Relief Printing from Wood Grain

It can be interesting to include natural textures in our relief prints. Wood grain is a beautiful organic pattern and can be printed especially well if we emphasise the natural grain in the wood. We can do this with a blow torch. Scorch the surface of the wood to bring out the wood grain. (Please be careful when using the blow torch by working outside on a non-flammable base). 

When the wood has cooled use a wire brush to clear the soft burnt areas, leaving the raised areas behind. Work the brush in the direction of the grain. If you are too vigourous at this point you will scratch the wood which will alter the print surface. 

Dampen a scrubbing brush and wash away the leftover ash and soft wood. Wash under running water till it runs clear. 

When the wood is dry it can be inked up. We are printing onto dampened Somerset 250gsm Satin White paper. The dampened paper will help stop the paper from moving when printing and it will also soften the paper which will make it more receptive to the ink.  

Ink up the wood ensuring that the whole surface is evenly covered. We are using Caligo Safe Wash Relief Ink in Prussian Blue. We used a small roller for this as the wood was not 100% flat it ensures good coverage. 

Blot the dampened paper and gently place it on top of the wood. Use a piece of greaseproof paper underneath a baren and work the baren over the whole surface (the greaseproof paper will help the baren glide over the surface and protect the damp paper from tearing). We are using a Ball Bearing Baren but an ordinary baren or spoon will do the trick too. 

Peel the paper to reveal the print!

You will need:

Meet the Maker: Kat Flint

I’m Kat, and I’m a designer/printmaker from Aberdeen, now living and working in South East London. I make quirky, story-filled linocut prints… I came to printmaking late, and almost by accident, following the birth of my daughter in 2015. I was keen to make my living as a creative working on my own terms in order to find some kind of genuine work/life balance, but I had originally envisaged starting a business designing ceramic homewares. That fell by the wayside when I realised how much I loved linocut, and how much easier it is to accommodate a press at home than a kiln. 

Describe your printmaking process.

I’m slow and precise when designing and carving, then fast and messy when printing. I don’t work much in sketchbooks – I tend to seize upon ideas from nowhere and scribble quick thumbnail sketches on whatever scrap paper I have to hand before they get away. If one of these looks promising, I usually work it up in a little more detail before either moving to the block to flesh it out at full scale, or, for particularly nervewracking pieces, developing a full-size sketch on paper that I then trace and transfer in reverse to the block. I don’t use anything fancy – just and HB pencil and some tracing paper. I fix the design on the block by redrawing it with permanent ink (I like Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens), reworking and refining the details and composition as I go. Some details don’t get decided on until after I’ve carved a good portion of the block – I like to wait for the perfect idea to present itself naturally, rather than forcing it at the start, and I don’t mind having some unknowns as I carve. Once carved, I’ll run a few test prints, clean up any unwanted marks from the blocks, decide on paper dimensions (more test prints), colour/s (yet more test prints) and then get busy with the run!

How and where did you learn to print?

I’m mostly self-taught, although I did a foundation year in 2010 at London College of Communication (which used to be the training ground for typesetters and the newspaper print industry). They had a set of amazing basement workshops full of old letterpress machines and hulking great cast iron presses. I signed up for every session I could so I could try out all the different processes, and spent a lot of my free time down there. Funnily enough, I really wasn’t into linocut at that point – I was determined to master screen printing because it felt much better suited to working as a graphic designer (which is what I hoped to do when I left – I was a 27-year-old career changer, taking a year out from my previous work in tech start-ups to retrain). Suffice to say, I’m still rubbish at screen printing (and pretty rubbish at graphic design), but picked up lino again about six years later on a whim. Most of what I know about linocutting I learnt by getting it wrong over and over again, until I got it right. More recently, I’ve found it really helpful being part of the printmaking community on Instagram – people are very generous with their knowledge and I’ve learnt a lot from my fellow makers over there. We’re basically a massive bunch of geeks who love sharing tips. 

Why printmaking?

Although I can draw competently in many different styles, I always found it a little boring – possibly because I was so unfocused in my approach, flitting from one style to the next and always too impatient to put in the work necessary to develop my own visual language. No matter what I tried, the results always felt like they were missing some vital ingredient. That changed when I began printmaking – it makes my brain operate in a different (much better!) mode. I find my drawings come alive in print in a way that they never did on paper. For me, there’s a new sense of energy and fun that comes entirely from working within the boundaries of a block, playing with the balance of light and dark, and testing the limits of what can be carved or printed – it’s like a game. I like puzzles and have a fairly scientific brain, so the technical side of printmaking and all the troubleshooting is one of the things that makes it enjoyable. I also love that the outcome of my playing happens to be a product that’s ready to send out into the world – no digital interference required, just a signature to say “I made this”. It feels very honest and direct.

Where do you work?

