Wednesday, 23 March 2022

New year, new studio, new prints, new events...

Hi there

So far 2022 has been a pretty productive year. I've now properly moved into my new screen-print studio (delayed a little by waiting for some equipment to arrive). But I'm in there now, probably 50/50 with my linocut studio, and I'm getting new prints done that I've had planned for a while! It feels very liberating to be able to screen-print whenever I want to.


NEW PRINTS


Crow No.2

This is the second edition I created of this print. The first was a really big 76x56cm print, in a tiny edition, and it sold out quickly. 

This time I have created it as an A3 size print, in a bigger edition of 50, in slightly different colours (black and dark blue). It is a linocut which I then transferred to a silkscreen to print the edition, as I do for many of my prints.

Its in my Folksy shop now.












Happenings In Donkey World No.9















I had so much fun playing with colour on my previous two 'Happenings' prints that I wanted to create another! It is an A3 size screen-print, using three transparent inks (yellow, pink and blue) which, when overlaid, create another series of colours. The print is in an edition of 40, and is in my Folksy shop now. 



Mevagissey, Cornwall

I went to the south coast of Cornwall on holiday last year (I seem to go every year!), and visited this place for the first time. Straight away I realised I needed to make a print! The jumble of houses on the steep harbour incline, the boats, the clouds all add up for me. The linocut.screenprint is A3 size and in an edition of 60.

It is in my Folksy shop now. 













Watson

Watson is our new cat. Sadly Otto died in 2021 (he was 18), and it wasn't the same having a home with no cat. So we got him from the RSPCA later in the year, and he very quickly became a member of our family!

I'm sure I will probably create many prints of him, but with this one I just wanted to capture his bliss in sleeping, and also his lovely stripey tabby coat.

The print is a linocut/screen-print, in three colours and in an edition of 50. It is now in my Folksy shop.









The Donkey Clouds















This was a print that I started last September, as I had planned to create it whilst demo-ing at The Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey. As it happened, I only had enough time to create another print while I was there ('The Donkey Garden'), so this one sat on the to-do pile until early 2022. I got there in the end and created an A4 size lino/screenprint in dark blue, edition of 40 (also a tiny edition of 5 on black paper too!). Yet more strange donkey dreams... It is now in my Folksy shop.


EVENTS

I'm itching to get out again to art/craft/print events! Here is what I have, so far, coming up until June 2022.























Printed Bound

2nd/3rd April 2022, Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 5UJ

This is a brand new event, focussing on artist's books and printmaking. The line-up looks great, and the venue is too, a fantastic creative space just outside the centre of Leeds.


Printfest

30th April/1st May 2022, The Coro, County Square, Ulverston LA12 7LZ

Printfest returns at last! The mother of all UK print events returns, and I'm thrilled to be taking part. It takes place in Ulverston in the Lake District, at a lovely arts and entertainment hall called The Coro.


Endless Love Creative

7th May 2022, The Workstation, 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield S1 2BX

These events have been going on for a while now, but I did my first one last year, and was mightily impressed. There was a great buzz, and it was really well curated too. Expect lots of contemporary art and craft.


Manchester Print Fair

14th May 2022, Manchester Cathedral, Victoria St, Manchester M3 1SX

Again another long awaited event returns! MPF is always a great event, with all sorts of contemporary and traditional printmaking, right in the centre of Manchester.


The Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey

17th/18th/19th June 2022, 1 Southbrook Ln, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot TQ13 9NB

Bovey returned after the break last September, but it is back again at its more familiar time of year. This is probably the biggest and best craft event in the UK. It is really like a super-cool music festival, but with the focus instead on art and craft. There are loads of demonstrations, 120 makers (!), food, music, films and all sorts of other activities. It takes place in a small village in Devon, and is definitely worth the trip!


That is about it for my blog update this time. I'm not running any workshops currently, but will post up on my facebook/instagram/newsletter as soon as that situation changes.


Cheers


James


Wednesday, 22 December 2021

2021 and all that..

Hi there

So another weird year is about to end... As my last (semi-regular) blog of the year I thought I'd try and sum up how the last 12 months have gone.

