Guest Blog - Rachel Winsper
To be honest I'm not exactly sure how I found Rachel @winsperdesignprint, I think through a fellow artists. But as soon as I was introduced to her I fell in love with her pink studio & her repeat hand printed patterns. Hand carving your own design and then seeing the magic of it being printed I remember from my A level days as being magical. Anyway Rachel and I introduced ourselves to each other and then the rest is history as they say. One of the lovely things about Instagram and meeting like minded people and building a community.
It wasn't then very long before we where both talking about how we could do a little hand printing kit together so others could learn the enjoyment of hand Printing and so we then embarked on a project to bring you a little kit, perfect for beginners.
But first let me introduce you to Rachel so you can get to know her more and more about hand printing.
Laura In Conversation with Rachel:
Laura: Tell us a little bit about you?
Rachel: I’m Rachel Winsper, a pattern designer and hand printer based in South Staffordshire, I work from a small pink studio surrounded by pattern and colour. I design and carve original rhythmic patterns from lino and blocks and hand print them onto fabrics and papers.
My designs are printed onto papers, decorative boxes, greeting cards, lampshades, home textiles, notebooks and art prints. I’m hugely inspired by the incredible female artists of the inter war years; Enid Marx, Peggy Angus, Barron and Larcher are amongst my pattern design heroes.
It was after taking my children to the London Transport Museum that I first discovered these wonderful artists, I spent a long time admiring the patterned moquette’s used on London transport seating, designed by Enid Marx - I then fell down a rabbit hole and I haven’t really come back up!
L: How did you get into Hand printing?
R: I have always had a love for all things interior, I’ve worked in interior design and used to run my own interior design company, but I knew that one day I would love to be the one designing the papers and fabrics. My hand printing journey began when I wanted to create some fabrics for my home, a keen sewer I like to make blinds, curtains and cushions. After a bit of searching, I found the perfect workshop with the brilliant Vanessa Arbuthnott in the Cotswolds. I was familiar with her designs and I was intrigued to see if I could block print my own pattern designs onto fabrics and papers too. The workshop was a real catalyst for my journey, a real spark was ignited, and I quickly realised the possibilities and set about learning all I could about pattern design. I haven’t stopped designing and creating patterns since that first workshop.
L: What's the most satisfying thing about Hand Printing? What do you enjoy the most?
R: I find every stage of hand printing satisfying; be it taking a spark of inspiration such as an architectural detail from a church and transforming it into a pattern design. Or the calming meditative process of carving the pattern from the lino block using my hand tools. That very first test print is always satisfying to see too – it’s become quite a tradition for me to always print that first test print in pink! However, the most exciting and enjoyable part, is when the design really comes to life after a few repeats are printed. The subtle variations you get between each hand registered repeat are what make the patterns so special and charming. There’s real energy and movement in hand printed patterns, it’s like each repeat has captured the energy and passion of the printer.
L: What's in the kit and what do you recommend, can anyone give it ago?
R: The kit contains all the tools and materials you need to start your printing journey. It’s suitable for absolute beginners! I find it best to not over think the design, take some scrap paper and play about with simple shapes. If drawing out a complete design for the greeting card doesn’t play to your strengths, start by making a simple geometric pattern of squares and triangles - spots and stripes are simple to draw and are particularly affective. You might like to draw some simple leaves or flowers and build up the design. If you are feeling particularly adventurous you could include some wording in your design (you need to carve the words in mirror image, then once printed they will be the right way round). Once you have your carved block, you can use it over and over again on lots of other printing projects.
L: What's your next project? What have you got coming up?
R: I’ve just launched a set of six designs that are available as hand printed wallpaper. I have some lampshades and cushions coming soon too. I have also set about turning my hand printed design library into digital format. Whilst my first love will always be hand printed patterns, I am excited by the possibilities of using my hand-crafted designs in a digital format.
L: Thanks Rachel, so nice to get to know you better and find out how you got started and where you find your Inspiration, who knew a museum trip with the kids would have sparked it all off!
So why not give it a go yourself you can buy Rachel's hand printing kit HERE and just look at what you can produce, of course there is a pink inside it wouldn't be a Winsper Kit without Pink!
Thanks Laura x