This week on Meet the Printmaker, we meet Amelia Bowman, a fellow Norfolk printmaker who makes beautifully cheerful collagraph prints that you can't help but smile at!
Please introduce yourself and what kind of prints you create...
My name is Amelia Bowman. I live in Wymondham in Norfolk with my husband and daughter. I am a collagraph printmaker working intaglio and with chine-collé that features my own pattern designs.
How long have you been a printmaker? Is it a full-time career for you or a lovely hobby? If you are a full-time printmaker, what does a typical day for you look like?
I have been working with collagraphy since 2006 and began to sell my pieces in 2011. This is my career. I have been through many, many creative incarnations but this is the one that has stuck. I don’t think I have a typical day! I like variation so I spend most of my life pin-balling around like a maniac trying to get a myriad of different jobs done but I do enjoy the odd day where I know I can just sit at my desk and work on a project uninterrupted.
What was the spark that first got you hooked on printmaking? What is it about your medium that draws you in each day?
I learnt collagraphy almost by accident while working in secondary art education. I watched as students were shown a smattering of techniques by a guest tutor and was intrigued. The prospect of making my own print press by converting a vintage mangle sealed the deal! Collagraphy is wonderfully accessible because the materials and techniques can be as simple as card and board, scissors and glue. It’s tactile and rewarding and that is a winning combination! It also amazes me every day that people buy my work and are so effusive in their response to it – how can you not want to keep going back to something that generates such good feeling!
What inspires you? What or who would you say your biggest influences are?
I am inspired by things that bring me joy. Countryside, coastal, flora and fauna are top of the list. I would say 50% of my pieces came to me while going about my everyday life while the other 50% were the result of research expeditions!
If you could give some advice to new printmakers, what would be your most useful tips for beginners?
If at first you don’t succeed try, try and try again. Learn from your mistakes. Ask lots of questions, look for tips, tricks and cheats and never try to create anything that doesn’t feel like it came from the heart.
What do your prints say about you? How do you want people to feel when they look at your prints?
I think they say I have a fun-loving and quirky personality. I want them to make people smile and want to have them on their walls so that they can keep smiling every day.
Are your prints influenced by external events (social, political) or do you prefer your work to remain neutral?
Absolutely not. I don’t think there’s every been anything political about my subject matter.
Do you have a favourite part of the printmaking process? What brings you the most joy?
Creating a new piece. I find sketching out new compositions a real challenge but cutting the collagraph plate is always enjoyable and actually pretty therapeutic.
How do you print? Do you have access to a studio or are you a home printmaker?
I have the luxury of having a studio at home. It’s a converted garage so it’s not huge and it certainly isn’t tidy but it’s my sanctuary.
Every day feels like a school day when you're a printmaker and failure is not talked about too much online.. what would you say is the most challenging part of printmaking?
I think it’s probably people’s perception of what a ‘print’ is. People hear the word and picture an Epson or a Cannon etc. and think we charge lots of money for something that is produced at the click of a button rather than for something that is a labour of love and a statement of patience incarnate from start to finish.
What is your next big printmaking challenge? Do you have a plan for the next 12 months or do you take each day as it comes?
Completing my set of 12 British birds. I’m due to complete them by the end of July. I don’t usually plan rigidly quite so far ahead but rather have goals that are as fluid as possible so my head doesn’t explode!
Where can people find out more about you and your prints?
My website is a good place to start www.ameliabowman.co.uk but Instagram is a great place to keep up with the goings on at AB Towers!
What is your favourite print (of your own)?
The Potting Shed
Music/podcasts when you're creating or silence?
TV and film on my iPad
Printing press or by hand?
If you could meet any artist (alive or dead), who would it be?
One word to sum up your style?