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York Printmakers virtual print fair 2020

I've taken part in the annual York Printmakers Print Fair since our first one in 2017.

In normal times we would have shared our prints with you in person this September. This year we’ve had to go virtual.

We have over 50 members, across a diverse range of printmaking techniques and subjects. Follow @yorkprintmakers and #YorkPrintmakers on social media to see other artist work.

Through five prompts we’ve shared who we are, what we do and some of our work through social media. Below is a round up of some of the posts I’ve shared.

Day 1. Who am I?

Hello, I’m Michelle, a linocut artist. I create prints inspired by landscapes I’ve experienced while walking and cycling around the UK. Each design is hand carved into lino and each edition printed by hand. I’m currently working on a series of Yorkshire Dales prints.

I run online linocut courses and teach in person workshops in my studio. I have worked on commissions for book illustrations and the National Trust.

My background is surface pattern and product design. Studying fashion design I moved to London when I was 20 to work for high street retailers. After 25 years I took the leap of faith (and shove of redundancy) to work for myself. I feel very lucky to be able to follow my passions and create a lifestyle that I love.

I joined York Printmakers 4 and a half years ago. They’re an invaluable support and source of encouragement. In fact I doubt I would have become a pretty much full time artist without them.

PS. Excuse the odd colours on the video. Don't know what happened.

Day 2. What is my favourite technique?

My prints are created in linocut, which is a relief printing technique. I use the multi-block technique. The design for each colour is carved onto a separate lino block. Each block is ink and printed my hand onto each other. Usually I print light to dark.

I love the graphic quality of linocut designs and the depth of color I get from using linseed oil-based inks. The inks are semi transparent which give a more organic look.

I’m a full time artist and the pandemic has been challenging. One of the wonderful things about printmaking is how meditative it can be.

The initial design of a multi coloured print does require a lot of planning. After that comes the fun making part. If I’ve felt overwhelmed and anxious about things I’ve found carving lino has really helped me. I’m focused in that moment, concentrating on carving that one line and the next. It also takes me back to the landscape that inspired it. I often listen to an audiobook at the same time.

Hand printing is a more energetic process, still meditative as I have to concentrate. I count the number of rolls of ink on each block, lay on the paper, winding through my hand turned etching press. I do like singing and dancing when I’m printing!

Day 3. What is my studio like?

A quick tour of my garden studio.

It’s a calm space to be creative in. I love the quality of light, even on the greyest day. I love having the windows open so I can hear birds singing. Hours often disappear!

Day 4. Which is my favourite piece and what inspired it?

I filmed this last week. OK, it’s definitely Arncliffe in Littondale now. I’ve not shared that one yet! Sorry Ingleborough. Memories of a walk I did from Kettlewell to Arncliffe and along the river Wharfe in the Yorkshire Dales.

Day 5. Where to see more of my work?

A tour of Yorkshire through the eyes of a linocut artist. Each print is inspired by my cycling and walking adventures. Each design is a limited edition original prints and available in my online shop.

Everything crossed that our annual print fair will be back in-person in September 2021.

Thank you for your support.



About the artist

Michelle Hughes is a North Yorkshire landscape artist. Much of her work depicts the Yorkshire landscape and Yorkshire coast, including the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

Michelle loves exploring the British countryside by bike or on foot, camera in hand, capturing ideas for her next prints. Back in her garden studio, Michelle creates simple but stylised silhouettes based on her photographs, and hand carves these shapes into lino. She hand prints with an etching press, using oil-based inks to create tonal blocks of colour. Michelle’s original linocut prints are limited editions.

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