Meet the Maker: Buff and Blue Prints
My name is Hayley Anderson and I am a printmaker and artist from Lossiemouth in the North East of Scotland working under the name Buff and Blue Prints.
Describe your printmaking process.
I mainly work in linocuts and really enjoy the whole preparation process of the medium. My inspiration usually comes from a single image which is then built and layered as the drawing stage develops. I tend to start carving before I’ve drawn a final image onto the lino as I find that the pieces almost have a mind of their own when I’m in the process and other elements will start creeping in. I’ve never really gone for a minimalist look and my prints tend to have several different shapes and patterns included in the composition.
How and where did you learn to print?
I’m mostly self-taught although I was first introduced to the medium at college 20 years ago. I remember thinking at the time it was far too complicated and time-consuming and basically didn’t try it again until I bought myself a beginner’s kit a few years ago. Since then, it’s been a case of trial and error, plus obsessively watching other linocut artists process videos to try to pick up tips. I’m still learning and really hope that I never get over the joy of managing to pull off a new technique.
I really enjoy the physical aspect of printmaking and that you can create something wonderful from very little. I find carving lino an almost meditative practice and love to see the image develop from the tiny cuts and markings I make. There’s also the added surprise element of pulling that first print, hoping that all the hours of carving have created the image in your head. It’s probably my most favourite part.
Where do you work?
I work from my kitchen table at home in Lossiemouth, which tends to have mountains of different printmaking materials covering it. I am a very messy worker but can still manage to create amongst the chaos. Last year I made the decision to return to University to complete my BA Hons Fine Art and have just concluded year 2 at Moray School of Art which is part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. When I return in September, I will have a dedicated studio space to work from so finally my kitchen will be free of inky equipment for the first time in ages!
Describe a typical day in your studio.
There really isn’t a typical day – as well as my own print projects and Uni work during term time I also take commissions to create brand stamps and printed bags for other businesses. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing independent businesses from a hand-poured candle company in Wales, a cruelty-free skincare brand from Australia and a local sustainable luxury cashmere bedding firm in Scotland. I also teach Lino Printing workshops in my local area which I absolutely love. It’s a joy to watch people create their very first prints and I’m always amazed by the gorgeous results. I love that I have the mix of projects to keep me busy and it means that it never really feels like work.
How long have you been printmaking?
I bought a kit around 4 years ago and starting experimenting. I started small and to be honest, they were really terrible! My very first stamp was a tiny cactus that was barely recognisable and took around 10 minutes to do. My latest completed project took over a month of serious carving so I could say I’ve definitely improved in both patience and technique. Like anything else, printmaking is all about practice and it’s lovely to look back on how far I’ve come.
What inspires you?
I love botanical shapes and have around 19,000 photos on my phone which are mostly of leaves and trees! Most of my work will feature plants and leaves but recently I’ve started adding figures after taking part in some online life drawing classes. I’m not a confident portraiture artist so it’s been a massive challenge to create faces that I’m happy with and I’m always scrolling through Instagram to look at how other artists create shading on lino portraits.
What is your favourite printmaking product?
Changing over to Cranfield’s Caligo Safe Wash inks was a game-changer for me. Beforehand I was using water-based inks and had struggled to pull a decent print but now my work has vastly improved in quality. Their metallic inks are a dream too and give gorgeous results.
What have you made that you are most proud of?
My most recently completed work The Forest Queen was a huge step up in size and style for me. She’s a 76 x 76cm lino which is more than 4 times bigger than anything else I’ve done. I did masses of research for all the different elements contained in the composition; from the crown she wears taken from a 1930’s stage production of Midsummer’s Night’s Dream to the trees in the background which was based on the Alders described as being magical in George MacDonald’s book Phantaste published in 1858. I tried to emulate the style of classic botanists for the foliage surrounding the figure and create depth which was a departure from my previous two-dimensional compositions.
Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?
I post regular updates on my Instagram and Facebook and show what I’m working on. I love a time-lapse so quite often pop these up to show my progress. I sell through my website which contains a variety of prints and linens within the collections.
What will we be seeing from you next?
I’m currently working on a portrait of Hedy LaMarr who as well as being a 1940s movie star was also the inventor of frequency-hopping technology that was a precursor to the secure WI-FI, GPS and Bluetooth that we all take for granted now. I’m trying to challenge myself to work on pieces with more fine detail over the next few months before returning to Uni in September. I’m also hoping to return to holding classes locally now that meeting restrictions are starting to lift, I’ve really missed getting out and meeting new people.
Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?
Embrace your own style and don’t compare yourself to others. There are no mistakes in your work only the chance to change it for the better and enjoy the process.
To see more from Hayley follow her on Instagram.