I am a printmaker based in Headingley focussing my work through the medium of lino block printing.
My work is always developed from my own drawn or photographic observations around themes usually, but not exclusively, generated in Yorkshire. I tend to use a‘reduction’ process that employs up to ten different colour printing stages but only one printing block. Printing is undertaken using an ‘Imperial’letterpress, hand press or by burnishing with tools ranging from Japanese palm leaf barens to dessert spoons!
Lino printing has a particular fascination for me. I get great pleasure from the’primitive immediacy’ of a medium that, in essence, is little changed from the earliest forms of printmaking. I enjoy the intellectual exercise of manipulating the original image appropriately in an attempt to exploit the full potential of the medium. I also take an indulgent pleasure in the materials and‘craft technique’ of the process that, at its best is serendipitous but also knowing that any slip or error could undermine the work of weeks.
I deliberately keep the size of my editions limited to a maximum of ten prints. This allows me to indulge experimentally in the printing process itself. I am currently attempting to get a greater ‘immediacy’ in the ‘finished print’ that, in turn, reflects the original observation. I am also exploring different printing surfaces and attempting to add even greater depth and range to my work by the control of the strength of hue of my ink and its ‘removal’ from specific areas of the block, and by adding texture, by pressing surfaces such as hessian into the ink or by changing the packing material in the press.
I am a member of the Dewsbury Arts Group and the West Yorkshire Print Workshop and my work is currently on exhibition at the Ramsgill Gallery, Batley Art Gallery and the Leeds Craft and Design Gallery.
My work and an illustrated explanation of the printing process can be found on my web site, www.mikesmithprints.co.uk
Mike Smith. March 2013.