Fresh off the Press

nipping press

A few Sundays ago Mr Snowdon and myself got up at a hideously early hour to drive down to London. We were off to pick up a vintage cast iron nipping press that I’d bought on Ebay the week before, at 33kg it was a bit too heavy to put in the post. I’d been longing for a nipping press ever since I first set eyes on one in the bookbinding room at Uni about 5 years ago. They were originally used for pressing books but are also perfect for lino printing due to the lovely even pressure produced between the cast iron plates.

It was while I was doing my degree that I first discovered printmaking. For my first major project I decided to try lino printing, I’ve always loved that uneven, gritty texture achieved through hand printing and I was eager to have a go myself. I’ll never forget the first print I made, one sunny Sunday morning I cut a really basic flower shape out of a piece of lino, inked it up and pressed it onto a scrap of white paper, when I lifted the lino off I was so excited to see the rustic looking, wonky little print that I felt like running outside and showing it to everyone on the street. I was instantly smitten with hand printing and though I didn’t realise it at the time, it was a life changing moment.

Over the years my printmaking techniques have developed and I’ve concentrated increasingly on screen printing as I’ve found it more versatile. Recently though I’ve decided to mix things up a bit and add some lino cuts to my range. I really like the fact that it’s impossible (for me anyway) to make a perfect image cutting into lino, it’s easy to see the artists hand in the work and I find that really appealing.  So look out for some new prints coming soon, once I’ve polished up my technique a bit, as you can see from the photos I could do with a little more practice…

Thanks for reading! Alex. x

3 Comments on “Fresh off the Press

  1. Thanks Amy! Printmaking is SO addictive isn’t it? I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it! xxx

  2. Ooooh Alex, this is very exciting! I’ve never seen a nipping press before but I LOVED printmaking when I was doing my Art & Design foundation course at Kingston Uni – spent hours in the print rooms using all the amazing different presses. I loved creating collograph prints, I think I still have some somewhere. Screen prints were a fave too. Amazing how much time can be spent pottering about cleaning screens, mixing inks. So much fun, no wonder you were excited to get you very own press – have fun! xxx

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