This week on Meet the Printmaker, we meet Cat from Linomouse Prints. Cat creates wonderful nature inspired prints that just bring so much joy when you look at them. She's expecting a little Linomouse soon so I'm so pleased she's managed to squeeze this interview in!
Please introduce yourself and what kind of prints you create...
I'm Cat, the printmaker behind Linomouse Prints, and I focus primarily on linocut printing from my little home studio set up on the Kent coast.
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 started printmaking at the beginning of 2020, and at the moment is a hobby (or ever growing obsession) that I fit around my day job. It can be a bit of a juggle, but evenings and weekends tend to be my go time. One day I'd love to become a full-time printmaker!
What was the spark that first got you hooked on printmaking? What is it about your medium that draws you in each day?
My background is in graphic design so I've always had in interest in creative outlets, but I was really drawn to the hands on process of lino cut which contrasts to my day job as a digital product designer. I spend a lot of my 9-5 working for other clients and on the computer, whereas printmaking allows me step away from the screen and produce artwork that is based on my own interests.
What inspires you? What or who would you say your biggest influences are?
I think my work tends to fall into two main themes; ocean and botanical / jungle, but almost always links back to nature. I think this is a mixture of having always been inspired by outdoor surroundings and the travel adventures I've been lucky enough to go on, but also things closer to home like living by the sea. Animals also bring me so much joy, so you'll see a few of those sneak in from time to time.
If you could give some advice to new printmakers, what would be your most useful tips for beginners?
Don't stop when it's all going wrong. Printmaking can be a real temperamental pain in the butt sometimes, but it's learning to accept that as part of the fun. I actually created a linofail bingo sheet on Instagram for printmakers, and it was eye opening just how many of us (even the experienced ones) struggle on a regular basis. When you pull a print you're happy with, it all becomes worth it.
What do your prints say about you? How do you want people to feel when they look at your prints?
I love creating art that carries on the feeling of calm, or that can spread a bit of a happiness. Earthy tones that bring the outside world into homes, or smiley critters that don't need to be taken too seriously.
Are your prints influenced by external events (social, political) or do you prefer your work to remain neutral?
Printmaking for me is a way to calm my mind, and often used to escape anxiety so the themes are pretty neutral.
Do you have a favourite part of the printmaking process? What brings you the most joy?
At the beginning of my printmaking journey I used to be 100% team carving, but over time I now love the printing side of things. I'm really enjoying experimenting with different papers and would like to progress on to fabric too.
How do you print? Do you have access to a studio or are you a home printmaker?
I'm an at home printmaker but lucky enough to have a dedicated space in the house. I switch between using my trusty Woodzilla press (I have an A3 and a baby A5) but still go back to the wooden spoon in between.
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've spoken to this a little already, but printmaking can be really tough when you think you are repeating a process exactly that has worked before, but then suddenly doesn't. Something as small as a brayer change or the temperature of the room can make a big difference, so it's taking note of everything you experiment with.
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?
I'm currently prepping for the arrival of Little Linomouse in a couple of weeks, so it will definitely be an each day as it comes scenario as I go on maternity leave. I'm hoping that I can balance nap times with some printing in between though, as I have a long list already of prints I'd like to pursue!
Where can people find out more about you and your prints?
What is your favourite print (of your own)?
Music/podcasts when you're creating or silence?
Always a mix with music, from drum & bass to really chill acoustic.
Printing press or by hand?
Press (and some wooden spoon)