“I recently moved to Northumberland with my husband and daughter having set up my art business in lockdown 2020. I worked at a large corporation for about 10 yrs previously and left the company at the same time that I fell pregnant; it was time to pursue a different path. I wondered what I could achieve if I put my efforts into delivering my own ideas rather than spending all that energy making other people’s projects happen! I was very creative and arty as a youngster and spent a lot of my twenties drawing and painting – often commission requests for birthdays and gifts. I probably hadn’t picked up a paintbrush for 10 years before covid hit so it was a pleasant surprise to find out that I still had a creative streak. Now I can’t imagine a day when I don’t create something.”
“When my daughter was three months old, I treated myself to a day’s linoprint workshop at Kate Humble’s farm. I’m not sure why I chose linoprint to be honest – maybe because I thought it would give me a process to follow as I was feeling pretty rusty when it came to painting or drawing something. It was so wonderful to have a whole day to myself and learn something new. As normal, I over-complicated my design and didn’t manage to finish my piece but I loved the process all the same. I went on another course 6 months later and cut myself with a cutting tool – another unfinished lino!! Not an auspicious start but I was hooked all the same!”
I would describe my style as illustrative but also quite adaptable; it is my challenge to see where and how I can develop that style into something a little more untamed. Northumberland is the perfect place! I tend to lean towards capturing the landscapes surrounding me.
Moving to Northumberland meant I had to ‘start again’ with establishing my art but the local community are wonderfully welcoming and there have been opportunities around every corner. I really hope I can embrace this and use my art to contribute to both community initiatives and the local economy. I want to develop my Ingram series and offer up landscape workshops where people can come and create prints based on their visit to the area. I recently set up a Children’s Art club called Inky Fingers earlier this year and this has been a great stepping stone to giving me confidence to help other people get creative. It’s also been lovely to see the children’s faces as they learn to create a piece of art.
If I’m really honest, I didn’t do much research as I had experienced the press first hand at a workshop with Jenny; the existing list of professional printmakers using the press is also a good testimony! Shelley Wingrove (a wonderful printmaker based in Much Wenlock) first told me about Ironbridge Printmakers and I felt privileged to (at the time) live so close to this family run business set in an incredible town steeped in industry and history. The fact that the press was designed by a local master printmaker, is manufactured and produced by a family business and has been developed over decades is enough for me. Also, Jenny is incredibly generous with her knowledge and expertise so I know that there is support there if I need it. I have had to call her several times for printing support and she has always been at the end of a phone.
The reg bed is up there with the best thing since sliced bread. I even commissioned a second white reg-bed runner to sit on my surfaces so that I can ink up and measure up with ease. The ship-like wheel is also fantastic; having started off with the star shaped wheel, getting the round one has been a game changer and saved my dodgy shoulder from over-reach.
I have started studio workshops where workshop guests get to try out the press as well as hand burnishing techniques. They are really enjoying the experience of using the press and although most of my workshops are aimed at beginners, they take to the press very quickly.
Nope. Sorry to disappoint! But we do call the round turning handle the ‘Captain’s Wheel’ as my daughter likes to turn it for me. We pretend she is steering a ship!
Definitely see one in action first and get a workshop if possible. I found my day’s workshop with Jenny so useful. I got full use of a press whilst Jenny gave me tutiation in anything I wanted to know about printmaking. The press comes with a brilliant manual which has been so handy when setting up to print; it really does include every detail.
To see more off Anthea’s work you can find her at…
Thank you for reading!
All the best,
Ellie & The Team!