Sunday 4 August 2013

Meet the Printmaker - Elaine Cooper

Elaine Cooper is an interesting printmaker who also makes her own beautiful handmade papers. We caught up with her and were pleased to learn more about the work she does between here in Bristol and Japan....

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work…
What sort of prints do you make?
I specialise in creating etchings and screen-prints on unique handmade papers. The papers have wonderful qualities - adding depth, texture and harmony to my compositions, so the image and paper become one.

Kacho Fugetsu, detail / layered etching

I studied traditional papermaking in Japan for 10 years and have developed those techniques to create innovative papers for a variety of uses. Some papers are very delicate; others consist of hundreds of translucent layers and are multi-dimensional, or resemble stained glass.

Handmade Silk Paper

The papers are fantastic for printmaking and for other artwork. They may be created as art in their own right, but more usually it’s about how the image and paper combine.

Mangekyo / screenprint on Washi

Stencils used to create Mangekyo print

Are you solely a printmaker or do you work in any other creative fields?
I’m also a master papermaker and designer. I really enjoy expressing my art in different ways- book art, artefacts and the creation of wall panels, lighting and installations, for example.

Pendant Light made with 3 types of Washi paper

What is your earliest recollection of making a print and what made you
want to do more?
I inherited my love of art from my father. At a young age I was always copying drawings of Rembrandt, Da Vinci and Dürer from art books he gave me, and I used to make basic monoprints at home from oil paint on a glass pane.

Sleep / etching mezzotint

What inspires you and are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work?
I am captivated by the properties of Japanese paper and by its beauty and versatility. My images are inspired by nature, culture and mythology. These themes are regularly explored and recur in my work in various forms.

Kecak / stained-glass paper

Could you give us an insight into where you work – your studio/workspaceand where you print?
I am a member of Spike Print Studio in Bristol, which has excellent printmaking facilities. I also have a studio in Japan where I print and make paper.

Studio in Japan
Beating kozo fibre / Newly made washi on paper bed

The works of which other printmaker/s do you admire?
I really like the work of Franz Gertsch who creates large format hyper-realistic woodblock prints with amazingly soft tones and subtle hues.

Printmaking is made up of lots of different processes, which aspect
do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the technical discipline associated with etching. The quality of line, tone and texture are of particular interest to me.

Copper etching plate

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently designing a number of large-scale etchings on aluminium, using a combination of traditional and modern techniques. There’s lots of experimentation involved but I’m achieving some really interesting results.


Wow, thanks Elaine for sharing so much with us! We are very impressed with the variety of techniques you use in your work, and particularly the fact that you make your own handmade papers... your work is truly unique!

As well as showing her work in volume 1 of The Print Shop, Elaine is also running a paper making workshop for us, which runs over 3 monday evenings from August 5th... for more information click here

The Print Shop
Unit 6
Quakers Friars
Cabot Circus

Open Daily
Mon - Sat 10am - 6pm
Sun 11am - 5pm

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