I’m currently in a temporary studio due to renovations, but I usually work in the spare room of my house, which my husband (and anyone who stays in that room) kindly tolerate. There’s stuff EVERYWHERE, on every possible surface, and then more stuff on top of that. I’m not tidy. Piles of lino. Leaky ink tubes. Rollers hanging from every available surface. Cutting tools lurking unseen in places where I’m bound to stab my hands on them. Stacks of paper torn by hand to all the different sizes I use. All the packaging materials required to send prints of varying sizes all over the world. A million tiny, fluffy curls from the torn edges of my paper, which stick to socks and get trodden through every other room of the house (it’s like having a very fibrous, white cat – all our clothes are covered in tiny strands of paper). I have boxes and boxes of prints, from firsts through to embarrassing rejects, along with all the paraphernalia of the printmaking process, because I’m incapable of throwing anything away. Ink on the carpet. Ink on the door. Ink on all my husband’s music gear which lives in the same room (eek)…

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I drop my daughter off at nursery around 9 and head back to the house to start work. It varies from day to day, but I tend to do things in intense bursts because I’ve discovered that I’m most productive when I knuckle down and focus on one thing. I can work intensively on a block for days to the exclusion of all else, including eating, and follow that with a fortnight of doing nothing but printing and re-printing from my stack of blocks to try and build up a healthy stockpile for my Etsy shop. When I list a big batch of new prints I tend to get a flurry of orders thanks to Instagram (where I post all my work in progress) – dealing with these can eat up the next week or so in terms of quality checking, signing, dealing with enquiries, packing them all up and getting them down to the Post Office. I often wish I were better at spacing tasks out and mixing my days up a bit – I always intend to do a bit of packaging prep each day, a bit of printing, a bit of working on new designs, but in practice I fail at that and end up sprinting from one enormous task to the next. There’s a domestic element to deal with too – because my studio is in my home it’s a constant battle to prevent life admin and chores encroaching, because they really mess with my concentration.

How long have you been printmaking?

I’ve been at it ’seriously’ for about two years now – I began in earnest when my lovely in-laws gave me a set of Pfeil carving tools for my birthday. I had been dabbling with lino for fun using a set of wonky student tools and could feel the pull of it even then, but I became addicted when I realised what I could achieve with my new kit. I had no idea at that point that it would become my living!

What inspires you?

I’m a storyteller at heart, and find a constant source of inspiration in folklore, fairytales, nursery rhymes and the natural world. The more esoteric the better – I like disappearing down spooky rabbit holes, and I especially like ideas that feel like the beginning of a longer tale. I try to inject a sense of story into everything I do – the thought that people might use my prints as a jump-off point for their own stories makes me extremely happy, and is one of the reasons I try to pack in so many little details. I want to give people reasons to look again and again, in case they miss something!

What is your favourite printmaking product?

Is it a cop-out to say “all of it”? My favourite carving tools are my Pfeil ones, although I recently got the Flexcut micro palm set and am getting to grips with them. I find them less comfortable to hold, but they can achieve a slightly finer level of detail. I think in a fire though, I’d save my Pfeil ones first. I use an Xcut Xpress die-cutting machine instead of a ‘real’ press (I don’t have room for one) and it’s not an exaggeration to say it changed my life, because 90% of the prints I sell are printed on it! It took a bit of trial and error (and some frustration) to get it working exactly as I wanted, but I get really sharp, clean prints with it and it folds up when I need to get it out of the way. The only downside is the limited size you can print.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

The thing that cemented the idea that perhaps I could be a ‘real’ printmaker was a set of eight element-inspired figures that I made over the summer of last year. It started with one (the Man of the Sea), who acquired a brother (the Man of the Land), and then two others (Fire and Air). Of course, I couldn’t do the blokes and not do the ladies, so four female figures followed soon after. Lots of people followed their development via Instagram, and when I finally uploaded the full set for sale things went a bit nuts, which enabled me to take a deep breath and declare myself a full-time printmaker. I’m so happy with them as a set – each one possesses a distinct character. People pair them and group them in all sorts of ways, and tell me all kinds of stories about which is their favourite and why – they seem to find lots of details to relate them to themselves and those they love, which is amazing.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

The best place to see my work is on Instagram ( – I’m pretty active and my feed is mostly work-in-progress. I sell online via my Etsy shop ( and at occasional makers’ markets in and around London.

What will we be seeing from you next?

I have a lot of Big Life Things happening this year which are rather limiting my creative plans, but I’m determined not to let that stop me. I’m currently working on my largest linocut to date for a lovely group show that I’m doing on the Sussex coast in August ( ). It’s inspired by the coastal fishing towns that featured heavily in my childhood in the North East of Scotland, so it feels very personal and I’m going a bit overboard as a result. I decided to test the limits of what I can do after two solid years of carving lino and I’m so excited to print the block when I (finally!!) finish it. It’s taking aeons! Other than that, I’m working on a series of new blocks inspired by vintage magic shows and the circus and frantically trying to restock my Etsy shop in the midst of a house renovation, because it’s looking pretty bare at the moment.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Find your own voice – being distinctive will serve you well, because the people who like your work will like it for the right reasons, and will stick with you to see what you do next. Don’t chase trends all the time, but if you do, make sure to do something unique with them that could only have come from your brain. Practise. A lot. Don’t give up when things go wrong – invent solutions, seek advice, share your mistakes for a laugh… and don’t stop.

