Thursday, 30 January 2014

Interview with Sarah Dennis

On Monday 10th February Sarah Dennis will be running a papercutting workshop at Hamilton House. I had a great time doing the same workshop back in November, where we all spent a relaxing time listening to music and cutting away at our paper, watching in awe as Sarah demonstrated the intricate techniques of slicing away even the tiniest sections of a drawing. Her designs combine the simple block colours of the papers and the intricacy of her detailed cutting to create stunning works of art, which range from gifts to a published children's book. 

I asked Sarah a few questions to find out a bit more about her work, so that you can find out more about her as an artist and maybe try your hand at papercutting! 

How did you first get into paper-cutting?

It was not until after my degree that I started focusing on my paper cutting skills. I was invited to contribute a piece of artwork for an exhibition called 'play' in London by a collective called Inkygoodness. It was with this piece that my paper cutting journey began; I let my imagination run wild and put together a really detailed piece with multiple intertwined layers. I loved creating this piece so much that I began to research traditional paper cutting methods as well as developing techniques of my own.

Do you only work in paper-cutting or do you work in other creative fields?

I draw in pencil and pen and ink.

What is your earliest recollection of paper-cutting and what made you want to do more?

I have always been intrigued by oriental artwork. I took a trip to Bristol museum one day where I discovered the most amazing Chinese paper craft exhibition. This work was the most intricate and detailed crafted imagery I had ever seen. This opened my mind to the possibilities of paper cutting and made to want to learn more.

What inspires you and are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work?

I love nature, sometimes just watching a documentary will inspire me to create a new piece. I'm really interested in the natural patterns that emerge in nature: from the fractals in Romanesco broccoli to the flocking of birds and fish. I also love to think a lot about the incredible journeys that creatures make to survive. I also love reading old folktales: I recently bought some books called 'Japanese Tales and Legends' and 'Coyote Stories'. I love the use of imagery in these stories and the morals of the tales. All of these themes feed into and inspire my artwork in some way. 

Which other paper artists' work do you admire?

I admire the work of Elsa Mora  and Mia Pearlman.

The manipulation of paper can produce some beautiful artwork, do you ever experiment with other materials?

I am pretty hooked on paper at the moment, I recently received a book called 'paper to petal' this book teaches you how to make flowers from crape paper. This is a totally new way of working for me and one I am really enjoying learning more about.

Sarah Dennis' workshop will take place on Monday 10th February from 6-8.30pm at £25. To sign up click on the 'workshops' tab on this blog.

- Sacha

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Interview with Katharina Nyilas

With the opening of her Into the Forest exhibition only a week away, perhaps you would like to find about more about the talented Bristol based artist. 
In a short interview, Katharina tells us about her work as an illustrator and printmaker- don't forget Katharina is running wildlife-themed workshops next week where you will have a chance to try botanical monoprinting and book binding, as well as other exciting workshops run with other Bristol artists. Find out more on the 'workshops' tab on this blog. 

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work

I work in Bristol as an illustrator, printmaker and creative workshop coordinator.
Nature, wildlife and our environment inspires most of my work, which I believe is of vital importance. My illustrative work is intricate detailed and delicate, which is why I love to explore with screen printing, which by the nature of the process creates much stronger bolder shapes and lines allowing my work to make a different impact.

What inspires you? Are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work?

The influence and control people have over our environment intrigues me and I like to research different aspects of this whether it happens to be regarding fishing policies, our urban wildlife, pollution or poaching. I am also interested in re-using and recycling materials and so far have been experimenting with utilizing them in my printmaking. I have used found wood, fabrics and ripped sheets of billboard, which I have found hanging billowing in the wind and littering the ground.

Could you give us an insight into where you work; your studio/workspace and where you print?

I have a studio space at Hamilton House in the drawn in Bristol studio, giving me access to screen-printing facilities and a very useful A3 scanner. I prefer to work in the studio opposed to working at home as it allows me to separate my work from home life.

How would you like to develop your printmaking skills in the future?

At the moment I am experimenting with screen-printing and different found materials to work with. I would like to carry on experimenting with screen-printing for the time being as it is such as versatile technique. Almost anything can be printed onto, which suits me as I enjoy making my own illustrated products, which will be available to purchase from my exhibition ‘Into the forest’ from the 6th Feb at 6 pm. In the future I may take up a printmaking course and learn other processes.

