End of Year 2.. Blimey that went quickly!?!

As my second year in Uni comes to an end, even amidst the self made chaos of leaving things til the last minute (again!?!) and the longing for it to end so I can pat myself on the back and put my feet up and have a stiff drink (and maybe sleep for a week?!) I still feel a little sad that it’s over for the summer…

It has been one hell of a year, a roller-coaster ride, highs, lows, tears of joy and despair, a bad bout of flu, depression and anxiety, vehicle issues, essay extensions, nervous breakdowns, celebrations, chocolate addiction, many attempts at stress management that does not involve alcohol, including yoga, meditation and endless amounts of Guto the whippet hugging! (Bless him).

I have indeed learnt an awful lot, not just about photography and printmaking, but about myself and other people, learning to believe in myself, breathe deep, let go of the need to control things, to go with the flow, to accept the things I cannot change/do anything about and just focus on doing the best I can with what I can change/do. There is so much more to doing a degree than just the subject you choose…it is character building and it can be a real game changer, for good or bad, that depends on you I guess. I want to get the most I can from this experience.

In printmaking I have been mostly working with Intaglio during the first semester and in the Lithography room this last semester, it has been INTENSE to say the least, trying to learn so many different processes, whilst trying to create reasonably good images isn’t always easy 😉

I was a bit sad I didn’t get to learn screen-print this year, but I can do that one in my third year, so not all lost. I chose and have enjoyed lithography although I think it needs a whole degree all to itself!! I feel that progressing through a degree is a bit like driving a car at night, the road unfolds as you go, you are essentially driving at 60mph into darkness haha! Bit scary but the road always appears you just got to stay alert, trust yourself a bit and keep moving forward.

My photography blossomed in the second semester and my confidence with it. I nearly dropped it in the first semester, soooo glad I didn’t!! I felt that I had found my place and was really enjoying creating quirky images and getting them printed onto fine art paper, they look exquisite. I am really proud of them.

Deciding what module to choose for my final year has been a bit of a head ache (bit like lithography haha !) I wondered what the easier option would be (my default setting), especially after looking at all the written work that was ahead! I initially went for photography thinking that well at least with this I know what I am doing etc… but after chats with various tutors and thinking about it, I decided to take printmaking and use my photography in it.. I felt that taking myself out of my comfort zone would be better for me and there is so much still to explore in printmaking, so many avenues I haven’t had the chance to go down properly or at all and despite loving photography and being extremely interested in it, I do think I will get a lot more out of the printmaking route…. so there you have it. Feels good when the decision is made.

So, yes I am feeling a little sad about this year coming to an end, but I am starting to map out my summer, hoping to fill it with lots of  studio diary entries, artist research, exhibitions, photo taking, printmaking and painting as well as travels to Bretegne (another blog post 😉 ) to collect ideas, inspiration and material for my final year. Gulp, my final year….wow!

Da iawn Sammi, well done lass. I didn’t always think I would make it……but I did! 🙂

Here are a selection of printmaking images from my second year:

Reduction Lino Semester 1
Reduction Lino Semester 1
Woodcut Semester 1
Woodcuts Semester 1
Woodcut Semester 1
Japanese Vinyl Semester 1
Lino test print Semester 2
Etching (marbling and rubbing) Semester 1
Etching the plate in acid Semester 1
Etching using BIG Ground Semester 1
Etching experimenting with colour Semester 1
Faux Mezzotint Semester 1
Etching Semester 1
Faux Mezzotint with double drop colour experimentation Semester 1
Indian Ink wash study Semester 2
Photo transfer and touche wash on Stone Lithograph Semester 2
Stone Lithography Semester 2
Playing with photo transfer collage for stone Lithography Semester 2
Prep for group critic -Printmaking Semester 2
Collage made from Lithograph Semester 2
Black and white close up photograph of a lithograph stone on the press bed used as a photo transfer on a stone Semester 2
The lithograph stone with the photo transfer and touche Semester 2



There is something about Guto..

Sleepy Whippet Lino plate
Printing Sleepy Whippet by hand
Sleepy Whippet – Linocut

Sleepy Whippet (above) is proving to be one of my most popular prints (a sure fave of mine too) As you may well be aware, my whippet Guto is my muse, his quirky character and sleek shape inspires me a lot. He appears in many a print, drawings and even a painting..

Painting is not my forte but I do enjoy it.

I like mixing it up too;

Oh Hi – Linocut on acrylic greeting card
Pretty Please – Linocut

Pretty Please was one of my early linocuts, I do really like this one. Trying to bring my up-cycling into my printmaking work;

Pretty Please – Linocut with up-cycled patchwork frame
Playtime  Lino plate
Playtime – Linocut

And some collage too;

I just love making prints of my boy!