Follow Kat on Instagram ( or her Etsy shop (

Monoprinting with Scrim

Monoprinting is a lovely technique that allows printmakers to be spontaneous, painterly and experimental. This simple monoprint project produces beautiful delicate prints using a piece of scrim and an etching press. 

Begin with a piece of perpex, a plastic inking plate or a sheet of drypoint plastic. use masking tape to tape off a rectangle on your perspex. If the plastic is transparent, place it over a cutting mat to get straight edges and right angles. 

Cut a piece of scrim to fit inside the masking taped area. 

Pull away threads from the scrim to fray the edges. 

Manipulate the fibres to create gathers and holes.

Roll out an even layer of ink. We are using Akua Intaglio Ink – a mix of Carbon Black and Phthalo Blue and rolling out with a Hawthorn Roller

Peel the masking tape away. Lay the scrim on top of the inked up area. Carry the perspex over to the etching press. Lay a piece of paper on top – we are using Snowdon (dry, not dampened) and cover with blankets.

Put the print sandwich through the press. The first print taken from this sandwich gives us a sold background and a white area where the scrim has acted as a mask. 

Carefully peel the scrim from the perspex. 

We can now print with the ink that remains on the perspex by placing it back on the print bed with paper on top. 

Lay the scrim ink side up on a clean sheet of perspex (clean the original sheet or use a second sheet the same depth as the first so your press pressure remains consistent). 

Lay a piece of paper on top, cover with blankets and run through the press. You should be left with a delicate print from the scrim. 

We can also create two colour prints. Instead of printing the scrim by itself on a clean piece of perspex, we can lay it on top of a rolled out rectangle in another colour.

To do this, repeat the steps above by re-inking the perspex in the first colour and putting it through the press with scrim on top. This will ink up the scrim. Clean the perspex (or use a fresh piece) and roll out a second colour.  

Place the scrim on top with the inky side facing up.

Cover with paper and put through the press.

We can take another print from the perspex once the scrim has been peeled off…

…and we can print with the orange side of the scrim. 

To make your own scrim monoprint you will need:

Meet the Maker: Masha Tiplady

Hallo, I’m Masha Tiplady, Edinburgh-based printmaker, working primarily in linocut. I grew up in Moscow and moved to Scotland nearly 20 years ago to complete my Master’s degree and now call it home. I like creating colourful linocuts, using both reduction and multiple-plate techniques. I absolutely love carving, it’s such a meditative process and I often end up carving more tiny details than initially planned. 

Describe your printmaking process.

My linocuts usually begin as a fairly vague image in my head – I hardly ever sketch at that stage and just let the image/colours develop in my imagination. Once the image in my head is clear enough I tend to draw straight on lino and start carving, often changing things as I go along. I don’t have a proper printing press and hand-burnish most of my linocuts with a wooden spoon and a glass barren. After I finish a new linocut, I usually put together a short video of the process and upload it on Instagram, Facebook and my website

How and where did you learn to print?

I’m a self-taught printmaker. I discovered linocut by pure chance after attending a local workshop – I was suffering from a pretty bad postnatal anxiety at the time and just wanted to do something different to take my mind off things. I fell in love with linocut straight away and it quickly became my ‘happy place’/passion (and now – a full-time occupation). I started by reading a few books and watching many hours of YouTube videos and absorbing as much information as I could find on a subject. Then I just started carving and attempted my first reduction linocut (“A girl with a necklace”) only a few weeks later – it was a huge learning curve but I loved everything about it. I also joined an on-line linocut community – there is a large Facebook group called “Linocut Friends” which is a great source of practical advice and a friendly community of linocut-obsessed people. Last year I joined Edinburgh Printmakers and started learning intaglio techniques there – frankly, I’m fascinated by all printmaking techniques and will hopefully get a chance to try most of them.

Why printmaking?

To me, linocut is a perfect medium, which combines a thorough planning and methodical process with an element of a complete surprise. There is something so magical in watching the image to appear layer by layer and you are never sure what it’s gonna be like until you’ve finished the last layer. As many printmakers will agree – it’s such a thrill!

I also like the fact that linocut allows for pretty much endless possibilities of experimenting with colours.

Where do you work?

