Alice Rolfe prints onto textiles and paper. Here you can see her sporting one of her wonderful t-shirts. Read on to hear about her processes and life as a printmaker in Bristol....
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work…
What sort of prints do you make?
I’m Alice Rolfe from Rolfe&Wills – a Bristol based Print and Upholstery company. I screen print our designs on to homewears, clothing, a variety of papers and fabric which Chloe Wills uses to upholster furniture.
What is your earliest recollection of making a print and what made you to want to do more?
From the age of about 6 I did printing workshops with family friends who were artists. We screen printed using stencils, and etched – taking the plate out into the countryside or the beach and drawing what we saw. I fell in love with the process – each step just as important as the last, and each step impacting the look your final piece. It was so much fun, I was hooked!
What inspires you and are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work?
Primarily I’m interested in colour. I love layering and blending colours to see what comes out. I use a lot of fluorescent colours against a neutral back drop – it really pops out and creates a bold statement. I like to let the colours do the work and keep the designs simple.
Could you give us an insight into where you work – your studio/workspace and where you print?
Currently I print at Drawn in Bristol’s space at Hamilton House. It’s been absolutely fantastic, meeting fellow artists and keeping it affordable. I wouldn’t have been able to grow the business with out it… But as the business has grown so fast in just over a year, it’s time to move on and have my stock, printing table, and desk all in one place, so I’m currently converting a garage in Easton into a studio space. It’s a massive space and therefore a massive project but I’m hoping to move in there by mid September. I’ll miss the space at Hamilton House, but I’ll be renting out spaces in the new studio, so hopefully there will be a creative vibe there also.
The work of which other printmaker/s do you admire?
I’m always drawn to Lizzy Cox’s work, a screen printer who lived in Somerset – her work is unique and some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. She would take a printing kit out into the fields and document the plants by printing onto them. I think about this a lot and am sure they will influence my ideas in the future.
Printmaking is made up of lots of different processes, which aspect do you enjoy the most?
Well, it’s got to be the big reveal! How is it going to come out… It makes me nervous and excited every time – no wonder I’m totally exhausted after a day of printing! It’s a very emotional process as well as physical.
Can you share a little printing trick or secret with us?
Hummm well a lot of people ask me how to get the blended technique – but I’m not sure I should tell you...? It’s actually very simple, you just need all the colours on the screen at a time, and a steady hand.
How would you like to develop your printmaking skills in the future?
I’m still at the very early stages of my printing career – I don’t really consider myself as a professional printer yet as I still have so much to learn. Every time I print I learn something new, and I’ve probably only mastered about two techniques out of about 300…. So it’s a life long thing really. I guess I just want to get better – more accurate – more experiential.
Which printed publication do you most look forward to thumbing through?
I have a few books ‘The Drawing Book’ by Tania Kovats – my old tutor, and a book of ‘Rachel Whitereads Drawings’ are two of my faves I love to brows through. I have a slight wayward rout to a final idea – colourless drawings seem to inspire my brightly coloured prints…????
Monochrome or multi-coloured?
For me… My prints – super multi coloured all the way!
Thanks Alice, we love the colours you use and the range of products that your designs can be found on.
Alice Rolfe's work is currently featured in the second volume of The Print Shop, which runs until September 29th. If you can, please do pop by the shop to see all our printmakers' work for real... the computer images never really does their work justice!
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