Oct 08 2015
Local artist Sam Groom talks about her printmaking, creative processes and working with Museums Sheffield:
I have worked with Museums Sheffield regularly over the past couple of years; running a few workshops from the Millennium Gallery and also selling my own print work through the Millennium Gallery museum shop and recently online as well.
I am a full-time printmaker and I work from my home studio in Sheffield. I am celebrating my first full year of self-employment and I am loving it! No two weeks are the same. Sometimes I am busy printing, sometimes I have a block of workshops and in between I am updating my web presence and online selling.
The past couple of weeks - after a lovely summer break - have seen me super busy printing and making for some up and coming fairs and events. I print onto paper, recycled card and fabric to make a range of printed work including framed prints, free-standing printed work and homewares such as lampshades, tea towels and scarves. When printing, I mostly use block-printing techniques such as wood and lino-cut printing and I use my beautiful ‘Rollaco’ press which I have had for quite a number of years to print my work. I have built up a collection of hand-made carved blocks and stamps made from various materials including wood, MDF and lino, which I use to make my prints.
I tend to create one-off prints rather than produce editions and I have a ‘see what happens’ approach to printing. In other words, I have some idea of what I am aiming for when I begin printing, but I love the element of chance and accident in printing and I like to build up my prints in layers mixing colours, shapes and patterns quite instinctively. Knowing when to stop can be the hardest part!
As well as block printing I have begun to use screen printing much more in my work of late. I often begin a print by screen printing an area of colour onto my paper, to which I then add layers using wood and lino-cut printing and sometimes a bit of rubber-stamp printing, gradually building up the composition. I sometimes leave it for several days, before approaching the work again with fresh eyes to add the next printed layer.
Textile printing is something I have discovered relatively recently and I enjoy a visit my local fabric shop “Fine Fabrics” in Hillsborough searching for fabric to try printing onto. I recently found some gorgeous waterproof Barbour fabric which it turns out is a joy to print onto. This has been turned into wash-bags.
Before going full-time as a printmaker I was involved in education, working with schools and charities as well as completing a Master’s degree in Arts Education, and this is the other aspect of my work that I really enjoy. I’m grateful for the experience I have of working in schools as I feel confident when running workshops, sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm for printing with others and seeing them discover the fun of printing for themselves. The moment when people first peel back the paper to see their print is a joy to see!
I am really looking forward to the ‘soft-cut’ lino printing workshop in October with Museums Sheffield, I will be able to share some tips and techniques I use for creating lots of brightly coloured prints.
Top and bottom: Sam Groom in her studio. © Fiona Oliver