'Starlings on the Shore', Lino cut, Printers Proof, Signed by the artist.
Image Size: 304 x 205mm
October brings the 10th anniversary of the opening of Penfold Press and looking back, I remember my first studio with a mixture of bemusement and fondness. Situated on the outskirts of York, the small converted pig shed marked the beginning of my career as a publisher and printer. The farm on which it was based was home to a motley crew of artists and craftspeople, all desperately trying hard to keep warm and the chickens out. Cramped and cold it might have been but it was a great release to establish a base from which to work and finally be able to make work independently. Those working in the nearby studios were supportive and welcoming, offering advice and a friendly ear when needed. We consisted of a sculptor, two painters, a mechanic, an upholsterer, a joiner, a furniture maker and eventually, a dog groomer.
The location itself helped give rise to the name of the Press, as I'd heard that a place where lost farm animals were kept was (mistakenly as it happens) called a Penfold. My aim with the studio was to attract "lost" artists or, if not lost, certainly those who couldn't easily find their way into printmaking. The Penfold Press seemed perfect. By the time I realised that a Pinfold was actually the correct term for the holding pen, the name had already stuck. Ten years and three different studios later, I am still asked why I named my Press after a Danger Mouse character.
From the very beginning Mark Hearld has been a constant visitor to the studio. Having graduated from the Royal College of Art in the year previous to me, we had the good fortune of meeting each other whilst taking up our first teaching roles. The timing of our meeting was perfect. It gave me the opportunity to test out my belief that there was a need for this kind of studio. A place where artists, and illustrators in particular, could develop their ideas in a less pressured environment, whilst Mark was able to explore his love printmaking through a range of different processes. Over the course of the years since then we have collaborated with each other to develop a series of lino cuts, screen prints and patterned papers that celebrate Mark's love of nature, the surrounding countryside and his visual dexterity.
Alongside this, the Penfold Press has continued to support a group of artists, many with connections to Mark and York, through the publication of new work. Emily Sutton continues to develop her successful ‘Alphabet Series’ with her latest screen print ‘L is for Lemon’, whilst other artists including Ed Kluz, Michael Kirkman, Angela Harding, Kane Cunningham and Jonny Hannah have all produced editions of prints. Lately, I have had the pleasure of working with Clive Hicks-Jenkins and later this month I will once again work with Mark to produce a new screen print. I’m feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work alongside and support an exciting group of artists and it has been a real pleasure watching their careers develop.
To mark the occasion of the 10th anniversary, I have released from the archive a rare printers proof of a lino cut made with Mark. 'Starlings on the Shore' was originally exhibited in Mark's first solo show at Godfrey and Watt and was later featured within his 'Work Book', published by Merrell in 2012.
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