Monday, 21 October 2013

Meet the printmaker: Dawn Cooper

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? What sort of prints do you make?

My name's Dawn Cooper, and I work as a freelance illustrator in the beautiful city of Bristol. I produce screen prints of my illustration work, and get a lot of enjoyment out of making screen-printed products. So far I've experimented with making letter writing sets, placemats, notebooks, gift-tags and postcards, but I'd like to explore textiles and stationery a little further!

Are you solely a printmaker, or do you work in any other creative fields?

I'm primarily an illustrator.  I draw everything by hand in my sketchbook, and assemble my drawings on screen to make multi-layered illustrations with lots of digital colour and texture.  I like to dabble in screen printing (which is becoming a far more frequent exercise since joining The Print Shop!), and it can be quite a challenge translating my work into a limited colour screen-print.  I also love typography and packaging design, which I like to apply to my screen printed products.

What is your earliest recollection of making a print and what made you to want to do more?

I suppose I started screen-printing at university, and I was thrilled to be able to walk away with a finished product after a hard day's work learning lots of new processes.

What inspires you? Are there any themes or ideas that often run through your work?

My work is quite heavily inspired by natural history and botanical illustrations, and the natural world.  I am also a lover of quotes, and telling stories through a singular image.  I always find a good brisk walk brings lots of ideas to the fore, and couldn't recommend it more!

'Be Yourself' by Dawn Cooper

Could you give us an insight into where you work; your studio/workspace and where you print?

I work with the other very talented folk at the Drawn in Bristol studio, in Hamilton House, Stokes Croft.  I love the open-plan nature of the space, as I hate to be without conversation when I'm working.  I also enjoy the screen-printing facilities there, and the fact that there's always friendly and open advice on hand if you get in a jam!

Screen-printing in Hamilton House

Which other printmakers' work do you admire?

I absolutely love the work of Karolin Schnoor, a German illustrator, designer and screen-printer, currently based in London.  There's something very smart, beautiful and seemingly effortless about her image-making and bold colour combinations.  I recently bought some beautiful letterpressed notebooks of Karolin's, but I can't bare to use them!

Letter-pressed notebooks by Karolin Schnoor

Printmaking is made up of lots of different processes. Which aspect of printmaking do you enjoy the most?

I just love it when it goes well!  That, and seeing all of the layers come together, one by one.

Do you have a favourite tool or something you find invaluable when printing?

I think it's invaluable to remain calm and collected when printing, and have recently made a concerted effort not to get flustered during the process!  I think a tidy work space is a good way of achieving this, but I'm still working on that.

How would you like to develop your printmaking skills in the future?

I'd like to continue exploring new hand-printed products and gifts, and learn how to utilise and overlay single colour layers to create additional colours and tones.

Which printed publication do you most look forward to thumbing through?

The Here Gallery in Stokes Croft always has an amazing range of design magazines and independent publications.  A good friend of mine bought me a subscription to Oh Comely magazine, which is always a fascinating read, and although I'm not a cyclist, I enjoy the illustrated content of Bristol's Boneshaker magazine.

And finally; monochrome or multi-coloured?

I am a colour addict, unquestionably.

Thank you for sharing your working process and inspirations, Dawn!

Dawn will be at The Print Shop for the rest of Volume 3 with all of the above work for sale (while stocks last!). 

The Print Shop
Unit 6
Quakers Friars
Cabot Circus

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