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Meet the Maker: Rachael Haggerty

Meet the Maker: Rachael Haggerty

Hello, I’m Rachael and I am a printmaker based in Bath, UK. I generally work with linocut and mainly print in monochrome or bright primary colours. My work celebrates family life, nature and the local area.

Describe your printmaking process.

I normally sketch out a composition and, when I am happy, transfer it to the lino block using tracing paper. Recently, I have been experimenting with sketching straight onto the block and seeing how it progresses, rather than having a clear plan in mind. I love to see “chatter” and slight under printing to add character to the finished piece.

How and where did you learn to print?

I am self taught and started with a basic lino taster kit a few years ago; trial and error is the best teacher! There is a wealth of online video guides, including amazing Laura Boswell YouTube tutorials, and I have used a variety of books. The printmaking community is very welcoming; I have been delighted to receive so much encouragement and genuinely helpful advice through Instagram.

Why printmaking?

I started to take printmaking more seriously when we had our first son three years ago. Unlike painting, I find that I can make lots of progress on sketching, planning out and then carving a block in snatches of time and evenings while looking after our sons. Each part of the printmaking process is so rewarding, from the sensation of carving to inking up a block and, of course, pulling the first print to see whether the printmaking magic has worked (or not!!).

Where do you work?

My “studio” is a big box of all my kit and I take it to wherever is free in the house. There tends to be offcuts of lino scattered everywhere… I often print on the kitchen table and the prints dry on any available shelf. I would love to have a proper studio one day.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

There is no typical day - I work part time as a lawyer and am home with our children the rest of the time, so printmaking gets squeezed into nap times, evenings and weekends. Time pressure is a very effective motivator though and I find I can get lots done when I get started.

What inspires you?

Everything! I take a lot of inspiration from the things and people that are around me, so at the moment I have been working on prints inspired by family life including my toddler’s imagined dragon, Mary Poppins songs and my general obsession with getting enough sleep.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I really love my Hawthorn Roller and Cranfield's Caligo Safewash inks. Mixing and rolling out colours is such a visceral and enjoyable part of the process… cleaning up, less so.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

It’s normally the next thing that I am planning. I am still really proud of the first print I ever made (a cat) which was also the first print I sold to a member of the public.

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

I mainly sell through exhibitions and most of my prints on Instagram are for sale through DM. I also sell online through my Folksy shop. I am currently exhibiting with the Bath Society of Artists from 22nd April at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, and then with the Society of Women Artists from 6 June at Mall Galleries in London. I will also be exhibiting at 44AD Artspace in Bath from 12th - 20th May.

What will we be seeing from you next?

We have just had our second baby, so I suspect I will have a little hiatus and then will be itching to start new work in the late Spring.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

If you haven’t tried printmaking, give it a go and you might just become addicted. Printmaking has been such a great way for me to learn to be more decisive and embrace the beauty of the unintended, not just in art but life more generally!

To see more from Rachael, follow her on Instagram.

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