I shall try and focus on the positives, as no one wants to hear about the bad stuff, especially at the moment!

I've had a lot of fun making new prints this year, from giant crows to intricate landscapes to psychedelic landscapes. The new 'Happenings in donkey world' prints have kept me very entertained, and it has been really interesting experimenting with brighter colours and transparencies.





Likewise it has been interesting getting back into landscapes, and I finally plucked up the courage to take on 'Saltaire' in West Yorkshire. I had been meaning to make this print for a couple of years now, but had procrastinated a fair bit as it is a really complex view! So finally, I plucked up the courage and make the print, and was pretty happy with it!










Birds have been a frequent visitor to my sketchbook too, with Swifts, Swallows, Housemartins, a Hooded Crow and a giant Crow all becoming prints! More planned for next year too...












One of my highlights of the year has been my collaboration with The Stitch Society, designing and making smocks and aprons! I have known Charlotte of TSS for a while now, and always admired their artisan workwear. I have designed a few t-shirts over the last few years, and created textile patterns, but never combined both things until now! I was very lucky in receiving a grant from the Freelance Fund in Sheffield to finance this project, and they were launched in June 2021. Each garment is made to order and available either from my Folksy shop or their website.


The other main highlight this year has been the return of events. I hadn't realised how much I would miss them until there were pretty much no art/craft fairs for 12 months or more. They all started with the mighty Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey, Devon, in early September. I love this event. It is really more like a cool music festival, except the music is swapped for the best art and craft in the UK (there is some music too). There were lots of visitors who had clearly missed connecting with craft and it was so nice to see so many art and craft friends I hadn't seen in such a long time. Big-ups also to the brilliant Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester and Craft Fair Contemporary in Nottingham for putting on brilliantly curated events with great atmospheres too! I'm very grateful indeed to have good pal Ben Partridge (of The Owlery) as my travel buddy for most of these events. We have travelled many miles and had so many daft conversations.

Thanks to everyone who also came to Sheffield Print Fair 2021 too (the event I co-organise). after a year out, and a new venue (The Millennium Gallery) we couldn't have asked for a better and busier event!


My final exciting 'thing' has been building a new studio, in our old garage. It was a smelly, damp spider-den for many years, and I decided this year to convert it into a screen-print studio. I still have my lino studio, but this new one will be just for screen-printing. It has taken quite a while, with some serious damp-proofing and building work (not done by me, obviously!), and some of the equipment I needed has taken a while to arrive, but I'm pretty much there. Thanks to Studio Waterhouse and Hunk Print for their help. I just need to put up a load of shelves and I'm there, I think. So I'm really looking forward to a very productive 2022!













Thanks for your support throughout this year. It is really appreciated and never taken for granted.

Take care, and a happy new year to you! x

Friday, 18 June 2021

JG vs The Stitch Society!

 Yes, it is war! Not really, I'm simply trying to humorously trying to introduce my latest collaborative project. Sorry...

A few months ago I got talking with my friends Ben from The Owlery and Charlotte from The Stitch Society about doing some kind of textile collaboration. I have done a couple of textile projects before (designing fabric for baby carriers for Sleepy Nico, and t-shirts for Hunk Print), but I was hungry for more!

The Stitch Society produce artisan workwear, bags, masks, aprons, smocks and all sorts of lovely garments. Their pieces are really well designed and are clearly not just 'workwear'!

They both encouraged me to go for it and before too long I had designed a repeat pattern that could be used on fabric. I wanted to create two different garments, both workwear, but perhaps one that could also be used in a non-work setting too, so a smock and an apron were settled on!

At the same time, I had applied for a grant from the Freelance Fund in Sheffield, who were offering small grants to creatives in the city for new projects. I proposed this textile project, and at a scale where it would be more than just a 'try out'. A month or so later I found out that I had been successful, so the sewing machines could start revving up!

I created a repeat pattern based on my donkey theme called 'The Donkey Woods'. This took some time! I'm not going to explain here how you create a repeat pattern, but it isn't easy, especially working with lino. So, once the design was complete, I had the fabric manufactured (255gsm cotton drill fabric) and took it along to Charlotte's fantastic studio, which is in Salts Mill in Saltaire, West Yorkshire (also home to a Hockney Gallery and the best book shop in the world). I then let the Stitch Society weave their magic and the smock and apron appeared!


