Andrea Lauren Designer Printmaker and Fishink Dog Cards
Andrea Lauren hails originally from outside of London, but when her family moved to the USA in search of a warmer climate, she caught the travelling bug and has moved around the US visiting it’s great cities and taking in the sights. Lauren has always been interested in printmaking and specialises in hand carved lino-cut prints and a little silkscreen printing too.
She begins with an idea and a sketchbook illustration. I asked Andrea a little more about her work and processes.
How important are sketchbooks in your process of working out how a design will look ?
I do keep a number of different sketchbooks but they are often very rough ideas for the finished pieces. Sometimes they are ideas or themes. Sometimes sketches giving a general guide for composition. Imagining an idea as a relief print has become fairly fluent for me in the last year of concentrated practice. Sketchbooks for me are also a great way to remember and revisit thematic material which was completed earlier in my development and needs another go.
From the sketch, she duplicates the design onto lino that’s been inked with indian ink, in order to create a greater contrast when carving sections away. You can see how fine some of the carved details are, this requires not only sharp tools and a very steady hand but also a great degree of skill, dexterity and patience.
When you create a two colour print where one colour overlaps onto the first do you create one carving and then cut back into it for the second colour or create two separate lino pieces, one for each colour ?
Most often the multiple color prints are done with blocks carved for each separate color. Using a main block as a key for carving out the additional colors has been working pretty well, but I am always looking to evolve the processes and see what other potentials there are in this medium. I have worked in reduction prints on the occasion, but would like to explore some transparent ink printing and build up that knowledge before diving back into those.
What is your first memory of printing with lino ?
Thinking back about it, I remember just wading into carving and printmaking without too much struggle; it just sort of happened in a natural creative evolution of my work. There is an intoxicating smell of ink, the care and attention of inking the plate, placing the paper down in just the right placement, and the excitement of pulling the first good print off the block that keeps me coming back again and again. During some of my studies at Columbia University, I could always be found in the basement printmaking studio pulling prints from their Charles Brand presses. The printmaking class was focused on many traditional mediums — stone litho, copper etching, aquatint etching, and drypoint etching — but I worked on additional linocut projects independently since it was something to which I was drawn instinctively. The first prints were a series of musical instrument playing animals based on a collection of illustrations that was evolving at that time. The carving was rough, the execution of the prints was not amazing, but it was a true joy nevertheless.
I really like the way that Lauren photographs her prints accompanied with the components that have made that design.
Why do you think that you are so attracted to nature and animals in your work ?
Being connected is an overarching motivation for me as a person as well as in my work. It is easy to see how disconnected one can become with the technology available, but without respecting and acknowledging the incredible natural world it would be a much less rewarding life to live. When I am not working on a commission or personal project, taking walks to watch birds or just enjoy nature will be my choice for time well spent.
What is the worst and nicest parts of the process for you ?
The most frustrating thing is when a design concept does not live up to my expectation in the finished print and execution of the carving. Starting over after devoting a significant amount of time to an idea is quite hard for me. On the other hand, there are very many enjoyable parts of every process of printmaking. Creating imagery by hand, the meditative qualities of carving a block, the smell of ink and tactile nature of pulling prints are all traits that keep drawing me back to create more block prints.
Who’s work do you most admire and who would you most like to spend a day with (alive or dead) ?
William Morris, as I mentioned before. Also, Dahlov Ipcar is a fascinating artist and someone with whom I find a connection.
Her work has become more and more detailed and has led her to think about all over repeat patterns.
These Bees, printed in a gold colour on a darker background have also become all over repeats. Some fab designs here.
How natural was the progression of your work into all over repeats and printed fabrics ?
Repeat patterns are a complete joy to create. As in creating traditional relief carving art prints, designing a repeating pattern is a left and right brain process. There are technical aspects for designing a seamless repeat as well as a aesthetic quality of flow or balance in a good design. The work of William Morris has been a thread to which I would like to connect. That turn of the century era of new industrialization combining a return to traditional techniques for creating work is something which mimics a bit of our current place in time.
Do you enjoy collaborating with other companies when you see your work come to life on a whole variety of clothing and household items ?
Absolutely! I am not personally in the position to create product lines so it has been wonderful to see my work featured on a truly wide range of products. It is an honor for me when a company wants to collaborate.
For the future, do you have any plans to produce more fabric or stationery ranges yourself ?
Nothing concrete at this immediate time, but it is a long term goal to print my own textiles — screenprinted by hand or block printed.
You can treat yourself to some of Lauren’s designs on fabric over at Spoonflower or Woven Monkey. Or some of her block prints here. There’s a wealth of information about printing techniques and Lauren graciously shares with her readers what materials and basic supplies she uses when making her Stamps over on her blog.
Beautiful work and more patterns here. Many thanks to Andrea for sharing her beautiful work and thoughts with us today too. What a lovely start to the week, don’t you agree ?
I’ve been working on some new cards and am selling them here on my blog.
The designs are taken from a range of over 100 sketches I’ve been working on, so far all doggy related (sorry cat lovers !) and they are printed onto textured card and then cut out and placed on a sticky tab onto a card base, so that they become 3D.
They are priced at £3 per card or £10 for four cards (mixed pack of designs) with a £1.50 charge for postage in Europe or £3 overseas. Payments are dealt with securely by paypal, so please drop me a message craig @ fishink.co.uk and I can pop some fresh designs in the post today !