I am principally a printmaker. My prints are made in small editions that are genuinely limited by the hand crafted processes of their making. Working mainly in linocut and screenprint, I try to take my own approach to traditional, mainly wildlife subjects.
This has been a strange period creatively. Our routine and experience has not been all that different to our ‘normal’ pattern of life here at Craigshaw Barns Studio. We walk every day, (we are lucky to still be able to safely walk through quiet landscapes and wildlife habitats right on our doorstep) then I either work in the garden or on the house for a while and then go to work in the studio.
We are missing family and friends of course. But contrary to what one might expect, even given the natural worry and concerns we all have, the lack of deadline and visitor pressure actually only served to create a feeling of ‘can’t be bothered’ and for a while it all seemed a bit pointless!
I did do a small ‘fun’ print, which would normally have been for my ‘have a go’ Spring Fling sessions. And I have been writing and filming blog stuff, both for myself and others; and getting involved in a little NHS support fundraising. Mostly though, we used the fine weather to immerse ourselves in some heavy duty gardening. If there had been a May Spring Fling – it would have looked even better than normal for visitors!
All my prints are made in small editions which are limited by the very process of their making. And just before lockdown I had been working on what was a departure for me – some large scale seascape screen prints with poems, for Upland’s now postponed Across The Sea – North Channel project. But I decided, in this situation, that further free experimentation was not what I needed, but the calm steady discipline required to plan and make a large linocut and screen print combination.
So despite the continuing good weather, I made myself go back to work and I have progressed steadily with one of the biggest and most complex lino block reductions I have ever made. The images show the progress to date.
Spuggies is a reaction to the scores of house sparrows we have around. They sit, squabble and chatter in the bushes right outside one of the house windows and (apart from covering the car in various deposits and nesting material) are a constant delight. I hope the video helps to illustrate the peace and calmness I feel when quietly editioning a print that is going well.
This should be finished in time for my planned project for the Spring Fling Weekend; which is a daily video showing two or three prints every day; in close detail, with a spoken commentary about how and why they are made. I hope, much like the conversations I have over and over again to all of our visitors to the studio. Sadly though, people will have to provide their own tea and homemade cake!