So, here is 'Donkey Woods' smock, available in small/medium and large (exact sizes on the Folksy page). It costs £70, plus £5 p&p. All are made to order, so will take 14 days  from order to delivery.


and the 'Donkey Woods' apronavailable in one size that fits sizes 10 to 16 (due to the flexible cross-over strap design). It costs £65, plus £5 p&p. All are made to order, so will take 14 days  from order to delivery.





Oh, finally, I have created an A3 poster-print version of the design, in case anyone likes the image but workwear isn't their thing.



Thanks to Sheffield Council and the Freelance Fund for helping me make this happen, and to Charlotte and the TSS team for working with me, to Ben for his encouragement, and Gem for being my model!




Thursday, 18 March 2021

Psychedelic donkeys, and some housemartins too..

Hi there

My blog posts don't seem to be getting more frequent, however much I tell myself and they should be. Perhaps I should just accept that I'm a '4 times a year' kind of blogger, and stop fretting?!

I hope you're all well. Print world is going ok. It is as unpredictable as ever, but I'm feeling good about making new work, and hopeful that things can get back to some kind of normal in the second half of this year. Some events are lined up to be happening, but I'll post about them a bit nearer the time.

I had a bit of a creative block at the beginning of the year, but that has thankfully dissipated and I have new prints to show you!


NEW PRINTS

Happenings in Donkey World No.6



Happenings in Donkey World No.7



I will explain about these two prints together, as they are in some way, linked. Neither of these prints was really planned. I was just drawing away in my sketchbook one minute, and next I'm at the vacuum bed, squeegee in hand! Well, obviously I had to think about the layers and colours, but they all just came together so quickly. I've never worked in bright colours before, and wanted to experiment with colour transparencies. There is something quite magical about creating colours from overlaying other colours, and often with screenprinting, you never know exactly the colours you are going to get! So HDW No.6 came along first, as a 3-colour print (with all the overlays actually creating seven colours!). It is an A2 size print, in an edition of 30. I had so much fun creating this one, that I decided to create a smaller accompanying print HDW No.7. The same colour scheme, just a smaller and more concise landscape, in an edition of 35. 

I think maybe the choice of bright colours was due to the slight hope and optimism in the air with the Covid situation and the news of vaccinations and lowering infection rates.

Both are in my Folksy shop.


Housemartins


Following on from my Swallows and Swifts prints, it would have felt rude not to include the housemartins too! They were also one of my favourite bands of the 1980's too, so it all worked out ok. Beautiful birds. It is a linocut poster-print, A3 size, and in my Folksy shop.


Magic Donkey No.3



Yes, the donkey magic rolls on. As you may know, on the donkey adventures, they are helped occasionally by some mysterious hands. Well, in this print, one lone donkey has stumbled across a whole load of them, all ready and eager to help. The print is an A4 size two-colour screenprint, printed on lovely Antique White Seawhite paper, in two versions, each in an edition of 17. They are available in my Folksy shop.

However there are actually fewer of the red/blue ones available, as I've entered the print into the latest Imprinted Instagram print swap (@im_printed). The theme is 'circle', so this seemed pretty apt! The idea is that you give ten of your prints, and in return you get a print from ten other artists on the same theme. no idea what I will receive in return, but I like a surprise.



Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Lots of new prints!

Hi there

Well, in lieu of the usual happenings at this time of year (lots of events), instead I have a load of new prints to show you! One small positive about this awful covid situation is that I've had time to work on and develop new ideas. More birds, more stones and, of course, more donkeys....

So there are clearly no live events taking place for the rest of the year. This is obviously the right thing to be doing, but I have to say I do miss travelling around, bumping into fellow artists/crafters and seeing the friendly faces of the visitors. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Hopefully things can get back to normal before too long next year. 

