What feels like a lifetime ago, I graduated from Gray’s School of Art with a degree in fine art, specialising in printmaking. After graduating I worked as a receptionist at a tarpaulin manufacturing company, then found myself running their graphics department. I learned a lot of useful new skills about digital printing
My husband and I started a family, then spent three years in Kuala Lumpur with his job. I was inspired by the Islamic patterning that is to be found everywhere in the city. Now, as the children have started to grow, I have found I have more time to focus on my art.
In relief printing you work in negative – you carve away the lines you wish to remain white. It’s as if you are drawing with light. There is something very satisfying about the ‘big reveal’ moment in printmaking, having worked on a block for some time and never being quite certain what it will look like, until you pull the paper back for the first time to see the print you have created.
When working on a new print my inspiration comes from something I see frequently in my daily life, often featured are the birds, animals and people I see in the countryside where I live. The project I’m currently working on is something I have been mulling over in my head for some time. There are a lot of strong characters in the community where I live, each offering something unique. I have talked with a number of these people about their skills, photographed and sketched them.
Back in my studio I use the reference materials I’ve gathered to compose new engravings. I will then transfer my composition onto the printing block, it is very important to draw in as much detail as possible as there is no room for errors in the carving process. One mistake can mean starting over from scratch. I have a range of different palm-held tools that all give me different marks and textures, and I work with these to carve my image into the block.
Once I feel I have finished I will make a test print and then revisit anything I think needs more work. Then the block is finally ready to print.
Prints are great for collectors because the multiple nature of printmaking means that the cost of the time, skills and materials can be divided between the number of prints in each limited edition. In my view, a limited edition is the artist making a promise that they will use that block to make said number of prints and no more. Thusthe purchaser has a print of a limited edition and once that edition is sold then no more prints can be made.
Back in 2015, I visited an exhibition and demonstration by the Woodend Wood Engravers in Banchory. I was totally blown away by the intricacy of the work on show. I thought the medium would lend itself well to my designs. The following year the WWE ran a beginners workshop which I attended and have been hooked on wood engraving ever since. I was thrilled when my wood engraving print, A Thousand Stories, won an award and was selected for the Society of Wood Engravers annual exhibition which is currently touring the UK.
My work can also be found at Tangletree Studio in Aboyne. I’m looking forward to taking part in NEOS in September.
Facebook: Carine Eunson Printmaker