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Tag Archives: Ironbridgefinearts

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Printing with Stef: Savouring The Seasons

Savouring The Seasons – mezzotints and wrens    – Stefanie Smith

I think that to actually catch a glimpse of a tiny wren, is magical.  One of the smallest of our UK birds, it certainly makes sure that it is one of the loudest, as its trill fills the air with an impatience to be heard.  But to see one hop merrily through the trees always feels like a real treat.

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As I wander through my favourite woodland, the chorus of bird song is almost overwhelming and as always, this time of year seems to completely overload the senses….in a good way.  I always come back to my studio filled with anticipation of where my work will go next and I cannot help but to be led by the need to savour the seasons.  And so, when I sit, with my studio door open, my sketchbook fills with sketches of wrens and before long I am working at my next mezzotint plate.

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I must admit, I’ve got used to the speed of inking up my recent solar plates and then whizzing them through the Little Thumper.  Trying to get the variety of tones and details in the feathers that I really want is testing me now, as it’s been a while since I sat and gently scraped at a copper mezzotint plate. The process was really tricky without a decent press, as I need to test the plate regularly to see if I have scraped back enough to get the tones that I need. Now, I have the utter luxury of being able to do this.  Each time I’m sure that I’ve got it though, as I run it through the press, I realise that I’m being far too gentle. This is what I love though- scraping and burnishing becomes a form of meditating.  Test prints litter every surface and although I’m not there yet, a wren is starting to appear.

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Picture of Stefanie Smith

Stefanie Smith

Stefanie Smith
Painter & Printmaker
You will find me in the woods, listening for birds and looking for the tiny details that each season has to offer, often with a sketchbook in hand.
Born in London and raised in Hertfordshire, I graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 2000 with a degree in Applied & Media Art and the following year trained to be an Art and Design teacher, specialising in printmaking.
Now settled in Surrey, my work, inspired by beautiful local surroundings, often starts in paint but finishes in various printmaking techniques – particularly mezzotint and collagraph.
I exhibit with Surrey Artists and have been included in the V&A, London ‘Inspired By’ exhibition and New Designers in Islington, London. More recently, I have exhibited with Ironbridge Fine Arts as part of their Printmakers exhibition 2023.

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Printing with Stef: My Inspiration

The woods are without doubt my favourite place to be. Each path that I walk changes constantly as the seasons turn, and on each walk, I savour the details as I mull over how I can translate these moments into a sketch and then a print.

This week the birds have been competing with each other and the air has been filled with a cacophony of song.  On the floor of the woods, ferns are beginning to unfurl; their fronds a vibrant, emerald green next to the brittle, brown leaves that beech and oak trees discarded last autumn. If I’m lucky I will see some fungi, seeking the light after the torrent of rain that has fallen from the April skies.

printing with stef my inspiration

Between blades of grass, still glistening from rain, delicate Pleated Inkcaps stand.  These tiny parasols are also known as Japanese Umbrellas.  They have a very short 24 hour life span – appearing after rain has fallen, they mature, spread their spores and then….gone.  When I visited the same spot the following day, they were just a photograph on my camera. 

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Transferring these photos (alongside memories of muddy knees and stings from nettles, to obtain an image of sun lighting their delicate gills) to solar plates seems the perfect way to preserve such fleeting beauty and just a simple inking using Ironbridge Printmakers Intaglio Ink in Green-Black, gives me the print that I’m looking for. 

As the Little Thumper press works its magic, I look round at the prints littered around my studio – a ‘troop’ of Pleated Inkcaps that will last far longer than the real deal.

Featured Artist Ironbridge - Faith Chevannes Fine Arts Spring Exhibition copy

Celebrating Nature: Faith’s Artistry at Ironbridge Fine Arts Spring 2024

Celebrating Nature: Faith’s Artistry at Ironbridge Fine Arts Spring Exhibition

Join us for an exquisite journey through the world of printmaking at the upcoming Ironbridge Fine Arts Spring Exhibition, happening from March 1st to May 28th, 2024. We are thrilled to present Faith, a talented printmaker hailing from her studio in North Cornwall. Her artistry is a tribute to the delicate and fleeting moments that grace our precious natural world, with drawing at the very heart of her creative process. Faith specializes in crafting limited editions of drypoint intaglio prints, allowing us to revel in the mesmerizing allure of the medium’s velvety, rich burr lines.

In her latest creations, Faith delves into her profound affection for wild birds, infusing her work with a delightful sense of humor that captures the captivating charm of these feathered characters she’s observed. However, beneath the laughter lies a deeper concern for the environmental changes threatening their habitats and pushing them towards the brink of endangerment and extinction.