Anyway, here my new prints (All are available in my Folksy shop via the links in the titles):


Magic Donkey No.1

A3 size 2-colour screen-print

The new magic donkey prints are perhaps from the far-reaches of donkey-world, where things get pretty surreal. Or maybe they are just donkey-dreams? I had a lot of fun playing with transparency on these two print. Despite what you might think, you never quite know what  you'll get when you mix red and blue...Both are in editions of 25.























Magic Donkey No.2

A3 size 2-colour screen-print























The Donkey Moon (orange/green) and 
The Donkey Moon (pink/blue)

A3 size 2-colour linocut/screen-print

These prints came about after I just had this idea in my head about a donkey-moon. The moon is synonymous with lots of things, but in my mind there needed one more addition, being that special time where creature and planet are together. Makes sense, eh? The orange print is in edition of 15, and the pink an edition of 27.


























Hooded Crow

A4 size 2-colour linocut print

This is the last, and probably most rare of all the corvids (well, at least in the UK anyway). A curious crow found mainly in Ireland and the west of Scotland, although they do trave lto the east coast of the UK in the winter. This is the last in my current series of corvid prints (eight in total). Printed in an edition of 100.























Jay

A4 size 2-colour linocut print

The penultimate corvid print in the series, I love the colouring of this one, as it is so different from it's cousins. I have seen them on occasions in our garden, but they never hang around for long! Printed in an edition of 100.



Five Stones

A4 size 6-colour reduction linocut print

Following on from my six large stone compositions, I decided to create a few smaller pieces, but still in the same slightly abstracted manner. Theses ones are reduction linocuts, a method I rarely use (in which the whole image is cut from one piece of lino, printing subsequently darker colours, then cutting more away as you go along). Printed in an edition of only seven.























Three Stones

A4 size 10-colour reduction linocut print

This print breaks my record for the most colours used! It did take quite a while to work out, but I think it was worth it in the end. Printed in an edition of only six.
























Small Stone Study

A5 size 4-colour reduction linocut print

Although this was the smallest of the stone prints, it was probably the trickiest! Achieving the level of detail I was after took quite some time, as was getting the colour balance right. Printed in an edition of only ten.























White Donkey Dream

A2 size 3-colour screen-print

This print came about through experimenting with mark-making and playing with bitmapping (creating shading with dot patterns). The spheres are loosely related to the monoliths, and the donkey is having a somewhat confusing dream. Printed in an edition of 16.
















Donkey Monolith No.9

76 x 56cm, 3-colour linocut/screen-print

This is so far my biggest donkey print, and is a follow-up to my 2019 DM series. The lone donkey finds itself in a most confusing and optically challenging landscape, but nevertheless it will have a great adventure! The print is in an edition of 18, printed on lovely Somerset paper.

















Happenings In Donkey World No.5

A2 size 3-colour screen-print

If you've followed my donkey prints for a while, you'll be aware of the 'Happenings..' series. In this print, the donkey is guided across the strange landscape by a 'helping hand'. I had a dream about the shape of this print, so had to then make a drawing, the rest all fell into place! The print is in an edition of 14.























Donkey And Seven Hills

30x30cm 2-colour linocut/screen-print.woodcut

I create this print, in collaboration with fellow artist/printmaker John Pedder for my recent exhibition with him at Cupola Gallery in Sheffield. It was a lot of fun working with another artist on a project, and this idea seemed to work very naturally. There were three different versions, and ten prints of each, but I only have one left each of versions 2 and 3!






















Phew! Sorry for the bombardment. I told you I'd been busy.. I'll go now. Take care x


Tuesday, 14 July 2020

New exhibition and more....

Hi there

I've got lots of new works to show you this month, however no news on events and workshops. It is likely that events might not happen until the end of the year now, and most probably workshops too.

NEW EXHIBITION!
Despite the current Covid 19 situation I've been focussing myself on producing new work, mostly for an exhibition I have upcoming in Sheffield at Cupola Contemporary Art Gallery. The exhibition is a collection of work I have chosen from the last two years, and focusses mainly on my stone and donkey prints. It is called 'Works 2018-2020' (very functional title, eh?), and features 20 pieces, including 7 new ones. Alongside the exhibition is another show by my friend and fellow printmaker John Pedder, showing a retrospective of his work. The shows runs from 18th July until 22nd August 2020, and the preview evening is on 17th July between 6pm and 10pm. In order to attend this you'll need to book a time slot by contacting the gallery.

