"Hello, I'm Jo and I like printmaking" was the opener to my first newsletter. I'm hoping to produce one every couple of months and include little discounts and maybe even the odd giveaway. I thought this would be a nice way to give something back to the lovely people who follow me on social media (and in 'real life').
Since this is an introduction I'd better start with a little background about how I got into printmaking. I decided in 2018 that I needed to do something besides being a mother to two young children. I signed up to complete the FDAD at West Dean College. This involves ten short courses (mainly weekends) over two years so fitted my childcare-heavy schedule perfectly. It also seemed like a wonderful way to escape for a little 'me' time. West Dean College is a stately home, it was owned by Edward James who turned it into a college to preserve dying skills and crafts. He was a friend and patron of Salvador Dali who's work can be seen around the house. It's a wonderful place to be, surrounded by art and history and where someone else makes the beds and takes care of the catering, what utter bliss! My first course was screen printing with Jane Sampson in November 2018, I was instantly hooked. I've done drawing and painting courses as well but keep coming back to the printmaking. Monoprints with Caroline Wendling showed me how easy it is to create at home with very little kit. I decided to explore further at South Hill Park and play with big exciting presses, learning drypoint and collagraph techniques, whilst exploring linocut at home. I enjoy linocut and collagraphs the most so have decided to focus on those, although I can never resist a little monoprint with leftover ink!
Creating my first reduction linocut 'Lonely Tree'
With both children at school from September 2020 I finally have more time to devote to my printmaking. One ambition I've had for a while is to complete a reduction linocut. I'm a huge fan of Laura Boswell and spent the late summer binge-watching her lockdown series of tutorial videos.
After a lot of photographing and sketching a lone tree whilst walking my puppy in the forest which borders the Surrey village I live in, I finally got down to making my first reduction linocut. Not being one to do things by halves, I went all out and bought ten sheets of the most gorgeous Okawara Select paper from the Awagami paper factory. This is very smooth and thin but incredibly strong Japanese paper and it almost seemed too beautiful to print onto! I really enjoyed this print and documented it's journey on Instagram where you can see all the layers and how it was built up. There was even a bit of painting onto the lino to create the cloud shapes which was a good challenge to cut!
It proved the most incredible learning journey and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It is an edition of ten, I'm very proud that there were no disasters along the way so all ten are available to buy for £45. They're the largest print I've done, the paper is 52x43cm and has a beautiful deckled edge so would look gorgeous float mounted. You can purchase one here.
One of these prints was up for grabs in my newsletter offer, alongside eight mini-prints which were Christmas themed.
In other news, I've kept myself busy making a simple limited edition print to be offered at my children's school to help raise some money as the usual Christmas fair can't go ahead. It seems in times like these we all need to do a little something to help out where we can, and if that something happens to be something you enjoy doing, then all the better!