Faith’s artistic journey has taken her to renowned stages, including the Royal Academy (RA) Summer Exhibition in 2019, 2022, and 2023. She is also an esteemed member of the Royal West Academy (RWA) Artist Network and a resident artist at Tonic Gallery in Salcombe. Join us at the Ironbridge Fine Arts Spring Exhibition to witness her breathtaking creations and be a part of a powerful message about the importance of preserving our natural world.

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Our feature in Pressing Matters

We are extremely overjoyed to announce our resident and specialist printmaker Jenny Gunning has been featured in the latest issue of pressing matters. Jenny has a three page spread amongst other Gunning press owners in the magazine.

We have a good stock of the latest issue amongst older issues available to purchase in our shop or online.

Take a read as Jenny discusses her journey and passion for printmaking, family life and the challenge of running your own business.

Jenny Gunning feature in Pressing Matters

Jenny Gunning feature in Pressing Matters

Jenny Gunning feature in Pressing Matters

Thank you for reading!

Happy Printmaking!

All the best,

Ellie & The Team!

Tag us using the Hashtags…

@Ironbridgeprintmakers @Gunningetchingpress #GunningEtchingPresses  #GunningEtchingPress #JennyGunningPrintmaker

Picture of Ellie Williams

Ellie Williams

Ellie is a part of the Ironbridge Fine Arts team and has been for over three years, serving as an administrative professional and a printmaking assistant. With a specialised background and a BA (HONS) in Textile Design specialising in screen print & surface pattern design, her expertise enhances the vibrant, creative environment of our studio. Ellie's role involves supporting our printmakers and facilitating the diverse array of printmaking ventures, all while nurturing her own passion for colour and design within the flourishing artistic community at Ironbridge.

Fine Art Exhibition at Ironbridge Fine Arts Featuring Graeme Storey

Graeme Storey Exhibition -Summer 2023 Ironbridge Fine Arts

Framing Examples at Ironbridge Fine Arts and Framing

Visiting Ironbridge Fine Arts

Ironbridge Fine Arts is a gallery located in Ironbridge, Shropshire, UK, showcases a wide range of contemporary art from both local and international artists.

Here are some reasons why you might want to visit Ironbridge Fine Arts:

  1. Variety of artwork: Ironbridge Fine Arts offers a diverse collection of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, prints, and ceramics. You can browse a range of styles and mediums to find the perfect piece for your taste and budget.
  2. Unique finds: The gallery showcases many emerging and established artists that you might not find elsewhere. It’s a great place to discover new and unique artwork that will stand out in your collection.
  3. Expert guidance: The staff at Ironbridge Fine Arts are knowledgeable about art and can offer guidance on choosing the right piece for your home or office. They can also provide information about the artists and their work, which can add to your appreciation of the art you purchase.
  4. Exhibitions and Events: Ironbridge Fine Arts holds regular exhibitions, showcasing the work of individual artists or themed collections. Attending these events can be a great opportunity to meet the artists, learn more about their work, and purchase pieces from the exhibition. Find out more about the current exhibition and featured Artists
  5. Location: Ironbridge is a beautiful and historic town, known as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The gallery is situated in a lovely spot overlooking the River Severn and is surrounded by charming shops, restaurants, and cafes. A visit to Ironbridge Fine Arts can be a lovely day out in a picturesque setting.


Ironbridge Fine Arts View from Other side of the River Severn

Ironbridge is a fascinating place to visit; known for its important role in the Industrial Revolution and for being the birthplace of the modern iron industry. Here are some things to do in Ironbridge:

  1. Visit the Iron Bridge: This is the town’s main attraction and is the world’s first iron bridge, built in 1779. It spans the River Severn and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  2. Explore the Ironbridge Gorge Museums: This series of museums tells the story of the Industrial Revolution and the impact it had on the local area. The museums include Blists Hill Victorian Town, Coalport China Museum, and the Museum of Iron.
  3. Walk or cycle the Ironbridge Gorge: The Ironbridge Gorge is a beautiful area with plenty of walking and cycling trails to explore. You can enjoy stunning views of the river, forests, and historic sites along the way.
  4. Visit the Merrythought Teddy Bear Factory: This family-run factory has been making teddy bears since 1930 and offers tours and a factory shop.

5. Take a steam train ride: The Severn Valley Railway offers steam train rides from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster,  passing through the beautiful countryside and stopping at various stations along the way.