Here is a video of me talking to gallery director Karen Sherwood about the exhibition:



and here is a sneak preview of the new prints:































One of the prints is featured on the exhibition poster, and is a collaboration between myself and John. We printed up a small edition of 27, and they are available from the show and our own websites. The print is woodcut, linocut and screen-print! If you can't make it along to the exhibition and would like one of the new prints, I will list any that are left in my Folksy shop.








































OTHER NEW WORKS
I've also created two new poster-prints:

Swallows






































I see a lot of these birds round where I live (I'm sure you do too). Rather than go for a single bird this time, and one standing, I wanted to capture them in flight, and in the acrobatic troops you sometimes see them in. The print is now available as an A3 poster-print. You can find it in my Folksy shop.

Donkey Puzzle






































This is an A3 poster-print version of the hand-pressed linocut I created a few months ago. I don't normally produce a poster-print and original at the same time, but I really liked the change of colours and scale on this one, for some reason! You can find it in my Folksy shop now.

BEARS OF SHEFFIELD
For two weeks in June I had the fortune of painting a great big fibreglass bear in a warehouse on the outskirts of Sheffield It is for a charity project called 'Bears Of Sheffield', which is a follow-up to the 'Herd Of Sheffield' elephant project I also took part in a few years ago. 40 or so artists from around the county are asked to transform a blank bear into a piece of art, and they will then be displayed as a 'trail' around the city for people to look at. At the end of the trail period all of the bears will be auctioned off to raise money for the Sheffield Children's Hospital. Because of Covid, the trial has now been postponed until the summer of 2021, but I'm sure it'll be worth waiting for! Here is sneak preview of my finished bear.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

How things change..

Hi there

Well, last time I posted, it was before Christmas, and life was very different. If someone had explained about the situation we are in now, I'm not sure I would have believed them.

I'm not going to go over things you already know about Coronavirus, but I hope that you're all ok, and hope that this all ends before too long. Stay safe.


EVENTS
I don't have any events going on over the next few months. Understandably they're all cancelled/postponed (as far as September/October). In lieu of this, I am focussing my time on making new work and on my online shops. 

NEW WORKS
Initially it hadn't felt like a very productive time for making new work, with the anxiety about the epidemic, but life has setting into a new routine and I've started making new work again.

Here are some of them:


Chough (3-colour linocut)

Pied Wagtail (2-colour linocut)

Tiny Donkey Prints

St Ives (2-colour linocut/screenprint)
  











































Scarborough No.2 (poster-print)



'Chough' is my latest corvid print (following on from the ravens, rooks and magpies). I saw some when I last visited North Wales, swooping around the Little Orme. They're quite hard to identify, but if they stay still for a minute you can see their striking red beak and legs.

I spotted a 'Pied Wagtail' in our garden not long ago, and I don't think I'd ever actually seen one before. He/she was doing a little dance, and very striking in its monochrome pattern.


The Tiny Donkey Prints were made for a special project with the 'Make More Stuff' organisation (formerly 'Northern Craft'). they asked 20 artists they knew to design artwork the size of a business card, and they would sell them for £1 each. I created a new donkey triptych, and was very happy with the results. you can buy them directly through MMS.

I visited St Ives last year for the first time, and really loved the place. The highlight was perhaps visiting the Barbara Hepworth Museum, but I also really loved the sea front and the beaches. So I decided to create a view from the shallows looking up towards the town and the lighthouse, as a linocut/screen-print.

Lastly is a poster-print version of my 'Scarborough No.2' linocut. As the original had sold out I decided to create a poster-print version in different colours.

I have also been working on several other new pieces, possibly for a new exhibition (fingers crossed), but I want to keep them under wraps for now. I'll keep you posted!








WORKSHOPS
Obviously I'm not able to run any linocut workshops at the moment, and any scheduled ones have been postponed, but as soon as I'm able to start on them again I will post up new  dates.


COMMISSIONS
Just before the lock-down I was commissioned to produce a new logo for the Kelham Island Film Club in Sheffield.