Alison Read – Printmaker
We’ve sold Alison’s etchings, linocuts and screenprints for over 6 years now but we wanted to introduce you to some of her new pieces we have now got in stock and the challenge she faced behind them. This post will now be taken over by Alison in her own words so please enjoy taking this journey with her:
My‘ Pressed For Time’ exhibition is all about production, obsession and testing my metal. It’s about working instinctively without any curatorial rigour, I had no time to consider what I was thinking and no time to consider what I was creating. I just did it, whatever came into my mind got executed, there was no time at all to sit and make any deletions. It was freedom of sorts, to convert any thought into print regardless of its commercial value, I hadn’t had this utter abandonment since college.
Behind Closed Doors
It didn’t start out this way, in fact quite the opposite. When asked to show in September, I said yes immediately having just had a solo show in Rutland I had 50 odd frames filled with recent works ready to hang.
I then visited the Ropewalk Gallery in May to discuss framing, and whilst there I saw that I had already recently stocked up the gallery with this ‘new work’! Oh dear! That’s when the challenge began because me being me decided I had roughly 100 days to go to turn it round ………..I would create 50 new prints to go alongside the already seen, a feat, I thought in itself.
As soon as I got home I was off, and created 137 plates and by mixing and matching 50 new prints emerged, I cut out intricate lino objects which took days to cut out, alongside multiple characters to place on the inanimate objects.
Naomi, Claudia and Kate
I cut out everything as I thought, every idea that I had I turned into a printing so as I completed one, two more emerged and I made them all dutifully without time out for concern for the outcomes.
Is It A Mouse?
Stuff that may not be commercially viable, written words and random imagery. It was fast and frantic, I worked from morning to midnight every day with only a few hours off to walk the dog and visit family, it woke me up in the middle of the night and it literally consumed my life.
Serial Bird Killer
Three weeks to go and I was ready for framing and was delighted to realise I had time left to make a show stopper, I wanted a piece that got wows, something that took ages to do and showed off my skills…………….something that deserved pride of place in the show, a masterpiece of printmaking……….I was relaxed ……… after all I had done it ……or so I thought!
Greedy Fat Cat
That night I read the accompanying brochure, casually relaxing with a glass of wine and very smug with my accomplishment and there it was……… a typo! it clearly stated 100 new prints in 100days!! I was 50 prints short and only 3 weeks to go!!
I felt that I had hit a wall head on, no way was this achievable. But instead of giving up entirely I set about the larger piece, as I initially intended……….through the act of concentrating on complication of producing five intricate houses, a new lease of life resulted, helped along with my dislike of failure. I began to interject quicker linocut during the long hours of cutting out these houses, executing all ideas that came into my mind.
With one week to go I could see the goal in sight, in fact, I could see hundreds of new possibilities, they came thick and fast, I was printing up to the last hour, wet prints were on every radiator and lino chippings spread through the whole house. But I did it, I really did!!
In the last day of drying I emptied out 25 frames of the older work and fitted in the drying prints. In the end I had 75 new prints in frames, and 28 ‘new’ but older stuff to show.
It Wasn’t Me
To this end I cannot thank the Ropewalk Gallery enough, like my first ever big solo show here in 2009, the sheer panic of this challenge resulted in new directions, my eyes are wide open again, I am excited about what I want to make next, it has revitalised my work, the creative rut that I had fallen into has filled in.
Does My Bum Look Big In This?
No longer am I just making stuff that will sell, but making stuff that I want to do regardless of its commerciality. Now all I can do is see if it is appreciated by you. Fingers crossed!
Bonnie And Clyde
Alison says ‘fingers crossed’ but to be honest, not a lot of that going on here in Heart Gallery as all our customers love, appreciate and buy her etchings, linocuts and screenprints. But phew … what a challenge for her eh? Call in to see Alison’s great new pieces soon, you won’t be disappointed x