Sarah has been running her own creative business for over 20 years. She describes her work as 'Joyful, fresh and contemporary, with a Mid-Century Scandinavian feel. Colours, and their effect on each other, fascinate me. Put simply my colours must sing.'
She contributes regularly to UK Handmade magazine and is a passionate champion of independent businesses and Artists and Designers. Such is her belief in their future she instigated the 'Just a Card' campaign to encourage people to support them. She's also been a guest speaker at Mollie Makes awards, Crafty Fox Market events and for The Design Trust. Sarah's work has sold through many prestigious stores.
Describe your printmaking process.
Silkscreen printing is my first love. I mainly use paper cut stencils and my book ‘House of Cards’ describes the process, as well as other techniques, in depth. Ten leading artists and designers, including Gabriela Szulman, Kirsty Elson and Sam Marshall, detail their own favoured techniques to inspire both those new to printmaking and professional artists alike. The aim is to show that greeting cards can be artworks in their own right though the book is useful and inspiring to everyone interested in a variety of printmaking processes including lino printing, textile foiling and letterpress printing.
How and where did you learn to print?
My first degree was in Fine Art, Printmaking from Manchester, followed by a post-grad at Central St Martins. Very happy days, and I was taught etching by Norman Ackroyd – if you know his work you’ll appreciate how lucky I was, though I ultimately specialised in screen printing I loved etching too.
Nothing beats the excitement of lifting a silkscreen to see the results of printing. I use a variety of mediums, and make a range of work, but my first love is my trusty screen press. I’m addicted to paper and love everything about the process – cutting paper stencils, mixing inks, brandishing a squeegee, watching multiple prints stack up. Screen printing is a great way to learn about and discover colour relationships - however experienced you are, you can never predict the results.
Where do you work?
My studio’s in my home in Dulwich, South London. It's an unusual split-level 1950's house set in woods overlooking the city. The best thing about it is that it’s an upside down house, the living spaces are at the top, so my studio is flooded with natural light. I’ve the best of both worlds here as it’s very green, but only 14 minutes by train to central London.
Describe a typical day in your studio.
One of the many pleasures of my work life is that no two days are the same. Days are spent designing, packing online orders or meeting clients, either here or in the studio, to discuss a commission. I also run the JUST A CARD campaign, write for various publications, as well as being a trustee of an educational arts charity - all these add ensure my week is as varied as it is busy.
How long have you been printmaking?
My first encounter with silkscreen printing was at sixth form college - aged sixteen. I had a fantastic Art tutor – one of those extra special inspirational teachers who alter the course of your life by their passion and enthusiasm.He’d persuaded the college to invest in printmaking facilities, and I clearly recall him saying he thought I’d love screenprinting as I was so keen on experimenting with colour.I’ll always be grateful to him for his support and encouragement.
What inspires you?
Nature, music, folk art, travel, fifties designs, everything Japanese, architecture, books - all the usual suspects with a healthy dose of music, friendship and laughter rolled in.I gravitate to art, architecture and design from the 'less is more’ school of thought - clean lines, the union between materials, colour and imagery. As to the music, friendship and laughter- the more of that the better!
What is your favourite printmaking product?
I love so many tools and products associated with printmaking, but one of my very favourites is lino rollers. I especially like the ones with wooden handles
and brass fixings, so beautifully made.
What have you made that you are most proud of?
A living as an artist and designer – does that count!? It’s not easy – there are so many challenges, but overcoming them is part of the exciting creative journey.
Where can we your work? Where do you sell?
Every year, in May (Sat/Sun 13-14th this year)I have an Open House/Studio. It’s fun, sociable and everyone’s welcome so do pop in. It's a great day out and we have fabulous cakes too. Details will be on my social media channels and website. I also sell via my website and through various galleries and independent shops.
What will we be seeing from you next?
2017 is shaping up to be very busy and I’m planning to focus on more Fine Art work. Funnily enough, as the book was meant to inspire people, Sam Marshall’s chapter in House of Cards about lino printing has reignited my love of relief printing - I may well be ordering some lino materials from Handprinted soon.
Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?
My advice is to always keep your creative aims in mind - try new things and never compare yourself to others.
Also, very importantly, embrace Social Media with open arms - it really is an artists’ best friend. No end of opportunities have come my way from it. Be patient, consistent and generous to others and you’ll find it makes a huge difference. I wouldn’t have written this book if I hadn’t made the initial contacts on Twitter. It’s very important to remember that SM is not all about selling – it’s as much about making connections which ultimately lead to somewhere.
And finally – Check out the JUST A CARD campaign to encourage people to support artists, makers and independent shops. Follow us on Social Media - especially on Instagram. Our volunteer team work extremely hard to promote the campaign so we’d love you to join us.