Time for Some Reflection

The start of a new year invariably signals a time to look back and reflect on what has been before making plans for the year ahead. 2013 was a really good year for me on many levels but I ended it feeling frazzled and burnt out. Working at such an intensity is not good for the soul and it certainly wasn’t good for this blog 🙂 Three months have passed since I wrote anything here. I was swept along on a wave of printing for exhibition deadlines and orders and time to think was severely lacking. It became a standing joke that my boyfriend would text me to say goodnight just as I was about to start printing another collagraph and I now know Sailing By by heart and could probably list all the places covered in the shipping forecast. Where would I be without Radio 4?!

I’ve had a great year though. I took part in 20 exhibitions and events and lost count of the workshops that I taught. I completed my second year of Joan Newall’s bookmaking course and have started my third. I also went on Alice Fox’s rusting workshop and Jane Littlefield’s stained glass workshop. I attended lots of exhibitions and previews and helped to set up a printmakers’ networking group. My prints have sold well and I’ve met some lovely people that have bought them. To my astonishment, one collagraph print proved to really strike a chord with people. I designed ‘The Way Through the Woods’ in April and it was an edition of 50. By October it had totally sold out! I would love to be able to repeat that with another print but you never know what is going to capture people’s imagination and so I’ll just continue to make things from the heart and hope that what makes me tick, will inspire other people too.

The Way Through the Woods

In the months leading up to Christmas I realised that if I want to feel happy and fulfilled in the longterm, I need to rethink how I work. It really isn’t easy to turn down opportunities when you are a full-time artist and even though I only have myself to support, the pressure is on to ensure that I make enough to cover my bills and pay my rent. I also strongly believe that you just don’t know where some of those exhibitions, events etc. might lead and, anyway, I do actually thrive on being busy but perhaps not quite as busy as last year!

2013-08-18 10.26.45(This is from Art in the Pens in Skipton, I hope to be doing it again this year and also one in Carlisle!)

So I’m starting 2014 with a different goal. I’m going to pare down my calender somewhat and give myself plenty of time and headspace for developing ideas. Without that, it is hard to make meaningful work. I’ve organised a lovely programme of workshops with ArtisOn Ltd. and will start that in mid-March and I have a few exhibitions pencilled in my diary that should punctuate the year nicely but mainly I will be working on a body of new work for my exhibition at Inspired By…Gallery in Danby. This takes place in November and continues into 2015. I was invited to show there by Sally Ann Smith of the North York Moors Park Authority and it was a lovely coincidence because I was on the verge of approaching her to apply to exhibit. I’ve asked ceramicist Charlotte Morrison to share the space and together we will be creating work inspired by the national park. We’re calling our show ‘New Ground’ and I’ll be blogging about it from now until the opening as I go out into the field and gather ideas for new work.

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I’m also returning to Ålgården in Sweden in February. That will really help get the year off to a good start. I invariably find January and February quite hard. My fellrunning prevents me getting such bad SAD symptoms nowadays but motivation can be at a low. I’m being kind to myself this year and have lined up enough workshops to pay my bills and am allowing myself the rest of the time to do whatever comes easily. I’m really enjoying doing a bit of reading and research about printmaking and I’ve had some great networking days already. In fact, I actually feel raring to go!

My next blog post will be about my trip to Cornwall next week when I will be ‘artist in residence’ at Alverton Gallery in Penzance. I’ll spend three days printing in the gallery to coincide with an exhibition of etchings by Edward Bouverie Hoyton at Penlee House and Gallery.

Bookmaking: Part 2

Oh dear, I’m not awfully good at blogging. My main problem has been having to prioritise and the time I would have taken to write a post has been used for printing or urgent admin. It has been a really, really busy summer and I’ve been working pretty much every day and night apart from when I took two weeks off to go on holiday with Brian. We just jumped in the car and headed north to Scotland complete with Harry the wonderdog and our tentipi. With no plan but some good ideas, we visited Glencoe, the Isles of Skye, Harris and Lewis, Loch Ness and Fort William (for a quick scoot up Ben Nevis). We ran everyday, swam in the sea and visited artist friends in the Outer Hebrides. It was brilliant.

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I came back with lots of ideas for prints and feeling refreshed. I then had  time off with Mum on her recent visit. Both of those ‘time outs’ were just what I needed and I feel almost sane again 🙂

The upside of being so busy is that I am also selling lots of my prints and my work is reaching a wider audience which has led to some exciting invitations for exhibitions and some new galleries selling my work…more on that in a future post.

