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Meet the Maker: Fiona Wilson

Meet the Maker: Fiona Wilson

I’m Fiona, I am a screen printer and maker. I create happy colourful artwork and home accessories to make people smile and add some colour to their homes.

Describe your printmaking process.

I spent a year creating a print or collage a day a few years ago and this has given me a huge body of work to develop my character, patterns and ideas from. I love working with painted and printed papers, nothing much goes to waste in the studio as I tend to recycle it to start new designs. I work mainly with paper and wood, creating art prints and more 3D playful pieces, such as my wooden vases and flowers or my Mix and Match people.

How and where did you learn to print?

I retrained in my 30s and went back to university. I studied Surface Pattern and Textiles at Bradford College. We had a vast print room with the longest print tables I have ever seen and some fantastic tutors. I had a very happy 3 years there.

Why printmaking?

Well, I love colour, and mixing and matching inks is a lot of fun. Plus when you pick up that screen and see the results. I think it’s like opening up a present every time. I love teaching other people and had a great time teaching 6 years olds a few years ago who went “ooooo” every time they lifted the screen up.

Where do you work?

I have a studio based in Leek in Staffordshire. The building used to be a small Ginger Beer Factory. It’s my favourite place to spend my time, in fact, it’s hard to get me out of there sometimes.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I’m usually up quite early and tend to be in the studio by 8am. I start with some screen printing if I have orders to do so that I can leave things to dry while I get on with other things. I might be updating my website, or adding something to social media. If there are wooden pieces that need cutting I’ll head to the woodwork area and spend some time on the band saw and sander. If I’m really busy then my other half will help out too, getting some wood cut whilst I get on with printing and packing up orders. I try to do something playful creatively once a week, which might be experimenting with layering up screen prints or creating collage pages in my sketchbook.

How long have you been printmaking? 

I started university in 2006 – so nearly 14 years now.

What inspires you?

That’s really tough, as there is so much, but I do love vintage wooden toys and illustrations from kids books. I love the colour and pattern of Marimekko. I look at all sorts of things and I do love a good library and have my own stash of books that I’ve collected over the years.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I love the screen printing inks, whether it’s Speedball, System 3 or fabric-based ones, as they give you the flexibility as a screen printer to play with colour, opacity and layering.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

I love my wooden products. They are a bit different, playful and I have a lot of fun making them and developing new ideas.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

You can find my work on Instagram and my website. I normally sell at markets but sadly lots not happening this year, but I have got some online events coming up, which you can find out about on my Instagram or you can sign up to my Print Peeps Newsletter.

What will we be seeing from you next? 

I am busy working on an online course at the moment which I am really excited about. It’s going to be about simple and accessible painterly printmaking techniques and lots of colour and pattern.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Practice and keep creating as its the only way to get better at it and find the stuff you love doing. Enjoy it! Sometimes it’s frustrating when things don’t work the first time but equally some of my best ideas have come from mistakes and happy accidents, so keep an open mind. And don’t give up, I’ve screen printed on dining room tables and washed screens out in the bath when I’ve had to.

To see more from Fiona follow her on Instagram and check out her website.

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