I’m a letterpress artist printmaker. I work with wood and metal movable type and antique printing presses to typeset and print tactile paper goods the old-fashioned way. I thrive on the restricted palette enforced by working within the constraints of a limited set of tools and materials. My work explores language, ornament, pattern and humour.
Since lockdown began in March 2020 I’ve been mainly confined to the house. My partner is extremely clinically vulnerable and has been shielding, as have I by extension. We’ve been intensely aware of the four walls around us. I produced ‘These Four Walls’, a series of four letterpress prints, in direct response. Working with modular metal type of various geometric designs (dots, lines and squares), each wall was composed by hand; the same, yet different. The vintage ornaments have tiny knocks and imperfections showing their age, as do the walls of our house. The compositions were then hand inked and letterpress printed on a Stephenson Blake galley proof press.
That project led to further experiments along the same theme, of which this print is one. I created it by taking three of my wall compositions and overprinting them using fluorescent red, yellow and blue ink. In a similar way to a reduction linocut, each layer exists only for the duration of the printing, and is then broken down to its component parts to begin again. Whereas the Walls project began from a place of darkness and confinement, it has changed now.
The walls don’t just hem you in. They are a place of safety, of imagination, of possibility: where you can be free to be creative.