top of page
  • Writer's pictureMary Parker

A simple linocut view looking across a warm brown beach towards a yellow sunrise, reflected in the sea below
Estuary Dawn Linocut Print

For the first time this year, I am taking part in the Thought Press Project, a charity fundraiser involving 100 printmakers. I had heard of it before, but only really discovered what it was all about when one of the organisers came onto the Printmakers Chat Discord to promote it, and gather some more participants. The theme this year is "Bring Me Sunshine", inspired by the Morecambe and Wise song, and it can be interpreted in any form of printmaking. It's also aiming to be as accessible as possible to prospective buyers, with the price of each work of art being kept deliberately low - some below £10, and very few exceeding £40.


The two charities that will benefit are organisers Edible Rotherhithe, who provide creative learning opportunities through both gardening and printmaking sessions in schools, and Place 2 Be which helps school children improve their mental health and wellbeing across the UK.


The challenge was launched at the beginning of February, with all prints to be in London by the end of March. The limited editions of 10 hand-made prints have been listed on the shop as they have arrived, and have already been raising much needed funds.

I chose to make an A6 - sized linocut, roughly 10cm x 15cm, in an edition of only 10. It's based on a photograph by a friend which I have used for two other linocuts previously, of a view across Ostal Bay in Argyll and Bute, Western Scotland. I'm happy to say that my fundraiser linocut is now available!

5 views0 comments
  • Writer's pictureMary Parker

I recently managed to join the Stoke Urban Sketchers in Longton town centre. Longton has the highest concentration of surviving bottle ovens in the Potteries, and has some great Georgian architecture. I very rarely make it to the sketch meets due to my home responsibilities, but it was bliss to be out in the rain with my sketchbook, all of my worries about people thinking I was weird just vanished as I got into the groove of drawing again. First of all, I headed to the other end of town, passing a couple of fellow artists already set up by the town hall, as I had an electrical substation to draw.

 I have found quite a number of surviving c.1930's substations around and about Stoke, some of which are quite grand. I hope to make visual records of them before someone decides to decommission them and replace them all with metal boxes. This one isn't particularly unusual, but it's a classic, straightforward and functional building, and having found that it was next to the police station in town, I wanted to make it my first to be recorded. The drawing is is rain-assisted, and coloured with my Derwent pencils which sadly aren't water-soluble.

I then returned to the town hall to take a bit of shelter from the rain, as I wanted to have a go at capturing the historic railway bridge which spans the central road junction. I am so glad of my landscape format sketchbook, which is A6, perfect for me as I like to work quickly.

 It was still a bit tricky even at that size as the breeze kept catching the left-hand page as I was trying to catch the traffic, so it became a little spidery over there. I'm annoyed at failing to finish the front of the hotel, behind the bridge, but I was cold and damp and had to seek shelter in Strand Records for a bit (and came away with some vinyl that I'd been looking for!).

Having popped to the car to park my record out of the rain, I made my way up to platform 2 on Longton station. It was deserted due to industrial action, although I later found out that there had been a large number of sketchers in the platform shelter at one point! There is a very convenient gap in the cover of the shelter for drawing the Phoenix Works bottle kilns and chimney, which I suspect is actually so that the CCTV can monitor what is going on in there. Handy though, particularly in wet or very sunny weather. I was finally able to use my watercolours as I had a seat here, and could use my knee as a table. Not my best, but happy nevertheless.

I haven't managed three more or less complete sketches on one of these trips before, it was such a wonderful therapy being able to be outside, engrossed in my work for a couple of hours with only the weather as a bit of an interruption. I'm looking forward to joining them again at some point in the not-too-far-distant future, and also to being able to record some other substations. I'm hoping that I'll have the confidence to draw nearer to home, where I'm more likely to be seen by people who only know me as one of the local dog walking community. We'll see!

4 views0 comments
  • Writer's pictureMary Parker

So at the close of one year, and the beginning of another, finally a catch up!


Our eldest and I visited the Derby Print Open in June, it was great to see all of the other work - so many different printmaking techniques, and very inspiring. I was very happy to have sold two of the framed linocuts!


Here are photos of the finished Gladstone decorating kiln linocuts, I've been interested to see that the more experimental one seems to be the more popular of the two. I'm intending to do more playing with ink application in the future, so this has been encouraging. One of each has already sold at Gladstone Pottery Museum, where they are currently exclusively for sale.


I completed the partner-piece to the green and black version of the Minkstone linocut ("Restoration") - here is the A4 orange and black version of Chetam's Pottery, "In Limbo". I really enjoyed working on this one, and I'm very pleased with how it's come out.


For the first time this year, I entered the Three Counties Open - a juried exhibition that covers Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire. It's the Open that I have always wanted to take part in as it's our local, but had never before felt brave enough. I was over the moon to be accepted with "Restoration", and here it is on the wall at Burslem School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent, surrounded by wonderful work by other local artists. I will be entering again next year, ever hopeful.


I don't feel as though I've spent much time printing this year - a lot of my time has been taken up with enabling my husband Ian to get two big commissions done, which have been stressful at times but fulfilling. Looking back, I've done more than I thought I had, but it was often in snatched free hours and weeks apart. This coming year we're both hoping to get into better work routines so that we can both get into a more healthy creative rhythm.


The year has ended with the closure / relocation of Two Silver Pennies in Uttoxeter. It's been good to have been involved, but I've decided to leave as along with many of my fellow artists and craftspeople, sales have been down by getting on for half this year, and I'm trying to reduce my outgoings a bit. I wish everyone who is moving across the street to the Globe Eco Centre all the very best of success for the 2024!

4 views0 comments
bottom of page