I was extremely proud to be asked to feature in Pressing Matters magazine Issue 23 this year talking about my studio.
The article was all about workspaces with two questions asked printmakers in each issue.
What attracted you to your current workspace?
I’m extremely lucky to have such a bright, sunny studio in my own home. It seems strange now that it wasn’t always my studio - in fact, this small, intimate space with it’s huge sloping glass windows perched high in the roof was our ‘sunroom’, or occasional guest room with a pull out bed. That all changed after a trip to Norfolk for a commission to photograph a wonderful artist in her own workspace. As I stood in her stunning glasshouse studio, I felt awed and utterly inspired by the wonderful space around me with it’s vaulted ceilings and light spilling in from all angles. In that moment, I realised that in fact, I had a similar room of my own all ready waiting for me at home. My studio is no where near as grand in scale but after I’d constructed a workbench from scaffold boards, there was still plenty of space in the new studio for myself and my wife to sit either side and independently work on our various creative endeavours. A year later in 2020, when my photography work temporarily ground to a halt, I sat quietly in this warm, bright studio room and thought ‘right, Mark, what are you going to do now to pass the time?!’. It was then that I picked up my lino kit in earnest. So you could say, that not only do I find my studio an inspiring place to be but that actually, my studio was the beginnings of it all.
Does your workspace influence your work?
I feel the weight of the world lift from my shoulders when I step into the studio. The room is South facing and the light enables me to carefully assess my prints as they come off the press, greatly helping with the process. It’s also an excellent light for carving - although a room of glass is often too hot to sit in in the middle of the day. I like to move around the house with my block and tools, even carving at a table in our allotment from time to time. But I always come back to the studio. I often start printing in the late afternoon, get in the zone and just keep going until bedtime. Coffee and some good tunes combine with the sound of the birds and I’m in my happy place. Over time, I’ve slowly filled the studio with things I find inspiring, including my French ‘Nipping Press’ and a wonderful heavy old plan chest I won on Ebay which came from Brunel University, perfect for storing my tools, ink, paper, lino and all my carved blocks (I can never bring myself to throw them away!). I also have a few ‘found’ objects in my studio including several tactile and evocative seashore finds. I’m a proud Cornishman and much of my work is inspired by my coastal roots. Since I live and work in landlocked Oxfordshire, it’s important for me to to able to glance around my studio and feel the flicker of an idea, quickly sending me straight back home to the salt, sea and waves. Ever grateful for my Cornish roots and connection to the coast, I don’t think I’ll ever run out of inspiration, even so far inland.
Be sure to check out my friends over at the beautifully printed and edited magazine Pressing Matters for all things printmaking!!