I'm a digital printmaker but I also screen print and lasercut. However there are several other processes which fall into the bracket of printmaking. I was lucky enough to sample them while on my M A in Multidisciplinary Printmaking at UWE which I completed in 2012.
Lino cutting, etching, collagraphy, lithography, letterpress, enamelling and 3D printing were also on offer there.
But you can't get good at all of them!
The most exciting thing about digital print for me, is the fact that you aren't ever limited to designing in just a few colours..... you can design with as many as you like! The other main advantage is that you only have to print as much as you need- there's no minimum print run or order. Which is something you might expect if you were getting fabric printed commercially using other methods of print. It would be cheaper if you were buying in bulk but for a designer/ maker like myself, digital print means I can create lots of different designs for different specifications and in multiple colour ways without having to take out a bank loan and the risk of having lots of unwanted fabric left over, if it's turns out to not be a popular. What we don't need is more unwanted textiles in the world!
This point kind of ties in with why a lot of my designs are about bees and other pollinators. I first started making imagery about bees when I heard about colony collapse syndrome on the radio nine years ago. Most people know bees are suffering now, I decided to focus on a subject that I thought was important but also because I thought bees were just amazing!
My work is very geometric and I love the challenge of making a pattern fit a formlike a lampshade, cushion , ball, pincushion or a chair. Alot of my of my motifs start off as simple geometric shapes which are manipulated in Illustrator- the digital programme I use to design in.
My colour palette isn't random either. My pollen range of fabrics were inspired by a swatch of colours I found on the Avon Bee Keepers website. They classified at least 20 different pollen colours ranging from dark navy, to greens to reds, oranges and yellows.
Lasercutting is also considered a form of printmaking as it's possible to make multiples and repeats of whatever is being cut or etched. Although I'd only had a taster session on my MA course, once I'd got my head around Illustrator, it was a natural progression for me to start designing my mirrors as the same programme is used to create files for cutting.
Thats enough about me because of course we do have other printmakers in Fig
Chitra has been screen printing for years and years having also completed the same MA in Multidisciplinary printmaking several years before me. I absolutely love her use of vibrant colour! She also teaches how to do it at Spike Print.
Kate Tarlings linocuts of elephants butterflies and chickens decorate her cushions and prints on paper.
Even Robyn's use of stencils on her fused glass birds could make her a printmaker!
And of course we all use digital print or screen print to transfer our creations into greeting card form. Print is well represented in Fig.
By Katie Wallis