I’ve set up a small studio space at home and keep expanding (basically, taking over the living room inch by inch). One day I hope to have a separate studio but at the moment such set up works for us – it means I can juggle working with looking after our young daughter.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

At the moment, I have to plan my work around our daughter’s routine and available childcare – most days I will work in short bursts during the day and again for a good few hours in the evening.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration in things that interest me: my favourite books, music, history. Many of my linocuts have a retro feel to them: beginning of the 20th century and 50s-70s are my two favourite eras.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I love my Pfeil gauges, I’ve built a nice collection that suits my mark-making needs. I’m also very fond of Flexcut tools – micro palm set in particular. As for ink, my favourite is Caligo Safe Washrange and traditional gold ink by Cranfield.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

It’s got to be my latest 10-colour reduction linocut “Murmuration’ – a commission which was great fun to make. It was my first go at a landscape and I’m very happy with the design I came up with and how it turned out.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

You can see my work in Art & Craft Collective gallery in Edinburgh and Scottish Design Exchange in Buchanan galleries, Glasgow. You can also buy my linocuts from my website and on Etsy

What will we be seeing from you next?

I’m working on a new mid-century-themed reduction linocut and I have a couple of botanical designs on my mind (can’t get enough of flowers at the moment!). I’m also hoping to do more etchings this summer and try woodcut when I get a chance.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Main advice would be just to go for it! In my experience, the best way to learn is to try something new, even if it scares you and feels overly-ambitious. You’ll make mistakes but that’s the best way to learn.






Repurposing Objects for your Printmaking Kit

There are many objects that can be gathered from around the house to add to your printmaking kit! Here are some of our favourite alternative uses for easily found objects that we use in the studio every day! 

Use clips on your hinged screen for an easy squeegee rest:

Securing two large clips to your frame creates a rest on which your squeegee can rest between pulls. This can keep messy ink within the frame and lowers the risk of getting ink all over the place! We have written a blog post on how to make a hinged screen printing board here

Use grip matting under your board:

This stops the board from sliding about and makes it easier to put pressure on your squeegee.

This grip matting is also really useful when cutting lino. It stops the lino from slipping about, making it both easier and safer to cut. 

Save empty tape rolls to prop your screen:

When your screen is attached to a hinged board you may need to raise your screen to flood your ink. Use an empty tape roll to hold your screen away from the paper.

Empty tape rolls are also an easy place to rest your squeegee without dirtying your table with ink:  

Use old store cards to scrape excess ink from screens:

These are a perfect flat surface to remove as much ink as possible but are not sharp so are unlikely to damage your mesh.

Use baking spatulas to mix ink:

It’s much easier to mix screen printing inks with a flexible spatula intended for cooking rather than a metal inking spatula that you may use to mix relief inks on an inking plate. A flexible spatula will ensure you don’t have any unmixed ink in your pot, giving you a smooth, even colour. 

Use old magazine pages to block off unwanted areas of your screen:

We often like to expose more than one image onto a screen but only want to print one at a time. Instead of taping over the whole unwanted area, we can use a magazine page with just one piece of tape to secure it to the screen. This produces less plastic waste and also protects the screen from the tape which can occasionally damage the emulsion or leave a sticky residue behind. The shiny surface of the magazine page can be wiped clean if necessary. Rob Luckins was using this technique last weekend when his workshop group were printing four layers with just one screen. 

Wash out squeezy bottles to hold thickened dyes:

Screen printing with thickened dyes is great fun, especially when breakdown printing. Because these dyes are runnier than screen printing inks it can be easier to apply them to the mesh with an old washing up liquid bottle than with a pot and spoon! Bottles with wider openings could be used for thicker inks. 

Meet the Maker: Wayne Longhurst

I am a Worthing based linocut printmaker. Born in Brighton, moving to Worthing in 2012, I’ve always been surrounded by the Downs and the sea, for which I am very lucky, if a little complacent of at times!

I love to get out and about to find inspiration for my prints, which lately has been trees! I’ve been taking a few walks up on the downs with my camera and or sketchbook. This time of year, the leafless trees are amazing structures and provide great inspiration for new carvings.

Recently I had a huge opportunity to spend much more time concentrating on printmaking, so I shall be embracing this with gusto! Fingers crossed…!

Describe your printmaking process.

One phrase that I keep on hearing when people see my work is that I ‘must have the patience of a saint!’. I don’t know about that (you should be in my studio when things don’t go to plan…!!!), but I do like to print intricate designs and I love to see the end result.

I always like to challenge myself with each new print, so I like to try and think of ways of getting more detail into the print, either by using different colours (I do love a good blend!), or adding more layers (which may be via multiple plates of lino, or using the reduction technique).

I do like to get out and about each day, walking around town, on the seafront or up on the downs, with either my camera or sketch looking for inspiration for the next print.

How and where did you learn to print? Why Printmaking?

