Why did you choose to purchase a Gunning Etching press?
“I had started printing linocuts at first with a wooden spoon and then a relief press. However it was hard work and often didn’t give me quite the result I was hoping for in terms of even transfer of ink to the paper etc. I’d wanted a ‘proper’ press for a long time but always assumed they were out of my price range and too big and heavy for home use (especially in a relatively small space like I have). However, watching other printmakers on places like Instagram using etching presses at home made me reconsider. I researched a number of presses but kept coming back to Gunning. I knew of people online with these presses and could see the company was well established. Not only that but it was also clear that Jenny and Dave were both passionate about their work and would be available to answer any questions that I might have.”
What’s your favourite feature on the Gunning Etching press?
“That’s a tough one! One of the things I love most is that it’s really an ‘everything press’ not just an ‘etching press’. When I first bought it I was doing linocut prints which it works wonderfully for, and the range of runners available means I can adjust it according to whether the lino is mounted on another surface (which I do for reduction prints) or not. However more recently I have also started etching which of course it is also more than capable of printing too. It’s quick and easy to adjust the press to go between different media making it hugely versatile.”
“I first did printmaking on my art foundation course back in 1996/7 and absolutely loved it. I especially enjoyed etching – as someone who loves detailed work, the fine marks that were possible with etching were just wonderful. However, I wanted to be self-sufficient in my art practice and without a press at home (or prospects of affording one at that time) I felt it wasn’t for me. I went on to study fine art and illustration and eventually became a medical artist (my love of fine detail finding a natural home), a subject I now teach. However, I still longed to make my own work and try printmaking again. The recent catalyst behind taking it up again was moving house to somewhere where I finally had my own studio space. I could make art and not have to tidy it up before dinner! I’m not sure why, but after doing a few paintings that didn’t really excite me I made a linocut of a toad. In hindsight it wasn’t that great, but I loved it and was hooked (again)! I find the different processes involved in printmaking very appealing, the meditative nature of carving lino, even just cutting and preparing paper, it’s all very grounding. My spare time is now filled printmaking, both in lino and more recently etching.”
“I have a few different styles (which are influenced in part by which medium I’m using), although there is an overarching theme of nature and anatomy. Before becoming a medical artist, it was wildlife and animals that were my natural subject matter, and this is what I have returned to. Sometimes they just happen to have their anatomy on display! The creatures that I depict are often those more commonly overlooked, one of my favorite lino prints being of slugs for example! I often show part of the animals anatomy as this is a subject I find fascinating and just a much a part of creature as it’s external appearance. I like the effect this can achieve of the subject occupying a sort of liminal space between life and death. This was particularly successful in a recent etching I produced of my old cat Finnegan. Based on a portrait of him in life looking very handsome (he was a Maine coon) it was superimposed with the image of his skull (yes I dug it up!).”
Does your Gunning etching press have a nickname?
“Yes – it’s called Calcifer, after the fire demon from Howl’s Moving Castle. I’m not sure why, it just seemed to fit!”
What would you say to someone thinking about purchasing a Gunning etching press?
“It’s well worth it! You may need to save up, but it’s better to get one press that will last you a lifetime and do everything you ask of it rather than numerous cheaper options. I have no regrets – oh and it looks great too!”
“You don’t just get the press but all the support from Jenny and Dave too. Over the last year I’ve set up my home etching studio and Jenny has been great when I’ve needed to phone up to pick her brain on how best to do something.”
To see more off Caroline’s work you can find her on instagram as @erolinstudios or browse her website https://www.erolinstudios.com/
Thank you for reading!
All the best,
Ellie & The Team!
Tag us using the Hashtags…
@Ironbridgeprintmakers @Gunningetchingpress #GunningEtchingPresses #GunningEtchingPress #JennyGunningPrintmaker
If you have read to the bottom of this blog you are entitled to a free gift, please email Jenny@IronbridgefineArts.co.uk with your preferred printing Relief or Intaglio to claim. Postage of £6.99 will still apply.