Printmaking for me is a compulsion. I don’t feel myself unless I’ve had a couple of good printing or plate-making sessions in a week. The excitement of the process works in tandem with the feeling for subject.
I look at loads of photographs and drawings, selecting the ones with strong composition possibilities that relate to the specific qualities of etching. These get scribbled down as thumbnail sketches and the best of them go forward to full size drawings planning out either a one or two plate composition. The drawings are just outlines – all the details are drawn onto the plate. The plates are etched sequentially over a long period – it’s a slow but satisfying process. Next it’s proofing time which means trying different colour combinations and seeing what’s going to work well. Finally it’s editioning the etching which means printing it the same way a number of times. This last stage takes a lot of discipline but it’s worth it to see a pile of completed prints.
Inspiration is very important and I’m at my most switched on when I’m drawing out new ideas as fast as I can. At the same time, I’m a working Mum and my studio time is strictly regulated by the school run and other factors so I really just have to get on with it however I feel. Once work is underway, I usually get back my inspired feeling and it’s difficult to stop!
The visual is very powerful in all aspects of my life – from my children’s faces to the world around me. Working independently and often, but not always, on my own gives me a freedom of thought and action that few enjoy I think. Being an artist was always who I was from the youngest age and I was fortunate to have parents who never tried to divert me from
this path. Indeed they encouraged me and supported me through art education.
I run a programme of printmaking and mixed-media courses – I teach some myself but I contract 3 other artists to teach their specialisms. This is very important to me because I can bring the highest standards to bear on the quality of these courses to make them an enjoyable and instructive experience for all.
Printmaking is all about the multiple so there is a happy correlation between making a good piece and having a number of them available. I also do monotypes which contradict this as they are unique prints and I never have enough of them. But I do have reproductions available which gets around the problem.
I prefer to let other professionals do the selling for me – I’m not one for fairs. I enjoy good working relationships with galleries and feel that this liberates me to focus on the making. Having said that, I am always marketing my courses through the Horsley Printmakers website and a monthly newsletter. I also hold twice-yearly open studio events which I see as a valuable opportunity to get direct feedback from the public.
Selling work is important to me and I need to know that what I make is going to find a home and not languish in a drawer. It’s hugely inspiring when people show how much they like the work by buying it and that spurs me on to make more.
There will always be artists! I know through my course programme that being able to express yourself creatively is hugely important to a lot of people.
I always longed to have my own spacious print studio – my wish became reality 8 years ago so I’m a bit stumped! I’m doing everything I want to creatively. I guess my thoughts now are about bringing what I do to a wider audience as I’ve been very locally based. So I’m very happy to be in Twickenham!
I love ceramics and textiles and used to sew and knit a great deal. I have a lot of experience with photo-etching and would like to apply that to my patchwork landscapes.
Environment is very important. I need to have enough work surfaces to spread out everything I’m using. My studio is used by a number of artists and is part of an arts centre with 8 studios so I’m fortunate in being part of a lovely creative community.