I promised that I’d show some of the other books that I’ve made as a result of Joan Newall’s excellent bookmaking course and as I am about to begin year 3, here they are.

This is a star book and is called ‘The Rookery Book’. It has a photopolymer print cover and the inside is cartridge paper with photopolymer and relief printing.

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This book is a concertina book and is called ‘Seven for a Secret’. It is collagraphs printed on hahnmuhle paper with a monotyped cover and blind embossed text.

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And finally, here is my favourite book of the trio, ‘As the Crow Flies’. It is a gallery book and has a monotyped cover with block prints on hand dyed paper inside plus the text is of haiku that I wrote about members of the crow family (jackdaws, rooks, crows etc) over the course of a year.

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Well, I hope you liked the books. This year’s theme for our course is ‘inside’ and we are going to explore dying papers, bleaching, rusting and wax as well as pushing some of the book forms we’ve already learnt in new directions. I’m really looking forward to it.

Bookmaking: Part 1

It has been a really busy time for me over the last few months and I feel like I’ve worked harder than I have ever worked before. There have been a lot of late nights in the studio and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard the Shipping Forecast and the National Anthem played before having to resort to some comedy podcasts to keep me going. Having said that, I’m certainly not complaining. In this difficult economic climate, I count myself as very lucky to be able to do what I do and make a living as an artist (just about!) whilst many are struggling. It is not always easy being on my own with only one income coming in but the sense of satisfaction from knowing that I can totally support myself doing what I love makes it all worthwhile.

Life can’t be all work (even if that work makes you happy) and I do do other things to keep myself amused and inspired. Fellrunning and having adventurous weekends with Brian is one way and playing about making artists’ books is another. For the last two years I have been really fortunate to have been attending a bookmaking course at Number Six Studio run by the fabulously talented and inspirational artist, Joan Newall. She is part of a group called Page, Paper, Stitch and you must check out their website to see her work. On Saturday we put up the exhibition of our final projects and those of Joan’s students on her courses in surface textiles and machine embroidery. The exhibition opens this Tuesday (9th July) evening at Number Six Studio Gallery, Pateley Bridge, 6-8pm and is then on daily until Sunday 14th July, 10am – 4.30pm.

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Our theme for the year has been ‘worn surfaces’ and I have chosen to concentrate on the fragments of blue and white china that I have been finding on one of my favourite woodland walks by the Burn in Masham. During the summer, the little shards are often obscured by foliage but in the winter the porcelain pieces shine starkly through the rotting leaves. I’ve been collecting them and looking more closely at the details. Traditional willow pattern pieces show pagodas, cherry trees, bridges and fisherman and are the fragments of larger scenes so that to hold a piece in my hand is a glimpse into the life of the person that owned the plate but then beyond to the designer that painted it and beyond again to the story that they depicted. There are also pieces with ornate flower designs and trailing vine patterns that echo the plants and vegetation amongst which they were discovered. The layering of imagery and narrative is something that I employ in my printmaking and I was drawn to the idea of using photographic imagery taken from the china and combining that with print. I wanted to create objects that would provoke in the viewer the same emotional response that I got when I first discovered each piece.

Throughout the year I have been developing ways of creating papers that give a feel of the forest floor and I have created a box covered in the papers so that when the viewer lifts the lid to discover the sections within, it might feel like looking amongst the leaves in the woods.

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Within the box there is a selection of the pottery shards and a book. The content of the book has been created from cyanotypes of the exquisite fragments and I’ve contrasted these with monotypes of natural forms found in the vicinity. I’ve used burning on the page edges to give the feeling of loss and age but also to hint at the home and hearth. Long ago, these pieces of pottery would have been used by somebody, maybe even daily, and that life is remembered here.

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I really loved just playing about in the studio. The cyanotype part of the project took a lot of work and experimentation. I coated the papers and developed them in the sun using transparencies that I’d made. By working in Photoshop I was able to create negatives from my digital photos that could then be used for the positive prints. I was a bit over enthusiastic and waded in without any prior knowledge of the process and this meant that I made a lot of mistakes…I then read the instructions! I’m still working on a wall piece which will fold up into a book using small pieces of Du Chene paper, cyanotype, embossing and burning but it will take a while to iron out some of the problems I’m having and I will wait until I have more time for ‘playing’.

The exhibition looks great and the variety and quality of the other bookmakers’ work is astonishing. None would look out of place in a good gallery. I can’t wait to see the textile students’ work too.

