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Where it all began.

The beginning...

The world of surface pattern and textile design has always intrigued me and inspired me at the same time. My life is full of colours, both in my home and in the things I wear. I can usually be seen wearing a number of colours and it is when I wear all navy blue that you would know that something is amiss!!

I wanted to go to university and complete a degree in surface pattern and textile design however the words were uttered,,,'you need to go to university to get a proper degree'... and it cemented my future for the next 20 years. A twist of fate and an act of blind foolishness or courage, depending on how you look at it, meant that an opportunity came up to have a stall at a Yorkshire Day event. So I went with an idea to do cakes and that was shunned so I committed to stall, I had to persuade the organiser to let me have a stall. I said leave it with me and I will do something...

That was when the idea to take up lino printing again was born. I started with bags and hand printed wallpaper, the wallpaper was ambitious but it was something that I determined to do. That was 2 years ago now and I have enjoyed every moment of it, even though my husband believes he is a lino widower!

I am now transforming my prints into repeats/ block prints and use them to hand print fabric, which is then turned into cushions and lampshades. I believe that we all should have access to surface pattern designs that are not mass produced and they should represent the individuals that we are.

Every time I take a photo or see some sort of plant/shell etc, I am always thinking about what it would look like as a lino print...'immortalised in lino' would be the way that I would sum up this response to what I see. I always have a constant list of things that I want to draw from either real objects or from photographs i have taken. I like to print in a range of colours and sometimes the colour is immaterial as it is the form that is striking not the colour choices.

I have people I admire in print making and there are some that continue to resonate with me after a considerable amount of time. The person that inspires me is Marthe Armitage who started carving lino blocks to hand print wallpapers when her children were little. She is now in her 80s and still printing wallpaper and fabric, which can be bought through hamiltonweston.com and www.lewisandwood.co.uk. Her most recent project has been with Jo Malone where she has designed bespoke prints. An amazing video to watch on YouTube.com is Marthe Armitage-'Back to the Drawing Board'; it describes the process that she goes through and how she creates bespoke colours to meet the clients needs.

This is just a brief insight into my lino printing and surface design brain. I want to inspire people to look for surface designs that reflect who they are as individuals rather than having the same as others. Next time I will describe the process that I go through to create an image from an initial idea, photograph or object.