This Saturday I'll be exhibiting my screen prints at Sheffield Print Fair alongside printmakers from Yorkshire and further afield. There is going to be some great work on show and I'm particularly looking forward to seeing some of my favorite screen printers. As well as meeting printmakers and buying prints the fair is also a great opportunity to pick up some printing tips as there are demonstrations running throughout the day. I will be taking my Japanese Print Gocco machine and if all goes to plan I'll be showing visitors how it works and producing some new Gocco prints. There is a Sheffield Print Fair blog which lists all the exhibitors and a Facebook page
Another new animal print I've been working on is of a patterned hedgehog surrounded by flowers and mushrooms. It wasn't too hard to choose the colours and mix them so
I thought things were going pretty well. I screen printed the first ten hedgehogs to see if I liked the design and colours.
Then I decided the hedgehog would look better with a plain face instead of a brown one. So I tweaked the artwork, printed out a new positive, exposed it onto another new screen and printed thirty hedgehogs with plain faces.
Now I can't decide which hedgehog I prefer. Maybe the face should be brown and the spines should be white!
I've been working on some new animal and bird themed prints for autumn and Christmas fairs. After working on The Big Hoot during summer the first in my new series of prints had to be an owl! I really enjoyed drawing the feathery patterns and leafy background. I mixed up some autumnal coloured inks and, after a couple of attempts, screen printed an edition of 30 little owls I was happy with. My new feathered friends will be accompanying me to fairs in Birmingham, Sheffield and Wakefield over the next few weeks.
Originally I only screen printed 14 copies of my Sunshine Everyday designand most of them have now sold. It's one of my favorite designs so I decided to print a second edition. This is the new version and it's slightly different from the original prints because I had to re-cut all the paper stencils by hand. The design is made up of layers of different colours; there are 7 in total and each one was printed with a separate paper stencil.
At last I can properly introduce you to my finished Owl of Athena created for The Big Hoot 2015. This is my owl while it was still in the studio in Digbeth but it can now be found outside Kings Heath library in Birmingham. I would love it if my owl makes people smile when they walk by and brightens up their day. If it inspires anyone to draw, paint or discover more about Athena and Greek Mythology that would be even better! A map showing where all the owls can be found around Birmingham is on The Big Hoot website www.thebighoot.co.uk
This month I was invited back to run another screen printing workshop for The Royal Shakespeare Company's Midsummer Sundae event. The RSC suggested printing Indian patterns to link in with a performance of Spiced Indian Air which is about a little Indian child in Midsummer Night's Dream who Titania and Oberon fight over. I printed some simple Indian inspired patterns onto coloured fabric and hung them together like rows of Tibetan prayer flags. With the help of illustrator Jane McGuinness we set up fabric printing equipment in a marquee outside the Swan Theatre next to the River Avon.
Jane and I had a busy day but it was great to work with so many creative and enthusiastic children, young people and adults. The best part was when they came back to do more because they enjoyed it so much! These are just a few of the fabulous fabric prints made throughout the day.
Here are some clues as to what I've been doing in June! My design was selected for the Big Hoot and so I spent almost two weeks painting a large scale owl sculpture at a studio in Digbeth, Birmingham. I knew it would be hard work but I didn't expect the painting to take quite as long as it did and at times I thought it would never end. It was a huge relief when my owl was approved and I finally got to apply the varnish. Hurray!
89 large owl sculptures have been painted, decorated and embellished by different artists and the sculptures will be exhibited around Birmingham over the summer. After that they will be auctioned to raise money for Birmingham Children's Hospital.