Monday, 18 June 2018

Summer Screen Printing Workshops for Adults!

This summer there will be lots of opportunities to learn to screen print on either tote-bags or paper! I am running several different workshops in Birmingham including;

14/07/18 Dinosaur & bird inspired tote bag printing with hand-cut stencils at BM&AG
11/08/18 Dinosaur & bird inspired tote bag printing with hand-cut stencils at BM&AG
25/08/2018 Screen printing on paper with hand cut stencils at the RBSA

We will be creating bold designs and patterns, hand cutting stencils using scalpels and screen printing with silk screens, squeegees and bright coloured water based inks. All materials and equipment will be provided as well as hand outs with instructions.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Limited Edition Posters for Oscillate

Earlier this year I was commissioned to design and screen print a series of limited edition posters commemorating Oscillate for a retrospective exhibition at Centrala Space in Birmingham as part of Flatpack Festival 2018 It was a challenge as Oscillate was a club night I went to back in the 1990s... quite some time ago! I drew the artwork for the posters by hand in black and white before screen printing it in two or three colours using fluorescent inks. The designs and colours were inspired by Oscillate at Bonds and electronica from the early 1990s. The particular tracks that defined the experience for me and which influenced the posters are Chatter by Autechre, Simon from Sydney by LFO, De-Orbit by Speedy J and The Fires of Ork by The Fires of Ork. Music like this was the reason I went to Oscillate. At the time it was new, exciting and seemed to be about the future. It sounds as good today as it did back then and instantly reminds me of those nights at Bonds.

Made by Hand Cheltenham 2018

In March I exhibited at Made by Hand England in Cheltenham The organisers also run The Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey and Made by Hand in Cardiff. This was their first time in Cheltenham and it was also my first time taking part in such a large high profile event. I wasn't sure what to expect and  I didn't have much time to prepare but I did my best to make new work as well as take part in the social media campaign in the run up to the event.
My stand was only a small one but it was still much more expensive than the events I had previously participated in. Added to this was the cost of getting prints framed, travel, accommodation and food. It was alot of work to get ready for such a large event and also took quite a few hours to install everything on the day.
It was a great opportunity to exhibit my collection of limited edition screen prints at a high quality event alongside many well know established designer makers. I am glad I was able to take part though I am still not sure it was right for my work. With hindsight there were things I could have done to display my work better and make more of the experience. Perhaps one day I will try again!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Brighton Print Fair

I am back screen printing in Birmingham after spending a few days at the first Brighton Print Fair which was held in the Phoenix Brighton. It was organised & curated by Tutton & Young who did an amazing job of publicising the fair as well as all the individual exhibitors. The exhibition style format & display of unframed work suited my screen prints just fine. It was great to be part of such an exciting show & to exhibit my work alongside so many printmakers I admire.
There was alot of work at the print fair which I am already familiar with including Belinda Chen's wonderful screen prints. Belinda was exhibiting as part of East London Printmakers where she prints her work. I've been a fan of her illustration & printmaking since seeing it when we both exhibited at the 'Handmade and Bound' artists' book fair many years ago. Her screen prints are so colourful, imaginative & full of detail!
I also love Jane Walker's reduction lino prints & it was a real treat to see an entire collection of them displayed together. I am drawn to the uniformity of her designs & the perfection of her printmaking. I like shininess of the inks as well as how smooth & flat the blocks of colour are. I was very lucky to meet Jane at the print fair & find out a little bit more about her work.
It was good to see such a variety of relief printing at the fair. I have only recently come across Bernard Lodge's lino cuts & wood cuts & the fair was a chance to see them close up. He has a very distinctive style & his prints are so unique. I love the bold graphic shapes, striking colour combinations & transparency of the inks.
Another relief printer whose work really stood out was Teresa Winchester. I've not seen her prints before & thought they looked stunning displayed on the black walls of the Phoenix. Her work has such a magical quality. I like the bold animal & bird characters combined with floral & foliage patterns against bright coloured 
Alongside the print fair there were printmaking workshops running at the Phoenix. I booked a place on Jane Sampson's three colour monoprint workshop. It was a great opportunity to learn from a professional printmaker. I really enjoyed the technique Jane taught us & I picked up some good tips. I even managed to avoid mark making for the entire session by using paper shapes instead of drawing! I would love to do another of Jane's workshops & also visit Ink Spot Press, the print studio she runs in Brighton.

I enjoyed my time at Brighton Print Fair & was sad when it was over but I felt like I had made the most of the experience. I was impressed with how well organised & publicised the fair was & from what I saw there were lots of enthusiastic visitors. I hope Tutton & Young decide to put on a second Brighton Print Fair!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Autumn Sunshine

Screen printing these limited edition three colour 'Autumn Sunshine' prints turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. Often I don't realise there's something wrong with a design until I've printed it. After the first attempt at 'Autumn Sunshine' I had to tweak the artwork, reprint the positives, re-coat & expose screens & mix new colours before printing more sunshines. Unfortunately I wasn't happy with the second attempt either so this one is actually my third! I think it was probably the pressure of creating new work for both Oxford & Brighton Print Fairs. I rushed & didn't do things properly which ended up costing me time & money.

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

After working on the commission for Handsworth Park Arts Trail I had just three weeks to get ready for the Autumn season of print fairs. The sunshine design I created for the commission got such a positive response when posted on social media I wanted to develop it to use for new prints. I'd been away from the printroom for almost a month so was feeling out of practice. I decided to start with the easiest prints first; some one colour A4 screen prints & two colour A6 greetings cards. It was good to be printing new work at last even though I did make mistakes!

Beautiful All Year Round

Summer was busy with workshops so it was nice to end it by working on something completely different. I was asked to create a design to be installed outside on a large plinth as part of Handsworth Park Arts Trail. The other criteria was that the design should be based on the wheel of the year so it had to show each season as well the text 'Handsworth Park, Beautiful All Year Round'. Luckily I know someone who prints vinyl wraps for exteriors so this was a great opportunity for me to work BIGGER & with digital print rather than screen print. I was able to incorporate many of my usual folk art elements. Aswell as creating new motifs especially for the commission I was also able to create new ones. The sunshine, trees, fox, butterfly & bird were drawn especially for the design but everything else had been previously used. Look carefully & you will see a familiar owl, hegdehog & rabbit!