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Meet the Maker: Kathy Hutton

Meet the Maker: Kathy Hutton

Hi, my names Kathy Hutton, I’m a printmaker working out of my home studio in Wiltshire where I live with my husband and 3 girls.

In my work I combine many different printmaking techniques to produce my original one of a kind prints and I also run small group workshops teaching some of these techniques at my studio and for other venues in the South.

How & Where did you learn to print?

I studied Printed Textiles at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee many years ago with Printmaking as a support subject. This gave me a great grounding in Silk screen printing but also a passion for all methods of hand printing.

When I graduated I went on to work freelance in Surface pattern design for Habitat, Heals and The Conran shop and later moved into a buying and product development career, but I kept the printmaking up as a hobby in the evenings, always knowing it was something that I wanted to do more with in the future.

Why Printmaking?

As a child I visited a local Art Gallery in Liverpool with my family and can remember trying silk screen printing for the first time; I was instantly hooked. A few years later, my dad made me a basic mesh screen and we bought some fabric inks. Using stencils and hot wax I fashioned some simple designs. This ‘heath robinson’ DIY approach to printing has stayed with me and influences how I print in my home studio without much expensive equipment.

Where do you work?

I’m really lucky to have a fairly large studio space at my home. The previous owners built an extension designed as a summer room, It links to the house but also feels a bit out on a limb, so actually it’s perfect. I’m still physically in the house which is important while my girls are so young, but it feels very separate and the children don’t keep popping in!

The room as large windows on 3 sides, but doesn’t get much direct sunlight, making it ideal for working and teaching my workshops in.

Describe a typical day in the studio?

A typical day is tricky to pin down as my youngest daughter is still at home, so I currently only have 2 short school days without her around to work in. Because of this, these days are pretty much reserved for a quick trip outside and studio time. My day would always start with tea, in fact many cups of tea punctuate my day. Any orders that have come in will be packaged up, ready to go to the post office later.

I’ll try to get most of my printing done in the daytime so that I can check how the colours are looking against each other in natural light. A lot of drying time needs to be factored in to printing as you want each colour to dry completely before layering down the next one; often I’ll have 2 or 3 different prints on the go or I’ll use the in between time to plan and sketch out ideas. Having said that I’m not a great planner, I naturally seem to work more intuitively, changing things as I go along. As each layer goes down I might get a feel that the print is shifting in another direction. I use coloured pencils to help me work out my options as I’m going along and try to mix my inks to match.

I try to keep admin jobs and preparation such as cutting papers and stencils for the evenings when the kids have gone to bed. I’ll also try and do some sketching in the evenings too as this really helps clarify ideas.

What inspires you?

Being out in the countryside is my main source of inspiration. I try to get out every day, I’ll often walk the short distance cross country to the post office and combine the trip with a forage for plants that might inspire a new print. Being out in the open is normally when an idea will spark, often from something that I may have passed or seen a thousand times. It could be the last leaf clinging to a branch, the formation of a seed head, a berry or seed on the path in front of me; but on that particular day I see it in a different light and suddenly I know what to do, its like two thoughts collide – right place, right time. I’m constantly picking up little nature treasures and stuffing them in my pockets, I’ve quite a collection now. 

Walking or running outside also gives me some much needed thinking space that helps to bring ideas that might have been bubbling away under the packed lunches and laundry up to the surface to breath and sort themselves out! I always come back home feeling like my ideas have gained a bit of clarity or direction.

Favourite printmaking product? 

As I use many different techniques, there are lots of products that I love, but if I had to choose just one it would be a tube of Caligo Safe Wash Black Ink

It’s the ink that I use for my mono-printed line work which forms part of almost every print I create and which has become my signature style. I love its texture, consistency, its intense blackness and I even love the smell of it as I open the tube! It also helps that it cleans away with water or a wet wipe even if I’ve been naughty and have left it out to dry for a day or two! 

Drawing with a mono-print line is where I feel most connected to my work. There’s a sense of freedom and spontaneity that comes with the fact that I’m not in complete control of the marks that will be made. It’s this very loss of control that gives me the confidence to draw.

What have you made that your most proud of? 

The project that I’m most proud of is one that I did for a primary school a few years back. The school commissioned 4 prints to represent the school houses named after the 4 villages that closed to create the current school. I worked with the children who made their own line drawings of the villages and I used these drawings to create 4 large prints in the house colours.

Where can we see your work?

I sell online through my Etsy shop KathyHuttonPrints where I have one off prints and small runs of original prints. I also have a small online shop selling my botanical prints and sell my work and teach workshops at Nineteen, an artisan
boutique in Clevedon, Bristol.

What can we be seeing from you next?

I’m excited to be working on some new drawings that are already sparking ideas for a new series of prints which I hope to have ready this spring.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers?

For anyone just starting out, I’d say to be a little bit brave, start showing your work & put it out there. The creative community is incredibly supportive and can offer so much advice and networking opportunities. Take things one small step at a time and keep believing in yourself.

Find more of Kathy Hutton’s work: 







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