Keep checking the blog to read more interviews on the other Bristol artists co-ordinating workshops next week. Katharina's prints will be available for purchase at the opening of her exhibition on 6th February 6-9pm at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft.

- Sacha

Friday, 24 January 2014

Workshops - Sophie Rae, Woodland Inspired Monoprinting with Stencils 11th February

In keeping with the theme of ancient forests and wildlife for Katharina's exhibition Into the Forest, there will be workshops running throughout the week by Katharina herself and other guest co-ordinators, a chance to get creative and be inspired by wildlife!

Sophie Rae, Bristol based illustrator and print maker, will be running a workshop on:

11th February from 5.30-8.30pm
Hamilton House
80 Stokes Croft
Bristol BS1 3QY

 To sign up for this workshop online, click on the workshops tab on this blog.

Have a look at this interview with Sophie to find out more about her love of printmaking:

What sort of prints do you make?
I am a member of Drawn in Bristol and work as an Illustrator and print maker. I create mono-prints by sketching and hand cutting paper. I also teach my techniques in workshops.

Are you solely a print maker or do you work in any other creative fields?

I spend most of my time printmaking, but I do occasionally like to pick up a paint brush and use watercolours. And when I do Illustration commissions I often tweak a couple of things in Photoshop.

What is your earliest recollection of making a print and what made you to want to do more?

I started printmaking when I was at University doing my Illustration Degree. I then created a way of working which meant I didn’t specifically need to be in a printmaking studio or have access to a press. I’d done screen printing and really enjoyed the effects you could get from it, but not the process so much. Then I found a way to work that I could do at home or just at my desk in my studio ,without needing all the big screen printing equipment. My way of working also allowed me to create more subtle and graduating tones, creating more depth and atmosphere and work spontaneously as I went along, by being able to add ink with my roller, after taking a step back. I feel more in control of the process this way I guess. Rather than putting all the effort into the planning stage I like to just get the inks out and go for it. 

What inspires you and are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work?

I am inspired mostly by the natural wonders of this beautiful world, including tranquil locations I’ve been to, bright colours and patterns, animals, vegetables are also really lovely. Leaves, the sky, flowers. Music… 

The work of which other print maker/s do you admire?

I love the work of Angie Lewin. She is also inspired by the walks she takes and the plant life she sees. And David Weidman, his lovely use of bright colours. 

Printmaking is made up of lots of different processes, which aspect do you enjoy the most?

That’s what I love about my process. The variety keeps things exciting. There is sketching, then cutting, then mixing the colours, then applying the ink to the paper. My favourite parts are probably the sketching and mixing the colours and applying the ink. (That's most parts isn't it!).

Do you have a favourite tool or something you find invaluable when printing?

My special durathene roller from Lawrence Art Supplies. It’s softness really allows me to get into small corners of stencils that I have cut, giving me the chance to put more detail in my work.

 - Sacha

Looking forward to the opening of Into the Forest Exhibition 6.2.14

Hi there - my name is Sacha Beeley, and I'm very happy to say that I'll be helping Katharina with her
exciting new exhibition, Into the Forest. I am a student at the University of Bristol and I have a passion for illustration, which is how I found out about Katharina's beautiful work. I'm trying to get as much experience as possible in the creative world so that I have a chance of getting a job in graphic design next year, where I will be living in Paris and Italy for my third year of a languages degree! You can see some of my work here.

So, in the next couple of weeks I'll be keeping you updated with news about the Into the Forest exhibition, taking place at Hamilton House from the 7th - 13th February with private viewing on the 6th from 6-9pm. 

The exhibition will hold wildlife illustrations concerning the ancient forests in the UK, to celebrate the wonderful eco system our country is home to, and that we must protect! As the focus of the exhibition is the preservation of our ancient forests, there will be complimentary delicious cider provided by Severn Cider who practise conversation and sustainability through the production of their craft cider.

Don't forget, there is also a competition- all you have to do is name the animal and plant beginning with 'F' shown in the F illustration to win it as a limited edition print! Please send answers to

Keep checking this blog for news, including some upcoming workshops, as well as our twitter and facebook!

- Sacha