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Above is my work in situ along with the first ever lidded box that I made, a Belgian secret binding book and a hard bound book all made on the course. I really do love making books and think that they are a great medium for a printmaker. Later this week I will write another post with some examples of the other methods that I’ve explored on Joan’s course and my trio of crow books.

 

Extreme Printmaking!

It’s been a busy few weeks. Last week was an exciting mix of workshops and meetings and culminated in the Connections North Seminar at Harrogate Studio Theatre. This concentrated on the artists residency opportunities available to artists in North Yorkshire . Arts Connections had invited me to speak about my experience of doing my printmaking residency at Ålgården in Sweden. Others giving presentations were representatives from the Finnish, Scottish and Swedish centres as well as Sarah Smith, a fellow artist who did a stone carving residency in Sweden, and a representative from the Arts Council of England. It was an exciting and inspiring day and I was especially pleased to see Christina Lindberg and Anna Mattsson again.

This week I have been mainly outdoors!

A few months ago Paul Mosley, Hackfall Officer for the Woodland Trust, asked me if I would be interested in running an Inset day for teachers at Hackfall Woods with the emphasis on printmaking outdoors. Always up for a challenge and with Hackfall  being a favourite place of mine, I agreed. 27th March seemed a long way away and I was sure that on the day I would be leading a group of teachers happily making prints in the sunshine as the birds sang. Suffice to say that, as the snow fell and then fell again, I have been worrying about the workshop for some weeks!

I’m a bit of a perfectionist and tend to be meticulous in my lesson planning so I knew that the only way to ensure success was to do a dry run of the workshop the day before it took place. That way I could ensure that everything would work in the current weather conditions. So I can actually say that I spent two days printmaking in the snow 🙂

Using ArtisOn as a base, Paul and I met our 12 teachers along with Hackfall volunteer Sue Cockcroft, who was invaluable as a printmaking assistant. We then set off to Hackfall in the minibus. Paul had explained the idea of story sticks and a couple of the teachers decided to have a go. Story sticks are a way to engage a child’s attention right from the start of the visit by getting them to look for found objects to attach to their stick using rubber bands throughout their walk. This provides a visual record of their journey through the woods. Apparently it stems from an aboriginal practise.

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I then discussed the Geoartcache project that I was commissioned to do by Chrysalis Arts for North Yorkshire Open Studios last year. I’ve created a trail in the woods that combines printmaking, book art, wildlife and folklore. Further details are on the Geoartcache website. Originally the trail consisted of 10 caches and the book cache but it has been adapted to allow for the caches that have gone AWOL due to flooding, storms and skulduggery! There are now six stamp caches and the book cache so do go and have a look if you are in the area.

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Slipping about a bit, we headed down the hill for a spot of bark rubbing and the chance to ‘meet a tree’ before heading to the ‘beach’ to do sun printing (ha!). I love sunprinting and it has so much scope as an educational tool. It is based on the principles of cyanotype which was discovered in the nineteenth century and became popular with engineers as a low cost way of reproducing their designs as ‘blue prints’. Anna Atkins used it to record her extensive plant and seaweed collection and these were collected together in what is generally considered to be the first book published with photographic illustrations. She is also considered by some to be the first female photographer although that is open to speculation with Constance Talbot (Henry Fox Talbot’s wife) often being cited as the first (amongst others). Anyway, the process is great for combining science and art and I soon had my teachers creating photograms by looking for interesting found objects such as leaves, twigs, feathers and sand to create images with. They then laid the objects on the light sensitive paper and placed a piece of perspex over the top to hold them in place whilst we waited for the weak sun to do its work.

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Fortunately, you can sunprint even when its cloudy so within ten minutes the exposed parts of the blue paper had turned a very pale bluey white and the paper was ready to be developed in my little tub of river water,

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The chemical in the parts of the paper that have not been exposed to UV light are water soluble and wash away leaving the paper white whereas the UV exposed parts turn a dark blue. The blue deepens as the paper dries to become a beautiful cyan blue (a clue is in the name).

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I layered all the developed prints carefully in small sheets of blotting paper to dry and we headed along the muddiest path in Hackfall to check out one of my geoartcaches, ‘Waterdog’. I retold the story of St.Cuthbert and the otters and demonstrated the stamp and then we headed to my favourite folly, Fisher’s Hall, for a spot of monoprinting. I love this folly. Its a magical and meditative spot where you can sit and watch the river whilst listening to the birds. Here it is earlier in the year.Image

I had to use oil-based water soluble relief printing ink from Lawrence Art Supplies as my speedball inks didn’t perform very well the day before because of the cold.

