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 work described below, among others, will be on view in this year’s exhibition.
I have recently completed 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 larger than life, as well as their underlying ephemeral, ethereal 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. The books will be on display at my venue but you can watch the animal stories unfold at the following link: https://beryozamade.wordpress.com/made-of-stars/
Inspired by folk stories from around the world, I make images of beautiful, free-spirited animals in other-worldly settings. My work is illustrative in style and I want my animals to have a gentle grace, to be the heroes, the ones that hold a special place in our hearts, from whales and bears to kingfishers and cranes. But the stories I’ve read about them can make them beyond wild and untouchable, revealing some truly awe-inspiring underlying powers.
Many of my images use a Prussian Blue colour to represent a night-time scene, but often as a gradient from dark to light, which is a chance to add not only depth to an image but also to add a magical quality to my art, a sense of place between worlds. Perhaps using this colour is also because I loved to read fairy tales and folk stories at bedtime when I was a child. At this twilight time, there was a growing darkness, and as the night fell a tapestry of stars would scatter across the sky and my imagination was stirred before I fell into my dreams. These stories often involved animals, most of the time as helpers or heroes. As a nature lover I have become aware of how animals give us different ways of seeing the world, beyond the every-day – even scientific studies show us qualities they have that seem extraordinary. Mainly though I think traditional stories offer us a chance to reach deep into our imagination, to not only realise where our thoughts can take us, but also to act as reminder to give more respect to nature. For centuries philosophers have written about how looking at expansive night-time skies made them feel part of something bigger, gave them a sense of awe. For me too, a more meaningful connection is made with nature’s wildness through making art that is inspired by different narratives often incorporating our vaulted night skies.
As an artist I love creating these 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 (limited edition) 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 often use multiple lino blocks to create different layers of colour. My influences come from the pioneers in colour printmaking including Hiroshige and Hokusai – Japanese woodblock artists from the 18-19th centuries. 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 develop an image using colour in addition to the way the block is cut and marked.
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, please get in touch. I am also open to commissions and working collaboratively with others.