" I work at home, with a desk for lino cutting, sketching and playing around and I use the kitchen table for printing on as it's bigger. I leave prints drying all around the house too, mainly on top of bookshelves.

The best piece of advice I received was to draw what you know and I really do try to follow that, because it means that you can be constantly inspired - by small observations whilst you wash-up, strange situations that life puts you into and the familiar of your everyday life. No need to wait for a huge wave of inspiration to hit you, just look around. This source of inspiration may not be immediately obvious in all of my work, but that is what sketch books are for !" - Melanie Wickham

Melanie Wickham

Printmaker

Melanie Wickham is a lino printer based in Bristol. Trained as an Illustrator she has been carving out lino hares, cats, spiders and otters ever since. Melanie has exhibited regularly in galleries and exhibitions around the UK and has printed on many things – from lovely printmaking papers to walls, curtains and pairs of pants !

"I have always been a 'drawer' since I was tiny and when I went to college it was to study Illustration at UWE Bristol.  My time there was a little bit aimless as I didn't really have a clear style for producing finished work where drawing was not the answer - until I discovered printmaking properly - right in the last two terms...ggrrrr.

When I left college I didn't want to spend money on equipment or a studio and started lino printing at home, on the kitchen table, just as a way to keep printing really, whilst working part-time in local art galleries, musical instrument shops, pubs, all kinds of fun jobs! 
Over time, with interruptions from children, my lino printing has built up and I'm now really happy with the amount of printing I do and the balance of my week!

I draw in sketch books a lot and ideas evolve there. Occasionally the appear fully formed.
I then transfer the design onto blocks of lino and start carving. This can take some time as all the areas I want to remain 'unprinted' need to be carved away (for instance, every bit of white in my images has been cut away and some of them are very white..)
Next I roll out ink onto a glass slab, roller the ink onto the lino and print the image. I don't use a press at all, I print by hand using a boxwood burnishing tool so have good muscles but in only one shoulder. ..I can control the amount of pressure put onto the paper really well using this technique and this means I am controlling how much ink is picked up by the paper and therefore how the image looks. Then the prints are left to dry." - Melanie Wickham

She lives and work in Bristol.