The Calm Before the Second Year Storm

I actually had a lot on last summer, I was running my stall and workshops at a few festivals and fairs, trying to make the time to create new ‘Kittus’ stock for the Winter craft fair season (as I would be back in Uni from September) as well as create new prints etc…as I also took part in a couple of exhibitions.. I do have a little confession to make though- I quite like the ‘rush’ of being under pressure, just can’t take it as well now that I am older 😉 One of the things I am finding about being under stress is that if you don’t take care of yourself physically & mentally then it really does hit you harder and is more difficult to recover. I am a work in progress on this point (and many other points too 😉 )

Anyhoo, despite the hustle and bustle and the pressures and stresses of business, I did get to create some prints, trying out new things and reprinting a few old faves..

My stall 2017

I am enjoying the transition from creating my up-cycled foraged finery to printed and sometimes painted art work..

Here are some of the potato prints I have been doing;

Potato Printing is easy and  fun!
Lamb – Potato Print
More Please – Potato Print and Ink
Hippy Whippy – Potato Print on hand marbled paper
Contemplation – Potato Print
Mr Guto – Potato Print on Thick Khadi paper

What I did last Summer #2

Last summer was a good one for ‘having a go’ at different printing methods, I set up my studio space and really got into playing. Here are a few examples of the results from my monotype printing experimentations;

Monotype print
Monotype print & pastel
Monotype print on quite thick Khadi paper. Interesting to see how using different papers can change the effects.
Fern print. So simple, so effective. I like this one a lot.

This kind of printing makes me want to look more into ‘Eco’ printing, using found objects etc… I did see this article on FaceBook a while ago about some guys who went around making prints from manhole covers and other interesting objects all around creating funky printed TShirts etc… check this out:

Pirate Printers: These Guys Use Urban Utility Covers To Print Bags And Shirts



What I did last Summer..

Following on from my previous ‘retrospective’ blog post;

What I did last Summer…. Printers in the Sticks was a lot of fun last year, I met some lovely people and had the chance to experiment and stretch my ‘printmaking’ legs. I played with collagraph and reduction lino for the first time in preparation for the first semester of my second year… Thanks to Cassie I also tried a bit of dry point on plastic:


I did try hand colouring this one as I felt it was a bit too rough but actually now that I look at it, I prefer the original.

Stalker (Hand Coloured)

I also had a go at a dry point on aluminium;


I am not confident with drawing, I really do need to practice more. Both these were printed on the Xcut Xpress Machine.


Retrospective Blog Post #1

#1 – 01 May 2018

Retrospective blog posting, is that a thing?

I am a bit late in writing my blog posts I’m afraid, I have some anxiety around writing and so these posts will probably be brief and more of a visual studio diary. Well, at least in the beginning until I get better at it?! Here goes:

So, I am now just coming to the end of my second year in Uni, phew, what a journey?! Pretty amazing really though, and one that I never actually thought I would complete, but here I am, still alive and well. I do have to take it one day at a time mind, encouraging and congratulating myself on the way., making sure I take on board tutor feedback to help me improve and learn as much as I can. Still working out my methods, a work in progress. I have to say though, it feels like it is getting a bit easier and yet more intense in some ways. I do seem to know what I am doing a little bit more these days, where as during the first year, it was just a whirl wind of excitement, joy, avoidance, pain and anxiety and a lot of winging it!

Last summer, was full on with my up-cycling business, but I did manage to get some creative work in too.

At the beginning of 2017 I joined a printmaking group called ‘Printers in the Sticks’, we meet in Ystrad Meurig regularly during term time and sometimes sneak a session or two in during the holidays too. We also exhibit as a group at various venues, including Y Talbot in Tregaron, The Mulberry Bush café in Lampeter and Newman’s Garden Centre in Capel Dewi. Hardly the Tate I know, but the work presented from the group is of a high standard and I am very proud to be a part of it. I even sold work too!

Selection of prints for our group exhibitions of 2017

During the summer I attempted a few new things with the help of some of the group members, including collagraphs and reduction linocut. It was really good to have the opportunity to practice these before heading back to Uni in September for the second year, as it did make it easier to grasp the concept.

Just goes to show, it is always worth keeping the creative work going during the holidays etc. Ideally, I would like to do a daily drawing/print of some kind, but this is not always possible.

Here was my first attempt at a Collagraph;

First stage is to draw your image onto some mount board card
I have cut around the stag so it is raised and have scored, ripped and marked the card with a knife to create texture and tones, then a coat of shellac to seal the plate.
Here it is inked up
Here are some test prints and the plate.


And, my first attempt at a reduction linocut, unfortunately I didn’t photograph every stage but here is what I have:

I started by drawing the image onto the lino
Cutting away the colours step by step, with my original image near by as a guide
Inking up
Cutting away more
Some worked, some didn’t, it was a steep learning curve
The final images