Meet the Printmaker:
We were excited to speak to printmaker and arts educator Scarlett Rebecca to find out about her style of printmaking, including how she incorporates lithography and etched lino into her printmaking, as well as what inspires her.
Introduce yourself and describe your style of printing.
I am Scarlett Rebecca, I’m a printmaker and arts educator based in mid Wales. I work in both linocut and lithography. I’ve worked with lino for as long as I can remember, I still have my first print, a copy of a Cyril Power linocut I made in high school.
I also work with lithography after I ended up in the lithography demonstrator job role at Brighton University and fell in love with it. I often joke that lithography is my favourite but linocut is my first love, but truthfully I can’t choose between them.
My work is figurative and drawing based, often incorporating pattern. I use a combination of carving and caustic etching within my linocuts, working over many layers and predominantly reductively. I will happily spend hours carving a block while listening to a podcast.
If I can, I like to include as much metallic ink as I can, I love it the reflective nature of it and how it makes you interact differently with the surface of a print, you almost have to look at the print while in movement.
You can see more of my work, my courses, and buy my prints directly from me on my website.
Where do you work?
I’ve worked from a couple of different studio spaces in the past; a large collective studio with 10 other makers/designers/artists and a small printmaking focussed studio. Now my studio is at home in rural mid Wales, where I’ve lived for about three years. I have a fantastic set up, with a lithography press and stones, two presses for lino work, the important comfy arm chair and a fantastic view over the Mawddach Estuary. I love having everything so near by; I used to get frustrated if I’d left my sketchbook at home or if I had a sudden burst of inspiration before bed. Now I can just walk across the hall to my studio. A very short commute.
My partner (who is an artist) and I also run an artist residency from our home, so we have a constant stream of artists visiting, to inspire us with their making and conversations about art.
What inspires your work?
I have always been interested in folklore, and for the past few years I’ve mostly been reading up on tales of afterlife and otherworlds among various cultures, and even inventing some myself. I moved to Wales, from the south east of England, a few years ago, and I have recently followed that interest into the folklore and mythology of Wales.
How can we attend one of your workshops?
I’ve taken a little time off from teaching this year to focus on my own work so my teaching dates are limited at the moment. I will be teaching a weekend course in etched linocut at Belfast Print Workshop on the last weekend of May and after that my next courses will be in the autumn.
I will be returning to running my month long online printmaking courses in relief print, planographic print and intaglio print. I also have a couple of courses in the pipeline for Draw Brighton which I’m really excited about because they’re fun and different to my normal process-based courses.
As part of your printmaking portfolio, you have been exploring lithography on lino and etched lino using caustic soda. Can you tell us more about these techniques?
These are such fun and exciting techniques! When I first learned how to etch lino, on a course with the brilliant Steve Edwards, it blew my mind and completely changed how I approached linocut. The process involves applying a caustic soda solution to the lino which softens it so you can easily scrub it away. The strength of the solution you use and the resists that you can apply to the lino will determine the effect.
The process can create wonderful organic marks and tonal variations as the caustic soda eats into the lino at different depths. It can really loosen up your image making, and when combined with the crisp lines of carved lino, it can make for an incredibly visually interesting print.
Lithography on lino is something that I have recently been exploring so that I can combine it with carved and etched lino. This process uses lino as the matrix for the lithographic print, where you would usually use a lithographic stone or metal plate. You can capture delicate drawn marks and sensitive washes on the lino, alongside the carved aspects.
You have been invited to undertake two residencies this year, tell us more about them and the research that you will be undertaking.
In May I will be artist in residence at Belfast Print Workshop, the aim of this residency is to develop my work using lithography on lino. The work I produce with stone lithography is very different to my linocut work, and both require different approaches to image making because of the processes involved. With this residency I will be trying to bring those two aspects of my work together and unite them on lino.
In July and August I will be artist in residence at Creative Spark in Dundalk. I will be using the folklore of the area and it’s connections to Welsh folklore to inspire new work, using the lino lithography process I’d been working on in Belfast.
I am incredibly excited about these trips and the opportunity to work uninterrupted on my own work for an extended period of time. I’m also excited to see how my work will develop outside of my home studio. Both residencies will give me access to fantastic workshops and the opportunity to work BIG too!
Congratulations on your book deal! Can you tell us about your book and when we can get our hands on a copy?
Thank you, I’m thrilled about the book, it’s something that I have wanted to do, and a book that I have wanted to exist, for a long time. It’s called ‘Alternative Lithography’ and it’s a guide to the different processes within lithography that are more accessible, and which don’t require specialist equipment.
In the book I will explore kitchen lithography which uses aluminium foil as the matrix and cola as the etch, lino lithography of course, mokulito which uses plywood as the matrix and combines the woodgrain, and more. It’s very much at the early stages of creation at the moment and is planned for release in 2024.
Image credits – Scarlett Rebecca
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