A review of 2022 - a year in print
January and February
I started the year with my first four Take Flight prints. The idea was to show birds flying (for the most part) in their environment. So a crow among rooftops, a magpie between fences, a cuckoo in oak trees and a blue tit amongst tree blossoms. Also I intended to screen print the colours and lino print the detail in black. These prints would feature abstract shapes behind the detail and colour fills behind the birds.
The Blue Tit screen printed colours
The linos were hard to cut but worth it. I was very happy with the end result and while they haven’t been the fastest seller they have been a slow burner at fairs. I still have the tawny owl and goldfinch to print in 2023.
Crow lino block inked up
The Take Flight final prints. View in my shop.
March saw us in Cheltenham for Craft Festival. As usual, we put up shelves around the walls of the stand and had a table at the front. This year was the best ever Craft Festival for us and we had an enjoyable time with many other great makers. I even sold a framed Between Tides print to Nick from The Great Pottery Throwdown and we met Keith! We enjoyed Cheltenham and some meals out.
Our stand at Craft Festival
March also saw me working on my most ambitious print to date, a scene from Coverack in Cornwall. We had been to Cornwall on holiday in 2021 where I took some photos including some of Coverack. It was a beautiful scene with sunlight and shadows and I knew it would make a great print as soon as I took it.
Coverack black block
I decided to make it a two colour print in blue and black, with white obviously being the third colour. The lino cutting took some time but the end result was good. I had made it 38 x 38cm in order to fit on my Woodzilla press but as soon as I tried printing it I knew that it wasn’t going to work. The ink just didn’t have enough coverage and there were lots of badly printed areas. So I ordered a ball bearing baren from Handprinted and that did the trick beautifully! Although it took a few minutes to print each colour, the end result was a much more solid colour. I printed the first 17 of the edition onto Zerkall Handmade Printing Paper.
Coverack final print. View in my shop.
My parents had a photo from the same trip to Cornwall in 2021 of a bollard at an old lifeboat station at Lizard. The photo gave me an idea to make a print of the old lifeboat station which was very characterful. I decided to put a boat in front of the lifeboat station and a fisherman. It think the fisherman is one of my best linocuts of a person to date.
The Old Lifeboat Station block
The Old Lifeboat Station at Lizard final print. View in my shop.
It was a quick, fun print to do and very enjoyable. The end result was pretty crisp and it has proved to be a popular print.
In April I also took the opportunity to print some more of my small, vertical, open edition linocuts Running Hare and Crow Flight. I must do some more smaller prints like this as they are very popular at fairs.
Running Hare and Crow Flight blocks. View in my shop.
While I was still in the zone for reprinting linocuts, in May I printed more of the edition of St Ives, a two colour linocut. This is an older linocut of mine but it’s one of my favourites. I really like the realism of the buildings mixed with the stylised sand, rocks and sea. I also like the composition very much.
Both blocks of St Ives. View in my shop.
May saw us hold the very first Winchester Print Fair, organised by our friend Katherine, my wife Alice and myself. We hired the Nutshell in King’s Walk, Winchester and invited 15 printmakers to take part. OK, that did include Katherine and myself! While the Nutshell is in central Winchester it is a bit hidden so I wanted to create a sign which we could display, pointing people in the right direction. We also managed to get into the Hampshire Chronicle. We had some great printmakers including Jonny Hannah, Robin Mackenzie and The Wooden Truth.
Winchester Print Fair
The day was a great success with a pretty much constant stream of people coming to have a look and buy. We look forward to holding the print fair again in 2023.
In May I also started to put together our Take Flight garland. When I designed the Take Flight prints I also wanted to create other things including a garland, greetings cards and brooches. The garland was printed digitally by Printed.com using their bespoke service and was die cut. I suppose we could have got them to punch the holes too but we didn’t so I had to punch hundreds of holes and thread each garland.
Take Flight garland assembly. View in my shop.
July and August
August saw us in Skipton for Art in the Pen, an event which takes place in a cattle market. I was very skeptical about doing this event. It was not the best organised thing, especially the parking which was a bit chaotic. It was also 30 degrees inside the cattle shed and I kept falling asleep! We put up many framed prints on the grills of the pen but we only sold one in the end. I can’t say it’s an event we will be doing again but we did have some fantastic tapas in Skipton.