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Everyone managed to make some lovely monotypes despite cold fingers but we decided that plasticine printmaking at the pond might just tip some of the less hardier members of the group into hypothermia so, instead, we headed up to the banqueting house to admire the view across the valley and in the other direction, to Mowbray Castle.

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Chris was waiting with his minibus at the car park to take us back to ArtisOn for lunch. Sue Palin spoilt us with three delicious soups and bread followed by scones and two kinds of cake 🙂 Full up and a bit rosy cheeked from the snow, I then set about showing the teachers how to make prints and stamps from funfoam, how to explore textures of found objects by printing from plasticine and the amazing things you can do with relief collagraph techniques. None of which need a press or any expensive materials. Here’s one of my collagraph sample boards:

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The teachers getting stuck in to making stamps.

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All in all it was an excellent day and proved that the weather should be no obstacle to having a good time! In fact I distinctly recall the first workshop that I ever did for the Woodland Trust which involved me leading a group of printmakers around Hackfall in the pouring rain to gather inspiration for two days of collagraph printmaking. The results were amazing and reflected the weather.

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So, if anybody is now keen to come printmaking in the woods, Paul is running a Family Day at Hackfall on the 10th April, 11am – 4pm. There will be pond dipping and I will be based in the Rustic Temple doing printmaking. Adults and children are welcome to come and have a go. For more information visit the Hackfall website. Booking not required. Hope to see some of you there and perhaps we will have some sunshine! 🙂

 

Telling Tails

I’ve just had a little flurry of activity with regards to exhibitions and I now have my prints on display at Feathered Friends, Cambridge Contemporary Art & Bird’s Eye View, Leeds Craft Centre and Design Gallery.

On Wednesday last week, glass artist Jane Littlefield, gallery manager, Alison Holt, and I hung the Telling Tails exhibition at Rural Arts in Thirsk. In the beginning it was quite a conundrum to work out how to display Jane’s beautiful three dimensional glass pieces and my prints together but with the use of plinths for Jane’s work, the walls for mine and the rearrangement of all the lovely ceramics, textiles and jewellery in the gallery, I think we came up with a very pleasing exhibition.

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Jane has developed a really interesting way of working with her pieces consisting of multi-layered painted glass images that create a three-dimensional collage. The glass is hand painted using traditional stained glass paints and translucent enamels that are fired in the kiln. The work refers to Jane’s experience of the Peak District in which she lives and works. 

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Both of us are inspired by nature and stories and we often depict the same birds and animals such as crows, hares and owls. I am very fortunate to live in a rural place and I see lots of wild animals and interesting birds but it is the ones that appear throughout history in poetry, folklore and myth that tend to grab my attention most and are likely to make it into my collagraph prints.

We held the preview for the exhibition on Friday night and I’m pleased to say that plenty of people came and we now have a couple red spots! 🙂

This little roe deer collagraph was the first print of mine to sell:

Roe Deer

By coincidence, this year’s North Yorkshire Open Studios meeting (to distribute promotional materials and discuss the event) was held at Rural Arts on Friday and I have collected my brochures ready to send out to anyone that would like to visit me in my studio. I love taking part in North Yorkshire Open Studios because it is a chance to meet people that like my work and also to show how the prints are made. I will write about that in more detail nearer the time (it is over two weekends in June) but in the meantime you can visit NYOS’13 at their website and facebook page and if you would like me to send you a catalogue, you can send me a message with your postal address via the contact page of my website and I will happily send one out to you.

I am now off to continue making a very detailed collagraph plate of a fox in a birch forest. It is inspired by the beautiful forests that I saw in Sweden. If it goes well, I’ll write about it soon!

March Hares and Feathered Friends

As usual, blog posts from me tend to be a bit few and far between but I can report that I’ve been steadily getting back up to speed after my slow January and I’ve delivered work for two exhibitions that have just started. Both are bird themed shows. The first is at The Craft Centre and Design Gallery in Leeds and features my prints along with those of Janis Goodman, Pam Grimmond and Mike Smith. It is on until the 29th June 2013 so there is plenty of time to visit.

