I've been working with print for many years but in the last year have been really focusing on this and experimenting with some techniques that are new to me - and I've been loving that wonderful sense of playful creative exploration! I'm now part of the Sherwood Printmakers, led by the wonderful Christina Williams, a studio group based in Nottingham which is incredibly inspiring and supportive - its a big reminder of the difference it makes when you create things alongside a group of like-minded people (and our lovely fuddle lunches are a huge treat too because we all cook vast amounts of food to share!).
I've been really loving working with my photographs and using different print techniques to explore these further. The combination of photos I've taken on long explorations outside being then combined with layers of inks and papers is really appealing to me! Its proving to be a really lovely way of re-visiting woodland walks etc. I've especially loved using a technique with gum arabic and oil based inks: a kind of lithography process which then creates an image very like an old faded photograph.
I love using print with the groups that I work with, its such a tactile medium and it really lends itself to the explorations in marks and textures that very young children make. Transferring textures and patterns through print invites you to look at objects in a different way - you notice all sorts of additional things. The intensely tactile nature of print means there's all sorts of wonderful sounds, movements (its a very physical process), layers of colours and so many textures to feel your way around. There's lots of images of this on the print-making page of my website: http://storiesunderstones.weebly.com/print-making.html
I've been cutting lino too as part of exploring images and ideas gathered through woodland walks. I've been really enjoying experimenting with printing onto pages of old books (I have a collection gathered from charity shops and (clean) bins!), there's something really lovely about the way little words peep through the marks created by the lino... http://storiesunderstones.weebly.com/using-words-and-poems.html
Some of my work is now for sale on Folksy: http://folksy.com/shops/StoriesUnderStonesClaireSimpson
Exploring ways of making little books is another thing I love to experiment with and I've been really enjoying how print-making lends itself to the creation of small books... Its a way of working with all the tiny scraps of textures and patterns that build up through testing out ideas and its also a way of exploring different combinations of images and words. More images of these are on my website http://storiesunderstones.weebly.com/hand-made-books.html
I've been adding collections of twigs, bark and leaves and found words onto old papers, mono-prints and card scraps that I've bound together in different ways...
Collagraphs are another medium I've been enjoying experimenting with - they really sit alongside my collections of little scraps of papers, cards and odds and ends of different textures! Its the joy of never quite knowing how different textures will respond with the printing process - unexpected results and "happy accidents" lead to all sorts of further experiments...
The importance of sharing ideas with others and constantly experimenting is something I try to hold on to as much as possible - and its a bit of a life-line when you're self-employed. I created the prints bellow several years ago when I was working on an early years project in West Sussex with a really gorgeous group of artists - including Teresa Grimaldi: http://www.teresagrimaldi.co.uk/ We ran sessions in several early years settings across the county and a big part of the project was for us to share ideas and create new work together. We explored the use of vegetable cooking oil and powder paints - printing with all sorts of things and especially loving the feathers left for us by the peacock who lived on the farm where we were staying!