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Dee Beale UK Designer and Printmaker

January 27, 2014

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Dee Beale lives in the Peak District, Derbyshire, with her partner, two small children and a few chickens.  She studied Graphics & Illustration and after graduating, continued to work in Graphic design. Having been in design agencies for over 10 years, Dee began hand printing her own work using the Japanese Print Gocco. Print Gocco is small self-contained tabletop screen-printing machine. It was first produced in Japan in the 1970s, the process is very similar to screen-printing and you can produce a print which is up to about 22 x 10 cms in size.

Dee confessed to being a fan of Fishink Blog and as I’m a follower (and am followed in turn) by Dee on Twitter, we caught up this week to do a Q & A session on the finer side of Illustration and our love for mid century ceramics.

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You trained in Illustration and Graphic Design before spending some time in design agencies. Are you freelancing with your own work full-time now and if so how difficult have you found it to ‘go it alone’? 

I presently work part-time. I became freelance so that I could choose my own working hours and work around family life. I don’t take on any freelance design work at the moment and mainly produce prints for galleries, craft shops and my own online shop. I’m lucky enough to have a small studio at home and do most of my printing on our large kitchen table.

I’ve looked at the Gocco print machines before and have been tempted to buy one myself in the past. As an ex-screen printer, my only concern would be getting frustrated by size of the print constraints. Do you find it easy enough to get the ink supplies etc that you want, at a price that is affordable and do you ever feel compromised by the size of the printing frame?

Sadly In December 2008 ‘Riso’ the company that makes the Gocco and its supplies stopped manufacturing them and although there are plenty of supplies around at the moment, I know eventually supplies will get scarce and more expensive. I find it relatively easy to get hold of supplies, the main issue for me is they all have to be shipped from Japan and that adds considerably to the cost of the inks screens etc. I love my Gocco but for me the size constraints are definitely an issue, but I think I’d struggle to produce traditional screen prints at home. The great thing about the Gocco is that it is so self-contained, clean, quick and easy to use.

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If you could spend a day with anyone who may have had an influence on your work (living or dead) who would it be?

That’s a hard one to answer, so many amazing designers to choose from but I think it would have to be the Swedish designer Stig Lindberg I’m a big fan of mid century ceramics and in my opinion he produced some of the best.

I love the way that nature plays a huge part in your work. Where does your love of birds and plant life originate?

I can’t really think of a time when I haven’t been interested in nature, it’s just something I’ve always loved. My dad was always a big fan and when I was a child he kept various birds in large garden aviaries… Exotic Finches and Chinese Painted Quail are the ones I remember most. I’m now lucky enough to live in the Peak District… in my opinion one of the most beautiful parts of the UK where I’m surrounded by nature and spoilt for choice.

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If you have any other sketch book images that haven’t been online before or can you show us a glimpse of something that you maybe working on now? 

Most of my work starts in my sketchbooks and then I work the designs up on my computer, I’d like to spend less time on the computer so recently I’ve been experimenting with some paper cuts and painting techniques I’m hoping this will maybe evolve into another avenue for my work.

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It’s easy to see where some of Dee’s influences may stem from, with a love of 1950’s and 60’s ceramics and forms.

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What ideas do you have for the future ? Any plans for branching out into other products, wallpapers, lampshades, stationery etc?

I think it would be a natural progression for me to apply my designs onto some more products. I’d especially be interested in applying my work to fabrics and ceramics. I’d also like to apply to a some small trade fairs, I have been approached to take part in a few, but I don’t think I have enough work at the moment to make it worth my while. I’m always looking for new stockists and this year I’d like to add a few more to my small list.

Oh and that reminds me, where can people buy your cards from?

I have a small range of note cards available from Attic Cards at King and Mcgaw.

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You can find Dee’s beautiful prints on EtsyFolksy and Big Cartel. It’s also well worth dropping in on Dee’s Blogspot to see what else influences her work and how she makes sketches to form her illustrations. She certainly knows how to style a mean photograph too.  Many thanks for your answers and images Dee, hope we get to catch up in person someday soon. 


3 Comments leave one →
  1. janelittlefieldglass permalink
    January 27, 2014 9:51 am

    Lovely! where abouts in the Peaks is she?

    • January 27, 2014 10:24 am

      Hi Jane, sorry I don’t know that, I sense that she likes some privacy as like me, no portrait photos lol I’m sure she’d tell you if you messaged her. Let me know if you fancy another ‘school day out in Mancs’ ; )

  2. janelittlefieldglass permalink
    January 27, 2014 12:47 pm

    Will do!

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