An exhibition of lino prints hand-printed in my home studio with images of animals in this and other, magical worlds. My work is mostly inspired by myths and folk stories from around the world, from which I like to create imaginary places that interpret in some way aspects of these stories. The works described below, among others, will be on view in this year’s exhibition.
Nature conservation is something which is close to my heart and this past year I have been working on a sequence of images which explore the idea of nature returning and taking over the cities and man-made structures that are so central to our environment. I’m curious to know what the world would look like if wildflowers and grasses grew in front of the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, if the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world) became deserted and bears would play outside, or if whales were able to swim more freely under the Golden Gate Bridge. Many of us can easily visit the countryside, but what would the world look like if plants grew through the cracks in the concrete and wild animals came into our cities and roamed freely around our man-made structures?
I am also currently working on a project exploring animals in the natural world through the format of simple folding concertina books. Hand printing through layering a sequence of images onto strips of paper (which are then folded), the books show these animals in their true form, as well as their underlying ephemeral, spirit nature. The books are intended to leave the viewer to devise their own interpretation of the pages and story being told, as they can be spread out in full or folded again and again at different intervals for multiple readings.
As an artist I love creating bold, colourful lino prints. Printmaking to me is a mix of being creative in designing images from my imagination while at the same time developing a craft in which there is a patience and skill to recreate multiple copies of the same final design. Each image is hand-printed and so unique with minor variations, but I love the combination of both processes – the need to be precise in the method of printing with the artistic and creative nature of drawing, designing and using colour.
I loved to read fairy tales and folk stories when I was a child, which often involved animals, sometimes interacting with humans. Most of the time, the animals are helpers or heroes in these stories. As a nature lover, I am drawn to creating images of animals, and combined with the stories that I read as a child I have become aware of how they give us different ways of seeing the world. I think they offer us a chance to reach deep into our imagination, to not only realise where our thoughts can take us, but also be a reminder to give more respect to nature. For me, a more meaningful connection is made with nature and wildness through reading these stories.
Mainly working in colour, I often use multiple lino blocks, and rollers with gradient ink, to create different layers that add depth to the image. My influences come from the pioneers in colour printmaking including Hiroshige and Hokusai – Japanese woodblock artists from the 18th-19th century. As well as their heavy use of Prussian Blue (which is my favourite colour to work with), they used a particular technique called ‘bokashi’ where a gradation of colour is applied to the block capturing varying amounts of light and adding depth to an image. To me this technique is a chance to add a magical quality to my art. I have taught several workshops on lino printing in small groups and have enjoyed spending a week teaching several printmaking techniques to all ages at an Oxfordshire primary school. If you want to know more about my work, or organise a workshop please get in touch. I am also open to commissions and working collaboratively with others.