Blog menu

Meet the Maker: Sue Lewry

Meet the Maker: Sue Lewry

How and where did you learn to print?

A decade ago, when I first stepped into a print workshop, I met print technician and artist India Ritchie, who taught me various printmaking methods while studying at Arts University Plymouth.

India taught me intaglio, relief, and screen print processes, giving me a well-rounded insight into print. The workshop became a playground of image-making possibilities for me. I fell in love with the tactile nature of print.

After graduating in graphic design, I got lucky and got a job assisting India one day a week. I also attended short courses to immerse myself before I landed in screen print as my primary process. It's important to mention that I taught myself a lot through trial and error and simply getting stuck in and making an inky mess.

Image Credit: Rae Warne

Why printmaking?

My journey from graphic designer to printmaker has been a pretty gradual one. I vividly remember when I pulled and revealed my first handmade screen print. It was a transformative experience for me, and from that moment on, I fell hook, line, and sinker for the possibilities of printmaking and decided to pursue my newfound passion, specialising in screen print.

The printmaker's rituals are essential for me, from putting on my well-inked-up apron to learning the nuances of my craft to handling the tools and materials, improvising solutions, being on my feet and feeling the labour of my work ache through my body at the end of the day. The kinaesthetic approach to printmaking ignited something dormant in me ten years ago; it resonated – and from that first time applying ink with my hands and pulling the squeegee across the paper surface, I knew I'd found my thing.

Image Credit: Rae Warne

Where do you work?

I run my screen print space from Alma Yard Studios. From there, I make high-quality, affordable print pieces alongside commissions and continued experimentation with paper and textile processes, including woodwork and doll-making.

Colossal is a social project I run; see what I get up to in the pictures below. It's an innovative mobile print workshop aiming to innovate and deliver printmaking experiences, reaching a wider audience and involving communities. Through this initiative, I aim to bring print to the people, harnessing the power of printmaking to engage and ignite creativity in others.

Image Credit: Dom Moore

Describe a typical day in your studio.

My natural rhythm for things starts at around 4pm. I do some faffing around before that, tying up loose ends, phone calls, emails, writing, planning, etc. I focus on my work and get going when the flow kicks in.

Image Credit: Tom Carder

How long have you been printmaking?

I'd say appropriately since 2016, when I started to commit myself to print, started exhibition and selling work and moved away from Graphic Design. 

Image Credit: Tom Carder

What inspires you?

Fashion imagery, especially from the 1960s. I loved the bold graphic shapes created for the advertising at that time. I'm interested in finding images and giving them a new home and context in this day and age.

Image Credit: Rae Warne

What is your favourite printmaking product?

Jacquard Solar Gold ink is dreamy ink, and I love the quality when it meets the paper surface I print on. I also love Somerset Satin. It's got such a smooth surface, and the deckled edges give it an extra unique feel.

Image Credit: Rae Warne

What have you made that you are most proud of?

I screen-printed a human-sized puppet for my master's degree final project. Making a screen print my 5ft 7’’ size was an epic task. It took lots of physical labour and planning. My husband had to get stuck in and help me handle all the materials during its production.

It took 8 sheets of 70x100mm of G F Smith Transclear paper, all cut and machine stitched, to construct the puppet form. It's the strangest-looking piece of work I have ever created, something that, aesthetically, I'm uncertain about. That was the whole point - to make something purely from imagination without needing any validation from an audience. It was something that emerged out of me from within. I like the challenge of staying with a concept or idea through a highly technical and systematic printmaking process.

Image Credit: Kinga Krzyminska

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

I've got an article in Pressing Matters Magazine Issue 24. My website blog is also an excellent place to see recent projects I've been involved in.

I have a small shop there and update products when I get time to do new work. I sell from my studio at open studio events, too! Instagram is an excellent place to stay abreast of things, and sign up for my monthly newsletter for sneak peeks about projects, collaborations and new print releases.

Image Credit: Rae Warne

What will we be seeing from you next?

Alongside developing some prints for my shop, I will mentor other creatives to realise their ideas and ambitions. This is new for me, and I'm excited to embark on this in 2024.

Image Credit: Dom Moore

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Printmaking is full of possibilities; enjoy the process and keep making - no matter what! Do that thing you are scared to do; that is what you need to get started.

To see more from Sue follow her on Instagram and sign up to her Newsletter!

Back to blog