About 5 or 6 years ago I was on holiday in South Wales, and I ended up walking in and out people’s houses… They had opened them for the local artist open house event. I met and got chatting to local artist Lee Wright, who, I discovered, made linocut prints. At the time I had never heard of the medium (I guess it skipped my generation at school…?).

He gave me such inspiration to give it a go myself. So, I bought myself a little starter kit from Amazon, and began to teach myself. Over the years I have picked up tips from other artists through social media and by attending local events or art fairs (not least the one held by Handprinted showcasing the work of Linocut boy a couple of years back).

It has been great learning the different techniques and processes, if a little scary at times, wondering or second-guessing how things will turn out. I’ll admit, things don’t always work, but that is just a part of the process. Brush my self down, and get on with the next challenge!

Where do you work?

I am so lucky to have the space at home to have my own little studio. It’s a modest space, but certainly does the trick!

It certainly has evolved over the years, from the starter kit, to now having my own etching press and working space. It’s wonderful, and never underappreciated.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I have a mantra….you must turn on the laptop, and you must leave the house.

So, first thing in the morning (around 8am) I will have had my breakfast, and turned on the laptop. This makes me check my emails and keep up to date with anything that I need to do.

Once that’s done I shall get on with the main interest of the day, which will generally be either; working on my latest print, updating my social media, my online shop, my website, or getting ready for an upcoming event (sometimes a little of all of the above).

There shall certainly be a lot of tea involved in the day (my fuel!), and of course the compulsory walk, to get some fresh air and, if I’m lucky, some inspiration!

How long have you been printmaking?

Around 7 years now. The first 3 or 4 of those I was just dabbling, and teaching myself different techniques, but over the last couple of years I began to take it more seriously, trying to get my work out there ‘into the wild’.

What inspires you?

I do like to make sure that I get out and about daily (hopefully daily, but I don’t always manage to…bad Wayne!).

Just going out for a walk, either down to the seafront, or up on the Downs will get the creative juices flowing. Either by what I see on my travels, or just having some down time to let my mind think of new ideas.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

My Pfiel tools (they’re AWESOME!)

Oh, and Caligo safe wash inks are amazing!

What have you made that you are most proud of?

Is it corny if I were to say ‘my latest print’…? It is corny, I know, but I am always proud of the latest print that comes together, just because of the effort that goes into it and to finally see it in its final form is great!

But, if I had to choose one of my prints, I would probably go for my ‘Worthing Best’ print. This was a commission from The Brooksteed Alehouse (a local micropub on South Farm in Worthing. If you haven’t been there, go, it’s great! This isn’t an ad by the way!).

The owners wanted a print that represented Worthing but also suitable for their pub. I came up with the idea of a pump clip for a fictional beer ‘Worthing Best’. They loved the idea…I just had to print it…

It ended up being my largest print (still is) at 60 x 42cm, and a 6 layer, single plate, reduction. I am glad to say that the owners loved it, and it is currently hanging up in their pub for all to see!

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I currently have my work in an Artist Collective gallery in Tunbridge Wells (which is coming to an end on the 23rd March…boooo!). Other than that, I sell my prints via my etsy site.

What will we be seeing from you next?

Apart from new prints, I shall be at the Paper Daisy Easter Boutique at the Shoreham Centre on the 13th April and then the Fairy Tale Fair at the Charmandean Centre in Worthing, on the 14th of April. Come say hi!

I shall also be taking part in the INK event at Colonnade House in Worthing, which is an exhibition showcasing local printmaking artists. Very lucky to be a part of this! That runs from the 2nd to the 13th April.

For the first time this year, I am opening my house, taking part in the Worthing Artist Open house event (I have taken part before, but this is the first time at my own house). Over three weekends in summer; 15/16th June, 22nd/23rd June and 29th/30th June.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

I am currently attending an evening drawing class at Northbrook College. The tutor (Steve Carroll) has his own mantra which is ‘just leave it!’. What he means is that if you make a mistake, then don’t worry about it, just move on, live with it, and adapt to it. Make it work into your piece. Don’t be so precious over every tiny little detail. That has really stayed with me, as it not only applies to drawing, but to printmaking too. If you happen to carve something away but you weren’t meant to, just leave it! You cant undo it, so go with it. Sometimes it’s really hard, but you have to.

So, whether it be drawing, or carving, if you do happen to make a tiny mistake, it’s okay, just leave it. It’ll be fine. The world won’t end! It has taken a while for me to learn that, and I’m not 100% certain that I have completely yet, but I’m getting there!

My website;




Making a Hinged Board for Screen Printing onto Paper

Using a hinged board to screen print onto paper is a game changer. It allows you to register layered prints and print in identical editions. Here’s how
we made our latest batch of A2 hinged boards in the studio:

You will need a board at least the same width and slightly longer than your screen. It needs to be a smooth, rigid, wipeable surface. Laminated (melamine
faced) MDF works perfectly. MDF that has been varnished can work too. This board is around 20mm in depth. 

