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Meet the Maker: Sue England

Meet the Maker: Sue England

Describe your printmaking process.

Ideas come first and they can come from anywhere! Landscape and the immediate natural environment is a constant source. I draw and refine and draw again. I collect colours from nature, from magazines, from other people’s work. I like to mess about with different print methods and don’t get to hung up with the ‘right and wrong way’ idea of process. Experiment, try things, discard, eliminate, start again.

How and where did you learn to print?

 Did some basic work at Art College back in the day, but always wanted to try again and didn’t do that until I retired as a graphic designer – a bit of a wait! Then I did a few day courses, went to a studio space in Portsmouth and then on to Handprinted – what a fantastic resource virtually on my doorstep! Then teaching myself by trial and error and talking to other printmakers.

Why printmaking?

It’s a wonderful counter balance to painting. I’m also an oil painter and a very messy one at that. Printing is another discipline. You need to approach it in a different way. More precision, more working things out and planning, being clean!

Where do you work?

When I want to print bigger than A3, I go to Handprinted and use their fabulous space and facilities. For smaller screen printing work, I use the kitchen (luckily I have a big kitchen space) and last year I bought a 70×50 etching press which is housed in my extremely cramped garden shed. BUT it makes you get organised and makes you tidy. I like to keep my printing space separate from my painting which is in another studio just down the road and can be much messier.

screen print, lino print and collage

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I usually do my ‘planning’ in the evenings, so that when I get to the ‘doing’ stage I can crack on and try out the ideas that have been perculating. If making a plate-collograph or lino mainly, I will have already prepared that. If using photo screens, I will have got that already done so the screens are ready to go. I then like to set up the equipment, prepare the space, cut the paper etc, all of which gets your head in a calm space. I like mixing colours and trying out sample prints as part of the process and may not try any actual ‘finished’ prints until much later or even another day.

collograph and screen print

How long have you been printmaking?

I started about 10 years ago but haven’t done it all that time as the painting is very important to me too. Now, the year tends to split and I print more during the winter months. I do like to refresh my practise with short courses when I can as you always learn something new which then feeds back into the work.

What inspires you?

Anything! I love looking at other people’s work and trying to work out how they have done it! The outdoor environment is a constant source. Walking and being IN the landscape will always set me off with some ideas. I love simple texture and like the way different kinds of print making can be combined.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

Blimey, I don’t have enough knowledge to really say. I will always ask advice from those who do, depending on what I want to try and achieve. I love my heavy roller and tend to use Akua intaglio inks at home and System 3 Acrylic and medium for screen printing.

screen print from photo exposures of drawings

What have you made that you are most proud of?

That will always be changing. I was pleased with a series of prints a couple of years ago about seeds, which led on to me using further ideas incorporating collage. At the moment I am quite pleased with some books I have made (after some courses, one of which was at Handprinted), which again require a different discipline. The main reason initially, was to use up all those printing scraps we accumulate and have sitting in folders and boxes, but now I seem to be obsessed with the actual books!

using pieces of old prints and papers in stitched books

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

I usually do the Chichester Art Trail, the first two weekends in May at my home and in my studio. I am involved with 2 Art Groups, ARTEL and OCTAGON who exhibit annually, usually at the Oxmarket (In July and September respectively). Wills Art Warehouse in Putney have my work (mostly paintings) and have taken me to the Bristol and Battersea Art Fairs in previous years. I will have work in the Clarendon Gallery in Mayfair from 17-23 January 2020 as part of the Sky Landscape Artist of the Year Exhibition, in which I was a finalist this year. Otherwise, I post venues as they happen on my Instagram and website. I am always happy for people to come round and see my work with ABSOLUTELY NO OBLIGATION to buy, they just need to get in touch.

using pieces of old prints and papers in stitched books

What will we be seeing from you next?

I am off to New Zealand at the end of January which I know will provide lots of inspiration, but no idea what! I want to try out more experiments with print work developing ideas and process and looking to simplify and contrast.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Just DO IT! Process is the key and ideas come from engaging and drawing, always go back to drawing as the starting point and then draw again!
Instagram – 28sueengla0547
Facebook – sue.england.39

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