The second exhibition is at Cambridge Contemporary Art and is a group show with prints from Janis and Pam again and also Carry Ackroyd, Jane Ormes, Simon Griffiths and Fiona Watson to name but a few. ‘Feathered Friends’ continues until 1st April 2013 but both galleries have my work permanently in the browsers for anyone that misses these shows. I’m now finishing the preparations for my exhibition ‘Telling Tails’ with glass artist Jane Littlefield at Rural Arts in Thirsk. We both share a love of the natural landscape and  the stories and folklore that surround the wildlife that inhabit it. Jane creates beautiful three dimensional glass pieces such as this hare:

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The exhibition runs until the 31st May 2013. Incidentally, if anyone would like to attend the preview it is from 7-9pm at The Old Courthouse, Rural Arts in Thirsk, RSVP by email to hannah@ruralarts.org. I will have some brand new prints on display as well as a selection of recent collagraphs.

This is my new barn owl, ‘The Silent Sentinel’:

The Silent Sentinel

The exhibitions and events that I’m doing are mounting up for 2013 and will include North Yorkshire Open Studios, group shows at The Found Gallery in Dunbar and The Blue Tree Gallery in York, Art in the Pen at Skipton, The Harrogate Art Show and The Simplicity of Colour at The Gallery in Masham. I’ll post details as each show comes up.

My workshops are now coming up thick and fast. I’ve just finished my collagraph course at Number Six in Pateley Bridge (we’re already planning more for the autumn) and have started the beginners collagraph course at ArtisOn in Masham where I am also teaching ‘Printing without a Press’ next week on the 8th March and ‘Natural Forms in Linocut Printmaking’ on the 23rd March. Phew…that will do for now!

On an entirely different note, I’ve been doing some more hare watching when I’ve been out fell running. We’ve had plenty of snow and this is a lovely brown hare that I managed to find by following its footprints.

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The most exciting was my first ever sighting of mountain hares in their winter coats! I’ve just this weekend successfully completed the High Peak Marathon with my team mates ‘The High Peak Scuttlers’ and we ran a fabulous route from Edale which traverses the Derwent watershed. I’d been told that there were mountain hares living in the area and sure enough, I got my first glimpse of them at Bleak Low on a recce run a couple weeks ago.

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Amazingly, we actually saw lots of them and on the race itself, we were crossing Bleak Low again as the sun came up and we got a fleeting glimpse of a couple. In the space of just a couple weeks the hares are beginning to lose their white coats and are looking browner.

For all those intrigued by what I get up to when not in the studio, here is a photo that my boyfriend and fellow team member at The High Peak Marathon took. It was taken just after we had safely navigated the frozen bogs in moonlight and picked up the Pennine Way to the Snake Road crossing. It was as cold as it looked but the hot tea at the checkpoint soon revived us.

I’m off to continue work on my altered book for The Library of Lost Books now. More on that another day!

Hibernation!

It’s January, the snow is thick on the ground and the studio is rather chilly but it has been so good to have a month where I don’t have masses of commitments and can take stock a bit.

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I started to run an evening class at Number Six in Pateley Bridge but, with only four students coming to the first session, we decided (with NYCC Adult Learning Services permission) to run the remainder of the course as three fortnightly 6 hour workshops. The course looks like it will soon be full and I have my Monday nights back without the prospect of having to drive over the moors in snow and ice every week so we’re all winners there! I taught a monotype workshop to the Northallerton Art Club last weekend and that was very enjoyable with seven creative people making some beautiful prints using direct drawn,  reductive & collage methods. Now I have the rest of the month and much of February free to make some new prints for my exhibitions in March, to work on my bookmaking for Joan Newall’s course and to slowly develop some of my ideas started in Sweden.

I was lucky enough to run into Heather and David Cook, both painter/printmakers, in Malham the other day and they kindly showed me some of their latest work and David discussed his brilliant exposure unit that he has made to make his Imagon plates. I’m hoping to make something similar so that I can continue my photopolymer experiments. So there are lots of plans afoot. The only problem is that it is winter! I actually quite like this time of year especially when we have sharp frosts or snow. As a fellrunner, I like nothing more than running through virgin snow and marvelling at the purity of the landscape but the downside is that during the rest of the time, I seem to slow right down!