This board is for an A2 screen.

You may want to use your board for different sized screens so make sure your hinge clamps are close enough to accommodate all the sizes you would
like to use. For small screens such as A4 and A3 you may want to recess your hinge clamps into the board a little to reduce the snap on the screen.
The hinge clamps hold the screen a little above the board – this gives a great snap off for perfect prints but can make it difficult to print close
to the frame of a small screen. 

Use a pencil to mark through the holes on the hinge clamps.

Drill pilot holes where you have marked the board.

Screw the hinge clamps down to the board. The hinge clamps come with screws but you may want to use alternative screws depending on the depth of the board. 

Secure the screen into the hinge clamps by turning the wingnuts. You should now be able to lift your screen up and down.

For easy registration, tape a large piece of acetate to the side of the board. You can then print your design onto the acetate, slide your paper underneath
and mark the correct position. The acetate can then be folded like a book page out of the way. Small pieces of mount board are useful for placing the
paper in the correct place each time.


Meet the Maker: James Green

My name is James Green and I’m an artist and printmaker based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. I specialise in linocut and screen-print and have been working
in these mediums for around sixteen years. Nine years ago I decided to give up my ‘proper’ job to concentrate on doing this full-time. My subjects
range from landscapes to UK wildlife to surreal donkey compositions and larger abstract works.

Describe your printmaking process.

Most print ideas will start out as a photograph I’ve taken, or a drawing, or sometimes a combination of both. I’ll simplify the image to where I think
it needs to be for a linocut. I’ll then transfer the image to the lino and cut away! For prints with more than one colour I will use separate printing
plates and trust my registration skills. I sometimes use my book press for printing, but other times I’ll use just the back of a dessert spoon. It
really depends on the nature and size of the print. I’ve also just bought an XCut (primarily for workshops and demonstrations) so I’ll be experimenting
with that soon!

How and where did you learn to print?

I taught myself. I studied art at university back in the early 90s but I never realised you could do printmaking (as daft as that sounds now). About sixteen
years ago I was lent some lino, tools and inks and I made a print of my cat. I was hooked straight away. I now teach workshops roughly once a month,
and love to see how people from different backgrounds approach creating prints.

Why printmaking?

I love the unpredictability of the medium, and the limitations that are inherent. They make you think much more about the marks you are making and the composition. I also love the craft of printmaking, the process of carving out the lino. I think I enjoy it as much as revealing the print. With screen-printing, I’m drawn to the way you can overlay colours and work at different scales without too much trouble, and also the surface of the prints.

Where do you work?

I have a studio at the top of my garden. I also use Sheffield Print Club for screen-printing.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I’m not sure there is a typical day! I will either be planning a new design on paper, cutting a new linocut, or printing the edition. Aside from that I’ll
be packaging up orders, framing prints for upcoming shows/exhibitions or tidying up (my studio gets messy quite easily!).

How long have you been printmaking?

Sixteen years

What inspires you?

The landscapes of Yorkshire and North Wales, wildlife that I can see first-hand, lots of artists (Goya, Max Backmann, Egon Schiele, Picasso, Corita Kent), the seaside.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

Probably my Pfeil cutters.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

Perhaps my donkey prints. I have been making prints of donkeys for just over ten years now. Last year I was asked to put on an exhibition of my donkey prints at the Oriel Mostyn in Llandudno, as a kind of retrospective (called ‘Entering Donkey World’). Seeing them all there together made me feel very proud. Last year I also created a new range of prints which were very different from what I’d done previously. I made a lot of drawings of stones from beaches I’d visited around the UK. From these, I created these large abstract screen-prints (entitled ‘Stone Compositions’). It was a lot
of fun working in a very different, non-figurative style, and quite a shock for my brain working at about A1 size too.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I sell online, mainly on Folksy, but also on Etsy too. I also sell to various galleries and art shops around the UK, and I also have a range of greeting cards published by Green Pebble. In addition, I take part in art fairs and festivals all over the UK throughout the year. I also co-organise Sheffield Print Fair, an annual event to help printmakers show and sell their work, and also show demonstrate their printing techniques.

What will we be seeing from you next?

I’m not really sure. I have quite a few events coming up, so I’m busy preparing for them, but I’m also planning some new prints. I’ve just finished a new donkey triptych and a print of a dog called ‘Woody’. I tend to post up about new prints, exhibitions and events on my blog and my newsletter too.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Take your time and find the medium for you. I tried all sorts of things, most of which I didn’t really get on with. Book on a workshop or two and see what takes your fancy. I also think it is important for creative people to do what you enjoy, not what is currently in fashion. If your heart isn’t in it
you won’t last long.

james green – printworks



twitter: @jgprintworks

instagram: @jamesgreenprintworks

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Aluminium Foil Tape Printing

Aluminium Foil Tape is a fantastic material to add to your printmaking kit. Use it to make speedy collagraph plates to print through an etching press.
Take a look at The Curious Printmaker for some
beautiful examples of how this tape can be used. We’ve used foil tape in two different ways to create prints. Read on to see how:

We will be using mount board to make our plates.

