Meet the Maker: Jennie Ing
Describe your printmaking process.
I make linocut prints by the reduction method. This is where all the colours come from the same piece of lino with the successive cutting away of the lino block and printing a new colour over the top of the last. The edition size has to be decided at the beginning as there is no going back once the lino has been cut again and the whole edition must be completed at the same time. As well as being risky, as you can’t be certain how well it will turn out, it is very labour intensive with long printing sessions.
How and where did you learn to print?
I did a Fine Art Printmaking and Book Arts degree at Croydon College before going on to Wimbledon School of Art to study for a Master’s Degree in Printmaking.
I think printmaking more chose me. On an earlier foundation course at Richmond College I tried various art forms through different modules and it was printmaking that seemed to fit my ideas and way of working. By the time I had completed my first degree I realised I wanted to work for myself as an artist and preferably in my own space as I’m easily distracted by working with others around. Though at times I do enjoy the company and support. I figured I could set up my own studio.
Where do you work?
On completion of my Master’s degree I bought a Victorian Albion press and set up studio in our garage space easing my carpenter husband out into a new shed in the garden. The garage has the height for the press and my overhead marble drying racks. I also like this space as the temperature is more constant, not too cold in the winter and not too hot in the summer.
Describe a typical day in your studio.
There’s not really a typical day, but my ideal day is having all day working on prints without need to go anywhere else. I start with a cup of tea and check emails and social media. If it’s a new print I will then be drawing. This can be quite intense and I need breaks, it’s also my procrastination stage and I will fiddle a lot, but once I get started I’m absorbed by it. First in my sketchbook then transferring to the lino. I will also need to cut paper down to size. Once I have made the first cuts I am ready to print. Depending on the size of the print itself and the edition size I could be printing for a couple of hours or all day before being ready to move on to the next stage in the reduction. Waiting for ink to dry is often the worst time. It could take a day or two but, especially in colder weather, several days, a week maybe. But that is time to turn to other jobs, sorting stock, mounting and framing for the next show, ordering materials, getting ideas for the next print and so on. There are also other things to fit into the working week. I might be packaging something for the post, with the necessary post office trip, or doing a gallery sit with one of the cooperatives, or some other job connected to the cooperative, or delivering work to another gallery. As a self-employed small business every job falls to the individual. It’s not all about the creative side.
How long have you been printmaking?
Counting the time I spent studying printmaking over 25 years, but as a full time self employed artist for about 18 or 19 years I think.
What inspires you?
I’m mostly inspired by architecture and our cities. I’m particularly drawn to London as it’s local to me. I love the way the old sits with the new. I also love it that some of the buildings have been there a long time and there’s some amazing history behind them.
What is your favourite printmaking product?
My durathene rollers. I have several in different sizes to use depending on the size of the print I’m inking. And my press, oh yes, my lovely 1847 Albion Press.
What have you made that you are most proud of?
That’s a difficult question. I was told when I started out that the last piece I have worked on will always be my favourite. But that’s not always true. Some have challenged me more and I’ve pushed myself further or in a different way. And it’s those that are special. In 2020 as we were going into our first lockdown I was working on 'Passing Storm'. Originally it was more about the view east over the Thames in London from Hungerford Bridge and was going to have a sunshiny day blue sky. But with more thinking time being “stuck” at home and the need to take my mind away from virus thoughts the idea of stormy skies grew. There had been a day the previous summer I had been caught in one such storm on a day out in London. It was going to be different for me.
Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?
I’m with Greenwich Printmakers, a cooperative with a gallery in Greenwich Market where I have work year round. I’m also with the Fountain Gallery near Hampton Court, another cooperative where I have my own fortnight show every year. I have work with several other galleries and take part in some art fairs including the Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead and Battersea and fairs at my local arts centre in Teddington. I try to keep my website updated with the shows I’m doing and galleries I exhibit with. I also sell from my website. And try to keep a presence going on social media, particularly Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
What will we be seeing from you next?
I don’t like to say too much about what I’m working on just incase it doesn’t turn out as well as I hope. But I can safely say I’m currently focusing on making some prints of the Thames in the centre of London. I’m trying to introduce a more playful element than I usually do and not sure how successful this aspect will be. I’m thinking of doing more of the river after I’ve finished these.
Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?
Some advice I was given early in my art career when I was sometimes struggling and tempted to give up on something was “make it work” or if I am about to start on something “keep it simple”. I have to remind myself often of these and I will pass the same advice on. And one I tell others (and myself) when they’re stuck is just to “do it” or “go for it” or “don’t give up”.
To see more from Jennie, follow her on Instagram!