To escape the busy hectic life of constant reading at Uni I recently took a short weekend break back home in Suffolk. I usually love to visit a country house when I’m at home, however, we decided to try something a bit different and visited a printing exhibition, complete with a series of demonstrations at the Corn Hall and Designer Makers 21 studio space in Diss, Norfolk. I used to love making my own prints during school and sixth form and have continued to study printing throughout my degree, so this was really interesting for me to see some real artists in action!
The exhibition combined displayed work with practical demonstrations by the artists themselves so you could really understand their process and even ask questions. There were so many different styles of print, linocuts, etchings and screen printing. I love how diverse printing can be and it great to see how each print maker made the technique their own.
The main artist exhibiting was Royal Academician, Eileen Cooper, a painter and printer, displaying her latest collection of linocut and woodcut prints. Her work is described as “firmly rooted in her personal experience”, and often focuses on female strength. Cooper also evokes mythical tales within her prints, I particularly loved the print ‘Diana’ in the ‘Wildwood series,’ and the beautifully captured rendition of the Roman goddess of hunting. Cooper utilises the stylistic technique of linocut, expertly using the curves of the lines to create a depth in the design. You can find Cooper’s website here and more about the exhibition here.
One of the demonstrating artists part of the print in action day was Diane Griffiths, who worked with biblical and natural motifs in her detailed engravings. As well as demonstrating the intricate art of printmaking, much of her work was on display throughout the Corn Hall, as well as some of her sketchbooks and portfolios brought out especially for the day. I absolutely loved the amount of detail within Griffiths’ prints, having attempted this style myself, I am in awe of the delicate lines of each piece and how she uses them to create such an intricate design. The narrative element of pieces was also intriguing, with one of her books containing prints alongside the story of Noah’s Ark.
Across the road from the Corn Hall is the Designer Makers 21 studio, home to gallery spaces, as well as rotating studio spaces. This is a great way to interact with the artists at work and also experience such an array of new styles and techniques. One artist currently exhibiting is Yvonne Pratt, who captures the beauty of British Wildlife in her mixed media work. I love the way she combines freehand sewing machine embroidery with the bold prints and fabric, especially in this beautiful pheasant piece. It was also so interesting to see how she transferred this same layering style to pen and paint work, manipulating different techniques for the same effect. You can see her work on her Instagram here.
The exhibition was such a lovely day out and I would really recommend visiting both the Designer Makers 21 studio space (see their website here) on their open days, as well as the Corn Hall (website link here) who frequently run exhibitions throughout the years. It was enlightening to see so much local talent celebrated throughout the exhibition and studio space.
Thanks for reading!