Before you get into any of the messy parts, make a registration sheet. This is easily done by placing the printing paper onto a blank sheet of paper and
drawing around the edge.

Remove the printing paper and place the blank mount board plate into the centre. Decide where the image is to be printed and draw around the plate.
This way, we will be able to easily position the print and paper on the print bed. 

To make an embossed plate:

Cut a piece of tape a little longer than the plate. If the tape is narrower than the board, consider which direction would be best for the join lines
in the design. Carefully peel back the backing at one corner and stick it to the board. Peeling the backing as you go, smooth the tape down to cover
the plate.

Continue to cut and stick pieces of tape until the plate is covered. Trim the edges of the tape or fold around the edges of the plate. 

To emboss the plate, place the plate face up on the bed of an etching press. Position low relief objects on top of the plate. We do not want the objects
to be so high so that they damage the press. We have used dressmakers’ pins, string, thread and two different grades of sandpaper cut into strips. 

Carefully place a wad of newsprint on top of the plate and then cover with a board. We want to protect our blankets. We used an old cutting board that
is past its best. Remember that the indentations from the objects are likely to come out in the board too.

Cover with press blankets and put through the etching press. The sandwich of plate, boards and paper are quite high so you may need to relieve the pressure
a little here. 

Remove the objects to reveal the plate.

Hard objects like these pins will press deeply into the plate. Soft objects like this string will gently sculpt the surface of the foil. 

Sandpaper gives us varying textures. 

Before we begin inking we must soak our paper. Place the printing paper into a tray of water. We are using Snowdon 300gsm which soaks well and prints beautifully through the etching press. 

Scoop a little ink onto an inking plate. We are using Hawthorn Stay Open Inks in Turquoise mixed with a little Hawthorn Linseed Reducing Jelly.

Using a soft brush such as a child’s toothbrush, gently ink up the plate. 


Use a wad of scrim to polish the plate; working the ink into the embossed textures and wiping the excess ink from the surface.

Clean your hands. Use paper fingers (or folded pieces of card) to pick the soaking paper. Blot with blotting paper to remove excess water. 

Place the registration sheet onto the print bed. Place the plate on top and then the damp paper using the marks as a guide. 

Roll through the etching press on a fairly tight pressure. The heavily embossed areas have printed with a dark layer of ink. Any areas that are embossed
more heavily may print as a white shape as the paper will not be able to press into very deep areas. Experiment with different depths to produce varying

To make a raised plate:

 Layer low relief objects onto a piece of mount board. We are using thread and shapes cut from thin card. 

Cut pieces of foil tape a little longer than the plate. Carefully peel the backing off one corner and stick to the board. Peeling off the backing as you
go, press the tape down onto the plate. The tape should capture the objects beneath. Experiment with crumpling the tape as you go for even more texture.

Cover the whole board in tape and either trim the edges or fold them around the edges of the board. Use your fingers to press the tape tightly around the

We also used an etching needle to score lines into the plate. 

Once again, before we begin inking we must soak our paper.

Ink up the plate using a soft toothbrush…

…and wipe the plate with scrim. If we are not too careful, all of the foil will wipe clean so it is important not to be too vigorous here.

To make the most of our raised textures we can combine intaglio and relief inking. Now that our plate has been inked up intaglio, we can roll out a thin
layer of Hawthorn Stay Open Ink in Ultramarine (we have not added any Linseed Reducing Jelly).

Gently roll over the top of the plate. The raised areas will pick up the ink – this is a little like viscosity inking. 

Use a cloth or cotton bud to polish clean any areas that you wish to remain white. 

Place the plate on the print bed on top of the registration sheet. Place the blotted paper on top. 

Run the plate through the press to take a print. 


Here is our print without wiping the sky clean. 

We tried combining or intaglio inking with relief inking on our embossed plate. 

For this project you will need:

Meet the Maker: Gemma Dunn

I am a painter and printmaker from Salisbury, Wiltshire. I have a background in product design but my love of materials and traditional craftsmanship led
me to pursue a career in fine art. I am happiest outdoors and when I’m not occupied with my two young children I can usually be found working on something
in my studio or tending to our allotment.

Describe your printmaking process.

The majority of my current work is linocut, which is a very approachable low tech printmaking process. I develop my ideas with two main objectives: to
study the forms that are found in nature and to try and express the emotion of my response. I draw a lot. I combine work from my sketchbooks with photography
using layers and layers of tracing paper to add and refine elements until there is something that really excites me about the way it’s coming together.
The image is then transferred to the lino ready for carving using a couple of maverick transfer methods I developed along the way. The process of carving
always adds an element of surprise to the final image because it seems to me there are things that can only be expressed through the tools in the mark
making stage. Many of my linocuts are simply inked in prussian blue, making the most of their graphic quality without the starkness of black on white.
For coloured images, I like to refer back to my painting studies from life.