Art in the Pen
I don’t know why but I was pretty quiet in July and August! I did, however, realise that Autumn and Winter fairs were coming up and I had to get printing so I got on with The Harbour Crane.
Mixing inks for The Harbour Crane
This is an imagined harbour scene with a crane I borrowed from Cotehele in Cornwall. Often I base a print around a particular feature I’ve seen somewhere. I also wanted to do more people in my prints so I took the opportunity to put in three fishermen. I am very happy with how this print turned out using my favourite blue and yellow colours with transparent greys over to produce more tones. It has been another slow burner but popular at fairs.
The Harbour Crane screens
The Harbour Crane final print. View in my shop.
In September we went to Cornwall again, we love going there. This time I had some places I wanted to visit and photograph including Rough Tor, Wheal Coates tin mine and Mevagissey. I have been working on and off on a kind of experimental print and wanted to get some photos for it.
We stayed near Hayle and it was very easy to get into St Ives and have some lovely meals as well as some nice walks. We stopped at Rough Tor on the way down and walked up it which was very windy and quite hard to climb! Unfortunately it was very overcast so the photos of Rough Tor are not as contrasty as I wanted them.
Going to Mevagissey was lovely as we haven’t been there for probably 20 years. I wanted to get a shot from the harbour, low down, including the boats and houses. It was a lovely day and I got the shot I wanted complete with sunshine and shadows. It will become a print in 2023.
We stayed at a lovely place which had a hot tub which we made a lot of use of. Next year we are going to Devon and I am not going to be going to specific places to take photos, but mainly relaxing. Though there is a tor I want to visit!
October found me printing the second of my coastal screenprints, The Boatyard. Again, I wanted to draw people so I showed a fisherman fixing his nets, a carpenter working on a boat and another fisherman moving boxes. It was another imagined scene, with a boathouse behind and beach in front.
First two colours down
Three colours down
I think it’s one of my best prints and am happy that it sold a few at fairs. I need to print the rest of the edition, along with The Harbour Crane. It is a five colour print using brown as well as transparent grey to create extra tones and shadows.
The Boatyard finished print. View in my shop.
October also found us back at Festival of Crafts in Farnham as well as at Ink Paper and Print in Exeter. Farnham Maltings is a lovely venue and we were back in our usual spot with two tables.
Our stand at Festival of Crafts
Exeter was slightly more stressful as we had to drive down early, set up and do the fair on the same day. The mix of printmakers was really amazing but the event was quite quiet. We discovered a couple of hours in, that our neighbour was a friend from art school who we hadn’t seen for over 30 years!
Thankfully we stayed overnight in Exeter so coming back wasn’t as stressful.
In November I cut and printed another fun linocut, Harbour Gull. It was quick to do and and enjoyable. I used elements from different places to make this print.
Printing Harbour Gull. View in my shop.
We had another lovely time in Cheltenham at the Christmas Craft Festival and I found it less anxiety laden than usual. Maybe I’m getting used to it. We even had a pint while we were putting up the shelves, thanks to Alice. We also enjoyed some meals out including at our favourite place, Bao and BBQ.
The stand at Craft Festival Cheltenham
Bao and BBQ
December found us in Lewes for the Artists and Makers Fair. Unloading was chaotic but once we set up it was a lovely venue and nice to have a different mix of visitors. We sold out of The Harbour Crane and The Boatyard which was really exciting. Lewes was a nice place, we hope to go back there and have a proper look round. Another bonus was meeting Gary from Edwards & Todd, a lovely shop in Lewes who now stock our cards, scenes and garlands.
The town hall at Lewes
Finally, for 2022 I decided to have a go at lino cutting and printing a building. I love buildings and I especially love the old post office in Fowey which I have long admired. I have some photos of it so I decided to do it in one colour and try to capture the shadows using hatching. It took ages to cut and there was some very fine detail in places but I’m very happy with the end result.
The lino finished
The Old Post Office at Fowey final print. View in my shop.
All of these prints are currently available on my shop.