The Rattle of a Simple Man / Alphabet series

  • In conversation with Emily Sutton part 2


    In the second part of my conversation with Emily Sutton we talk about her new Alphabet print - Q is for Quince and Quail, making screen prints and Emily's influences growing up.

    PP: We’ve just finished working on your latest Alphabet print Q is for Quince and Quail, I thought it might be interesting to talk a little about the process of making a screen print as I know to some it’s a real mystery. Let’s start with an easy one... how long would you say it takes to make a new print?  

    E: Hmm, I work on prints in several stages, but I suppose if I include the research and ideas-gathering, the preparatory studies and the making of the individual layers I must spend between two and four solid weeks on a print. Then you take over, how long would you say we spend printing?

    PP: It varies I guess but I’d say we spend a week or so proofing the image, getting the colour right and making any changes to the composition, then I usually leave the print with you for a while. I think it’s important to live with the image a little before we finalise it. Once you’re happy I go on to print the full edition and that probably takes another week or so. It's probably longer than most people would think.

    One thing I'm always asked is if you mapped out the series right at the very beginning? We began in 2010, do you have ideas dating from back then? 

    E: No, the ideas have developed over the years. I look for inspiration in books, exhibitions, films, travel, conversations with friends, being outside, walking around a new city, old shop signage, antiques shops… anywhere really. Just being present in the world. For Q is for Quince and Quail I took inspiration from some old French lithographs I picked up at a car boot sale, particularly with relation to the colour. 

    PP: We have a shared love of Folk and Popular Art, what other influences do you have?   

    E: I am very inspired by folk art of all sorts, in particular the collection of the American Folk Art Museum.  I also love the paintings of Ravilious and Paul Nash, John Piper and Christopher Wood, Ben Shahn and Vuillard. It’s funny but when I was a child my parents, seeing my interest in drawing, were always trying to drag me to art galleries but to my shame I was very unenthusiastic.

    PP: Me too, I suppose galleries can be quite intimidating places for a child to visit. Maybe not so much now, I know my children enjoy visiting exhibitions with me. Actually, maybe ‘enjoy’ isn’t quite the right word.

    E: As a child, living in a quiet village meant a lot of time outdoors and a lot of time on my own.  It didn’t feel particularly fun at the time, but in retrospect I feel so lucky to have had so much quiet, unscheduled time as it encouraged me to be creative and find ways of entertaining myself. I had a near obsessive passion for classic Disney films and particularly remember being blown away by Fantasia.  I also used to do a lot of ‘making’, out of paper, modelling clay and fabric, and got really interested in toy making as a teenager.

    PP: When starting a new print, I know you rough out the composition in a sketchbook, making thumbnail drawings and playing with colour. Are sketchbooks really important to your practice?

    E: Yes, I am a religious keeper of sketchbooks.  I use them to figure out stuff and develop initial scribbles of ideas into fully formed sketches.  I can’t think very well in an abstract way and need to write and draw to make sense of what’s in my head.

    PP: It’s fascinating to see the ideas develop over the page as you solve visual puzzles. Those sketches then become the beginnings of the print, from them you structure your ideas and develop a full composition. That in turn guides you when making the separations?  

    E: Yes. I make one separation for each of the colours I’d like to print. Depending on the subject matter I will either stay very true to the pencil drawing when making my stencils or sometimes go off-piste.  With more architectural or structured subject matter, such as P is for Pantomime, I do trace the lines from a full-scale drawing because there is so much detail to fit in that I’d find it near impossible to do in a more spontaneous way.  With the Quince and Quail print however, I enjoyed having more freedom in the organic branches and foliage. I was much more expressive in my mark making. 

    PP: I know you as a very organised, methodical person. In that way you’re perfectly suited to printmaking. Does this follow through into your work day routine?

