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Meet the Maker - Marian Haf

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

I’m Marian and in short I'm a Mother of three, allotment neglecter and printmaker, I live in my native West Wales on the side of a hill in Ceredigion. I dabble with screen printing, wood cuts the odd bit of lino but collagraphs are my thing. 
 

Describe your printmaking process.

I’m a real night owl so all my ideas and plans tend to fill my head when I should be drifting off to sleep, I’m not one for sketch books although I’m trying to make an effort as my head is so full, more ideas than time at the moment which is a great position to be in. I’ll draw out my plan or image onto tissue paper, as there is always an abundance of it (it’s used to wrap the damp prints in, to transport home from the print group safely and smudge free). Sometimes I draw straight onto mount board which I use as the plate for my collagraphs. The mount board is then worked into and onto, peeling away thin layers to reveal a more textured surface which holds the ink and gives you your darker tones The surface is also scratched and drawn into with controlled and haphazard lines, dots and marks (I like this bit a lot) highlights are added by applying glue to the surface. The mount board is then cut to shape, sealed with shellac and inked. The plate is inked intaglio, the ink is applied quite thickly and worked into the plate with gauze and then buffed away, firstly with yellow pages and then with tissue paper. The inking can take up to an hour for a larger piece but when ready it is sent through the press with damp paper. With one hand behind your back and fingers crossed you lift the paper for the reveal!


How and where did you learn to print?

My first taste of printmaking started early in Secondary School, we had a great art teacher (Huw Art) who had a printmaking degree from Loughborough. We would make reduction lino prints with oil based inks, I can still remember washing my hands in white spirit! I also had the opportunity to take a printmaking module on my foundation at CCTA Carmarthen; then that was it for years until I joined a local print group - Printers in the Sticks after the birth of my first child Sam. It was an escapism for me, fast forward 7-8 years and two more children and I am about to embark on it full time, well as full time as three children allows!


Why printmaking?

Because its the closest thing to magic that I know of.

I struggled with painting throughout my degree, never really achieving my desired aesthetic, I now understand why, I was in the wrong discipline.

I love the process and the fact that there is a guiding hand and a printing technique to fulfil. It meets all of my aesthetic requirements. although my prints are predominantly collagraphs I do like adding a paper cut screen print or some blind embossing now and again.

Where do you work?

I feel very lucky to have a little studio in the garden although I feel much more comfortable calling it a shed. my husband built it and it has two equally sized halves, a half each, its insulated and light and houses my little press and a beautiful plan chest that Andy managed to swap for an afternoons work for a retired architect


Describe a typical day in your studio.

At the moment I only have one whole (school day) free to work which is a Wednesday and they usually go a little like this.

I pop my paper in to soak before dropping the kids at school and with the child minder, I call in for a cuppa with my friend and fellow maker Sue of notchhandmade and we talk of our weekly struggles and successes. I drool over her latest leather bag which she's been making, then home to another cuppa and to tackle the printing to do list , whilst listening to the radio. 3.30 comes around quick and depending on my level of procrastination for that day I'll pop back out to the shed after the kids bed time to finish off. Most of my plate making and admin is done in the house in the evening or whilst the kids play.


How long have you been printmaking?

Off and on since my early teens, but more seriously for the past two years.


What inspires you?

I find this hard to pin point, I'm very much a magpie and I'm easily distracted. I guess a running theme is nostalgia, memories of fishing with my father and siblings, the discarded toys of my own children and more recently and so far unrealised the welsh tradition of quilt making.


What is your favourite printmaking product?

I love the paper the most, I use Fabriano Rosaspina and I'm very partial to a tub of Neon Pink Speedball Acrylic Screen Printing Ink, or Neon Yellow and really would like to get my hands on some Glow in the Dark.


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

I have an Etsy shop - etsy.com/uk/shop/marianhaf

I also have a permanent spot on the walls of Ultracomida Deli in Narbeth.

A couple of prints can also be found at Lotti and Wren in Caernarfonand and  Thyme and Tides in Aberystwyth.

I'm also currently a part of the 'into the sea' showcase in Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno and the soon to be Art at the Hall 'Surf, Sand and Sea Exhibition'   which runs from the 25th of August to 8th of September in Llangathen, Carmarthenshire.


 

What will we be seeing from you next?

I think the fish, seafood and coastal aspect of my work is going to be sticking around. With the promise of more time in September I'd like to explore my interest in traditional Welsh quilts and the nostalgia and melancholy they evoke in me.


Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Make time and go for it!

Website - www.mothermaker.com/store/marianhaf/

Instagram - @marianhaf