6. Enjoy local food and drink: Ironbridge has a range of restaurants, cafes, and pubs serving traditional Shropshire cuisine, including pies, sausages, and cheeses. 

Overall, Ironbridge is a great place to visit for history and nature lovers, as well as for those interested in traditional British food and drink.

Fine Art Exhibition at Ironbridge Fine Arts featuring Linda Samuel

Linda Samuel Exhibition – Summer 2023 Ironbridge Fine Arts

Come and immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes that Linda Samuel has captured in her latest collection of paintings. Born and raised in Ironbridge, Linda has been fortunate enough to call this beautiful county her home for her entire life. However, it is the breathtaking scenery of North Wales and the Lake District that truly inspires her work.

Linda’s passion for painting began in her teenage years and has since become a compulsion to capture the mood, atmosphere, and colors of the landscapes that surround her. Her use of texture and rich colors draws you in, allowing you to experience the power of the waves crashing against the shore or the peacefulness of the forest, making you feel as though you are right there with her.

Don’t miss out on the chance to see Linda’s incredible artwork, along with the other amazing local and national artists on display at our Summer exhibition. We can’t wait to share it all with you.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Gallery and sharing all the amazing Artists and Artwork

Customer Spotlight - Elena Cassidy Smith

Artist Spotlight- Elena Cassidy Smith

Elena is one of wonderful customers whose artwork we have enjoyed framing and seeing her artwork come to life. It’s been a delight working with her and seeing the beautiful pieces that she has created for her PhD. We sat down with Elena to discuss her work and how our framing and mounting services helped bring her visions to life.

What brought you to Ironbridge fine arts?Elena Cassidy Smith Blog with Ironbridge Fine Arts

“I needed to get some work framed for my practice-based PhD and I wanted to use a local framer. I have used Ironbridge fine arts in the last year for some work and was really impressed with the care and attention they give to helping choose frames, mounts, and glass.”

How did your journey into being an artist begin?

“I have been a freelance artist for many years. I completed my BA Fine Art degree in 1993. I then went on to complete an MA Fine Art qualification in 2019 and I am now currently undertaking a Phd. I have exhibited all over the UK and worked on many projects in the public realm. I have been a mentor for emerging artists, acted on advisory boards and I am now pursuing a teaching career alongside my own practice.”

How would you describe your artwork?

Elena Cassidy Smith Blog with Ironbridge Fine Arts“I am a live and visual artist whose work is concerned with site contextual or site-responsive situations that are sensitive to time, place, and people. My work often examines the overlooked and obscure, tapping into oral histories, collective understandings, and forgotten truths. I create narrative interventions that invite audiences to participate, comment and create. My work often sets up humorous or subtle paradoxes in the everyday and mundane and seeks to be a playful intervention in unexpected places.”

“I use a variety of materials in my work, with paper, textiles and old objects being consistently used to explore ideas. My work is often sculptural, but I also incorporate film, photography, poetry and performance into creating pieces.”

How do you plan to take your artwork forward?

Elena Cassidy Smith Blog with Ironbridge Fine Arts“My practice-based Phd is exploring the ontology of time. I am investigating temporal experience and temporal phenomenology through the lens of the philosophy of physics, theoretical physics and the social sciences. This enquiry has strengthened my research skills, stretched my artistic practice and broadened my understanding of transdisciplinary approaches to identifying new knowledge.” 

What would you say about the Framing, Giclee Printing and scanning services at Ironbridge fine arts?

“The services at Ironbridge fine arts are wonderful. Sarah and her team have been so helpful and have really understood my framing needs. I strongly believe in using local services where possible and I am fortunate to live so near this wonderful framers.”   

What would you say to someone who is thinking of using the services at Ironbridge Fine Arts?

“The framing is to a very high standard and the advice given when consulting about the choice of frame is excellent. The choice of frames, mounts and glass is so impressive. I would highly recommend the services.”

Elena Cassidy Smith Blog with Ironbridge Fine ArtsvHas the Ironbridge Fine Art’s team helped to elevate your artwork using the creative ways of bespoke framing and mounting a piece?

“Absolutely! Sarah has been so very helpful and knowledgeable about framing my unconventional pieces. Her expertise has been greatly appreciated.”

How can our readers find you?



Fine Art Exhibition at Ironbridge Fine Arts featuring Vic Sayers

Printmaking and Paintings by Vic Sayers Summer 2023

Fine Art Exhibition at Ironbridge Fine Arts Featuring John Roger Bradley 2024

John Roger Bradley Summer 2024