Jenny Mason-Gunning: A Brief Glimpse into My Printmaking Journey
Growing up, I was surrounded by printmaking, thanks to my lifelong printmaker father and art teacher Mom.
The sights, sounds, and smells of ink, etching plates, and printing presses were my daily companions. At the age of 7, I created my first aquatint etching, a majestic whale, and that first-ever print reveal had me hooked for life.
As a child, I dreamed of becoming a printmaker. Drawing all the time. That childhood dream became my reality. Creating art isn’t just a choice for me; it’s an intrinsic part of who I am. I constantly produce new work because it’s a compulsion I can’t resist.
I permanently exhibit my work in my beautiful Gallery here in Ironbridge, which we have had for 18 years, before that I had a small Gallery in Ironbridge and before that, I was at the top of my garden.
I regularly enter printmaking exhibitions and competitions around the UK and as a business, we sponsor print fairs and t
ake our presses and I do the live printing demonstrations which I love doing.
In addition to my own printmaking, I take on commissions, making plates and print editions for fellow printmakers, galleries, and publishing houses.
In my printmaking studio I have several of our Gunning Etching Presses – these presses we hand build and sell all over the world, Dave Gunning my father designed these, way back in the 1970s and we have been selling them all over the world ever since. Dave Mason-Gunning my husband (Both my Dad and husband are called Dave!) now designs and builds these machines offering 12 standard models and bespoke, direct drive, geared and motorized. I give demonstrations inking and printing every type of plate showing not only how to ink up the plates but also how to set the pressure on the press. Over the years I have developed fantastic ways of inking plates, and brilliant registration systems, making printmakers’ lives easier and quicker. I also have developed my own etching and relief ink range as well as our Etching resists and roll-on grounds.
I run many workshops in all forms of printmaking 1 to 1s as well as groups, for all skill levels, from the very young to the very old. Equipping aspiring printmakers with the skills and equipment they need to bring their visions to life. Whether it’s within my own well-equipped print workshop, in their personal studios, or in educational institutions, I’m dedicated to nurturing the printmaking talents of others.
My inspiration comes from the awe-inspiring presence of megalithic monuments and the hauntingly beautiful remains of abandoned industrial sites. These places, slowly being reclaimed by nature, hold a special fascination for me. They inspire me to capture their essence through printmaking, allowing others to experience the beauty of these forgotten spaces, both today and in the future.
In my world, printmaking isn’t just a profession; it’s a lifelong journey filled with happiness and sharing, to get as many people printmaking as possible because it’s such a joy and also continue my own journey of making my own work, designing new tools and products that make printmaking easier and more accessible and more friendly for the environment.
I am now writing a book for Bloomsbury called Printmaking, A Step-by-Step Guide, which will be published in 2025/2026 – I can not wait to get this finished and to the publisher!