I thought now would be a good time to reflect on a significant milestone for my small printmaking/illustration business. In November some friends opened their home up to host a small exhibition and sale of my work so far. For me it was an opportunity to mark the end of my first year of studies with the OCA and push myself to become more comfortable with sharing my work with a wider audience.
Here I simply want to share some of my thoughts alongside photos captured on the day by a friend, Matthew Wendzina.
The print in the photo opposite was part of a series of prints for a final project in my first year printmaking module. It involved creating a series of prints demonstrating different approaches in technique of the same subject matter. I chose to create prints around the local butchers shop ‘Bosworth’s Butchers’ after being inspired by a series of prints by Eric Ravilious.
In the photograph to the left are a series of prints combining chine colle technique and linocut printing. Interestingly people seemed to like or at least be surprised by the bold blue background. I wasn’t sure what people would make of this as it’s quite unusual.
In the opposite side of the space I exhibited work towards my Graphic Design Module. I think overall the piece I was most pleased with was a series of introductory pages designed in illustrator for a book on Typography aimed at young people.
The Joy print opposite wasn’t part of my uni coursework. I had a period of time after finishing my first year printmaking module when I had moved onto Graphic Design. I missed printing so chose to keep pursue printmaking through personal projects.
I was considering a bible verse (Psalm 28:7) and wanted to create a visual around the theme of Joy – the print is the outcome of this exploration.
It’s a four colour linocut print – perhaps a little scruffier than I’d originally hoped for but I wanted a sense of movement or fun in the print and this seems to help.
I wanted to create a distinction between work created as part of my degree and personal work for the show. So I asked my father-in-law to make a large plywood display stand, based on smaller peg boards it has a series of large holes and wooden pegs which can sit plywood shelving on top of. You can see the finished display board in action in the photograph below.
I used it to display my lino-printed greeting cards, art prints and illustrations. I aim to use it again in the future hopefully at craft fairs or other points of sale.
Showing my degree work to a wider audience was for me somewhat a challenge. I was mostly fine on the day – but in the week leading up to it my mind/thoughts kept wandering round a familiar pattern – ‘What if people don’t like my work?’, ‘What will I do if someone says they hate it or they think it’s pointless?’. I know the root of most of these thoughts is a lack of confidence in my own ability – but I also know I’ll never progress if I refuse to share my work with others.
So I went ahead with the exhibition anyway – and I discovered no-one wanted to yell at me or make fun of my work or tell me to give up. Instead I found myself enjoying the chance to explain to people how things had been produced. I had time to show people blocks of carved lino and collograph plates – being able to speak in person gave me room to share process in a way I could not do before.
I’ll leave my thoughts there for the moment and leave you with a few of my favourite photographs from the day…
p.s. If you’re looking to buy any of the prints in this post or are just feeling curious you can find some in my Etsy Shop: MovedByBreath.