We’ve been inspired by Molly’s printmaking and technique for sometime. Hannah especially so, as their friendship stretches back to secondary school, where her talent and desire towards creating art has always been an inspiration. Flung into the real world, Molly supplemented her creative endeavours with work as a bespoke picture framer. Hannah has been lucky enough to see Molly’s process up close in her studio, in which they talked about Molly’s inspiration, the techniques she employs and what’s in store in the future.
Hannah: Can you give us a bit of introduction to your work?
Molly: My practice mainly consists of printmaking; pressure printing, mono printing and lino printing. As for the subject matter, anything natural; landscapes, plants, animals. For the last three years I have been experimenting with the pressure printing technique. With this technique you usually use a paper stencil to produce your image. Being a largely unknown method of printing I have enjoyed learning and experimenting with how to make it work for the images I want to create. It has proved to be a difficult technique to master, but I love a challenge!
H: That’s a lot of different types of printmaking! When doing a piece do you decide on the subject matter first, or the technique?
M: I’d say my practice is process lead rather than concept lead, although of course both are important. I actually believe the subject comes first, and then the technique. However, the technique really the dictates way the final print looks, rarely as I imagined it. I tend to work freehand when creating my printing matrixes. The printing process – especially pressure printing – is so changeable and unpredictable I kind of just let the ink do what it wants to do. I often add water to the paper, this allows the ink to disperse in an organic way. This is what I love about printmaking; each time you peel back the paper it’s a surprise.
H: In terms of content, your work tends to centralise around wildlife. How has the outside influenced your work?
M: Growing up on the edge of Dartmoor has definitely influenced my work. I found it hard moving to the city. For me, I can’t think of anything less inspiring than drawing a cityscape. But Bristol is pretty good for having green spaces. I walk for a couple of hours a day with my pooch Winnie. Within 10 minutes we can be walking (Winnie is running looking for squirrels) along the river Frome. In July and August I was seeing a Kingfisher at least 3 times a week. I love how nature often manages to thrive even in areas where humans have seemingly taken over. I think I’ve only ever spotted a handful of kingfishers on the river Teign in Devon, just a stone’s throw from my childhood home.
H: The great thing about living in Bristol is its thriving art scene. How are you enjoying that?
M: I work at The Island, which is a brilliant art hub in the centre. I speak to artists everyday and I am always hearing about new opportunities. There seem to be so many artists in Bristol. The independent arty shops are stacked full with work, which is great. There’s a lot of competition I guess but that’s healthy and everyone seems to be generous when it comes to sharing skills and knowledge.
This is what I love about printmaking; each time you peel back the paper it’s a surprise.
H: What have you learnt in the last year since leaving uni?
M: Everyone said it but I never believed it; real life is hard! At uni you have all the worries about your coursework and grades but they only really affect you. Responsibilities at work affect multiple people. Around 5 months into picture framing I found myself in a managerial role, I don’t cope well with pressure so this was a testing time, but, I learnt a hell of a lot.
H: And now you can frame all your own work!
M: It’s amazing! Before I became a picture framer I’d never had my own work framed. This was mainly due to cost, I guess getting your work framed professionally is an expensive luxury for many artists. Framing my own work allows me to use my visual skills in conjunction with my technical skills to present my work in a professional and quality way. I print my pressure prints on very thin rice paper with deckled edges. I generally float mount these artworks when I frame them, allowing the prints to be shown off in a delicate and sympathetic way.
H: What new things have you got coming up?
M: I’ve just been lucky enough to receive the France Brodeur Young Artist Award. This very generously comes with a grant, this grant is to be used to pay for equipment needed to create larger pressure prints. Due to the lack of equipment in my studio I have been limited when it comes to creating prints over a certain width. I aim to create a series of new prints at a larger size, I am sure this will bring new technical issues to overcome but I am really looking forward to this process. I hope to end this project with my first solo show in 2017.
Massive thanks to Molly for featuring as one of our Makers! Check out her links below to keep up with what she’s up to!