnuts. You should now be able to lift your screen up and down.

For easy registration, tape a large piece of acetate to the side of the board. You can then print your design onto the acetate, slide your paper underneath and mark the correct position. The acetate can then be folded like a book page out of the way. Small pieces of mount board are useful for placing the paper in the correct place each time.

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