How and where did you learn to print?

My first experience of printmaking was at school with blunt tools and old, rock hard lino. It was not an instant love affair! Then in 2012 I came across
several vintage Indian wood blocks at a wood fair near Brighton. They were battered and I had no idea what to do with them, but they were so beautiful
I decided to take them home. Curiosity led me to investigate how they would have been used and so began my largely self-taught printmaking journey.
Books, online resources and a lot of trial and error have helped me along the way. But I am especially thankful to the generous artists and printmakers
who share their processes and materials in blogs and in online learning groups such as Linocut Friends (Facebook). This is partly why I also take the time to share my own printmaking discoveries.

Why printmaking?

I make art in many different media including printmaking, but recently I have gravitated more towards printmaking because it forces me to carefully consider
the design of an image. Poor decisions about value and composition have nowhere to hide. With the immediacy of sketching and painting, it is tempting
to be lazy about these things. It is too easy to fall in love with colour and my own ideas and just camp there. Printmaking takes me further in finding
the bare bones of how to communicate visually.

The other thing I love about printmaking is that it feels like total alchemy! The end result is very much a product of the twists and turns of the process
itself and the work therefore takes on a life of its own. It’s magical. Forcing me to slow down and trust the process I think has made me a better

Where do you work?

Mostly I work in my studio, but on a sunny afternoon I have been known to carve lino barefoot by the river! I like drawing from life and so a lot of the
initial stages of gathering ideas and imagery usually begins outdoors.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I’m easily bored by routine so I’d say on the whole I try hard not to have a typical day in my studio! Some days my head is full of custom orders, packaging
things up, rushing to the post office, admin, ordering materials and prepping for workshops. I find these activities are incredibly draining, so no
matter how busy I am I have to allow myself days where the focus is on exploring my own ideas, slowing down with a bowl of homemade soup and fresh
sourdough bread, and zoning out with the chickens in their run. I also make time for creative play where I don’t worry about being efficient with my
materials or aim for any specific outcome. Most of my best work has its origins in these moments of freedom.

How long have you been printmaking?

I discovered the world of printmaking about 6 years ago. It’s been just over a year since I devoted my time and focus to linocut in particular. That transition
came around the time I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which was affecting my joints. In an act of defiance I picked up a large A3 sheet of
lino and began what I thought would be my last linocut…!

What inspires you?

The natural world is the finest piece of artwork imaginable. Whether you are looking at it on a microscopic or macro scale, it has wisdom echoing throughout
its design on so many levels. I believe it has the power and beauty to heal and restore and I think a lifetime spent discovering the treasure hidden
within is a life well spent.

I also spend a lot of time looking at other artists’ work. I am interested in many different disciplines and I find it fascinating seeing the world expressed
through another person’s eyes. Even if something is not to my taste, I enjoy finding what is great about it and what I can learn from their process.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I love Caligo Safe Wash Inks.
As a painter, I really enjoy their proper range of artist pigments which feel familiar when mixing, plus they are so versatile and easy to clean up.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

Honestly, it’s not even a piece of art, it’s my studio!
I designed and built this space myself on a shoestring budget out of sheer necessity. Previously I was trying to work on a tiny kitchen table, but
curious little hands and messy family life were preventing me from growing my business as a practicing artist. I have worked incredibly hard, learning
everything from how to build a stud wall to plastering from YouTube videos. It has been paid for in part by selling my work and running workshops,
skip diving and bartering. It is finally in a state where I can start hosting workshops from home and I’m incredibly proud of the journey it’s taken
to get to this moment.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

New work is released for sale on my website in very small limited editions. My mailing list is given first pick. There is also a selection of my original hand printed linocuts and homewares on display at
Fisherton Mill in Salisbury. If you are local I’d highly recommend a visit to their award-winning gallery, cafe and artist studios.

I also post regularly on Facebook and Instagram  where you will find some video clips of the methods I use.

What will we be seeing from you next?

I am currently working on a series of linocuts delving further into some of the themes introduced in my previous work. They depict the flow of life that
comes through remaining connected – in family, in community, to our resources and in spirit. Being grounded in connection is the foundation on which
we can grow and thrive. If you would like to see them when they are first released in early 2019 you can join my mailing list.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Create. Do it for the sheer joy of it, do it for yourself, do it because the creativity is fiery in your bones. But also make the time and effort to grow
in your skill because a lifetime of learning is the way to stay fresh and humble in what you are doing. You don’t need expensive tools and materials
as much as you need an attitude of perseverance. Start with what you have to hand.

Keep p to date with Gemma Dunn’s work:


Instagram: @gemmadunnart


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