With a background in illustration and a fondness for storytelling, local printmaker Jackie Kirk discovered her love of linocut in 2014, whilst completing a Masters in Illustration at the University of Creative Arts in Farnham.
Currently on display in our Riverside Café Gallery, Jackie's exhibition My Natural World, is a collection of lino prints inspired by her suburban garden and the interesting variety of wildlife that visits it. We caught up with Jackie to discuss her passion for printmaking and what new projects she's working on.
How did you first become interested in lino printing?
I was working with acrylic paints until I spent a couple of years studying at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, where we spent some time in the print room working with the different practices. I really enjoyed working with etching and screen-printing but the processes weren’t quite for me, however, linocut felt like the perfect fit and I haven’t looked back. I find great pleasure in the challenge of taking a blank piece of lino and cutting away at it to create the design, then the anticipation of pulling a print which is really the only way to see if all your hard work up until that point has been successful.
What is the most difficult aspect of the lino printing process?
There are odd days when everything just goes right but I’ve found a few things that can happen somewhere along the process to frustrate you and set things back. There is the risk of slipping when cutting the lino and taking off a piece you didn’t mean to and nothing is more frustrating than pulling a perfect print only to ruin it by smudging the wet ink. For me though, the biggest challenge can be getting the registration right when layering up different colours. I work with multiple plates and getting everything to line up in the right place can take a lot of little adjustments, before you just say it is part of the design and move on.
Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration can come from anywhere, like a news story on the anniversary of the moon landings, or looking through a dictionary for interesting words which conjure up the beginning of on idea. However, I particularly enjoy capturing animals in my pieces and as my studio sits at the bottom of the garden, I have a constant supply of inspiration right outside my window from the variety of wildlife it attracts. My favourite is still the robins that nested right outside my door, watching the parents flying in with full beaks and the little chirps of the hungry chicks, it was a pleasure to capture them in my print Feeding Time.
What are you currently working on?
I often have several prints on the go at various stages, as I can’t help starting work on a new idea before finishing the last. I do find that actually it can be good to put a project down and come back to it later with fresh eyes, especially if something hasn’t been working, either with the design or printing process. During lockdown I decided it was time to invest in a bigger printing press, so I could make work on a larger scale. One of the pieces I’m currently working on will be a 6 colour print of newts in a pond, my largest and maybe most ambitious print to date.
My Natural World is available to view in the Riverside Café Gallery until 05 August.