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I always look forward to January and February and the chance to work on some new projects and I imagine how much I’ll get achieved and how I’ll spend everyday making lots of exciting new things but the reality is that during the darkness hours, I’m sleepy and just feel like curling up with a book, some poetry or a good film. I’ve got a lovely stack of books to work through including two from Robert MacFarlane (The Old Ways & Mountains of the Mind), ‘Man with a Blue Scarf’ which is Martin Gayford’s diary of sitting for Lucien Freud, Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr, The Snow Tourist by Charlie English and I’m just part way through ‘If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things’. Added to that is regular dipping into the poetry of Kathleen Jamie and Norman MacCaig and random admiration of the prints in Carry Ackroyd’s ‘Nature Powers and Spells’ and you can see that I have plenty to keep me occupied!

Despite slowing down, I am still working on a new collagraph, taking a fox, the snow and the birch forests as inspiration, which will be for my exhibition ‘Telling Tales’ with Jane Littlefield at Rural Arts in March. I’ll be making a couple new bird prints too. I’m so used to working every hour available that it feels a bit lazy not to! I read in a fellow artist’s blog that she felt that when she made the shift to being a full-time artist, she was suddenly doing something that she had crammed into her spare time all of the time and she found it hard to know what to do with her leisure time. I feel like that. Art is what I do and I rarely switch off from it because I love it and everything around me is part of it. I am also totally self-supported so I have a strong drive to use all my available time to create the work that will keep me clothed, housed and fed!

However, I have decided to stop worrying about not burning the candle at both ends and enjoy this chance to recharge and take stock before the frenetic activity that will no doubt ensue in the coming months. I’m dividing my weeks into days for working on my prints from Sweden and researching what I need to get started with my photopolymer printing and make my exposure unit, days to make some new collagraphs for my exhibitions in March and the rest of the time to get somewhere with my bookmaking and do my admin. Joan taught us how to make lined boxes with lids in our last class and it has given me an idea for this year’s final project. The photo shows my box covered in my handmade paper. Our theme this year is ‘worn surfaces’ and I’m using ‘A Tale’ by Edward Thomas as my starting point. More on that in another post.

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January also brings the dreaded tax return! Self-assessment online makes it a bit easier but the whole process is one that I don’t relish. I try and make it slightly more interesting by totting up which galleries have sold the most prints over the year and which prints have sold the best for me. This has the added benefit of reminding me which galleries I need to keep a special eye on. The ones that sell the best obviously need to have their stocks replenished regularly and sometimes if the managers are too busy to send out requests, the onus is on me to offer to deliver more work. The ones that aren’t selling need a phone call to find out if the prints are still on display and if anything needs returning or swapped.

In 2011/12, Cambridge Contemporary Art was my top selling gallery, hotly followed by The Gallery in Masham (Josie has been selling my prints consistently for 19 years and is invariably one of my best selling galleries!), then ArtsBank at Saltburn. All three galleries have a few things in common that I think make them not only successful, but a pleasure to work with. Firstly, I always know I will be paid for the prints that I’ve sold on or around a certain date of the following month, the paperwork is always thorough and I trust the people that I am dealing with. The gallery owners have very proactive publicity campaigns and are constantly updating their websites, sending out newsletters and using social media to promote exhibitions and their artists. I also get regular emails or phone calls to let me know if customers are interested in prints that are not currently in the galleries, to order more work from me and to offer me exhibiting opportunities. In return, I try really hard to promote the galleries when they put on exhibitions of my prints, always send detailed and clear paperwork with my deliveries and try and deliver any orders as soon as I can. The relationship is like any successful partnership, it requires trust and plenty of attention on both sides.

My list of gallery sales also shows me where some of the outlets aren’t performing very well and then I can decide what to do about it. This could be for all sorts of good reasons but ultimately, every print that sits unsold is a potential sale elsewhere and at one gallery, five of the unsold prints were the last in the editions so I was pretty keen to get them back and into one of my more successful outlets. It is quite hard when you sell your work across the UK because keeping an eye on it can be tricky and when I’m busy, I’m not always very good at keeping on top of this kind of thing so now is the time for doing any chasing up that needs doing. Some of the galleries only sell a handful of prints each year but so long as there are a few sales and I have a good relationship with the owner, I am happy to have my prints there. You never know who might see them and it is better to have them on a gallery wall than sat at home in my studio.

My top selling prints for 2011/12 were The Return (only one left):

The Return

A Flight of Swallows (still available):

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and in joint third, Rookery (which has sold out):

Rookery

and The Woodcat (still some available):

The Woodcat

So its a quiet time for me but a good one. I’m running most days to keep SAD at bay, keep me inspired and to enliven me for the time spent in my studio and I’m going to make the most of getting plenty of sleep and time to think before I’m back to busy times of eating on the move and midnight printing!