    E: Definitely. Being a very structured person, most days do have a set pattern.  I get up early and go straight to my desk as I find that having an hour or so’s work under my belt before the day has officially begun bolsters me up and gets me off to a running start. I’ll often have been thinking about it the previous evening, so I’ll already have a plan of what I’ll be working on. During the day I take breaks for breakfast and lunch and make time to get outside for a walk. I find this is particularly important when something isn’t coming easily, even though it’s often the last thing I feel like doing! I’m definitely a morning person so I try and tackle the more challenging, mentally taxing work earlier in the day and then after lunch concentrate on the more methodical elements. I usually finish around 6/7pm. 

  • Win a unique print by Emily Sutton

    Here's your opportunity to win a one of a kind black and white version of Emily Sutton's latest print. The lucky winner will be able to hand finish the print themselves to create a truly unique P is for Pantomime. Read more...

  • L is for Lemon

    Five weeks in the making, 'L is for Lemon' is Emily's most ambitious print yet. Composed of ten hand drawn stencils, the image demonstrates Emily’s inventive approach to mark making and her mesmerising sense of design. The result is a print that is joyous in its celebration of the lemon and the glorious summer sun.

    Printed in ten colours and inspired by a lemon tree she was given as a gift by her partner Mark Hearld, Emily's new print dazzles and is a memorable addition to the alphabet series. 

    Follow the link below to purchase the print.

  • Roll up, roll up...It's Emily Sutton's Toy Parade


    I'm pleased to present Emily Sutton's new print. 'The Toy Parade' depicts some of the toys from Emily's extensive collection and is printed in four colours on 225gsm Simili Japon. Having made a succesful debut in our 'This Way For Fun' exhibition the print is now available, for more details click on Emily's name in the Artists menu.

  • New work 2015

    2015 looks set to be a busy and exciting time at the Penfold Press. Over the coming months I start work on a number of new prints and projects, some with old friends and some with new.

    The first of these projects is a new print by Emily Sutton based upon a parade of toys. The print has been reworked over the last month with the addition of new colours and layers. With the work now complete Emily is due to sign the print this week so keep checking the Penfold Press website or our Facebook and twitter pages for updates.

    After that will be the next in Emily’s alphabet series ‘K is for Kittens and Knitting’. Following on from ‘J is for Jug’ and Emily’s sell out show at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, ‘K is for Kittens and Knitting’ will no doubt bring a little warmth to the cold winter months. Emily has completed the eight stencils needed for each of the colours and work starts on proofing the image next week.

    February see’s the return of Mark Hearld to the Penfold Press and the beginning of a new Lino cut. Over the years Mark and I have worked together to produce a range of prints that incorporate Mark’s love of nature and his interest in printmaking. It’s great to get him back into the studio and working on a new print and if you want to see some of our past efforts you can do so by clicking on Mark’s name within the artist section of this website. If you’d like to find out more about Mark’s prints you could always check out the fantastic ‘Mark Hearld’s Workbook’ published by Merrell.

    Later in February Angela Harding will be working at the studio to produce her first screen print with the Penfold Press. I’ve been an admirer of Angela’s work for some time now and I’m greatly looking forward to working with her to develop this new image. It’s always exciting to be working with new artists and I’m sure Angela will bring something new to the studio’s growing catalogue of work.

  • Studio Visit

    Emily Sutton visited the studio last week to collect the materials needed for her new alphabet print. With the key line drawing complete Emily was keen to get back to her studio to begin work on the stencils needed for each of the colours.

    After speaking to Emily about the image talk quickly turned to the subject of her upcoming YSP show. With the show opening in mid November Emily is already hard at work producing the work that will no doubt delight all those who visit. We hope to have a number of smaller new prints included in the show and with this in mind Emily decided to take a few extra materials with her. Keep checking the Penfold Press blog or my facebook page for updates.

  • I is for Ice Cream. Emily Sutton's next Alphabet print is here.


    I is for Ice Cream, Emily Sutton, Screen Print on paper, 2014.


    An exciting week at the Penfold Press. Well, as exciting as it gets in small village within North Yorkshire. Not only is the studio construction nearing an end but Emily Sutton’s new alphabet print is finished. ‘I is for Ice Cream’ is the ninth print in the series and looks set to be every bit as successful as last years ‘H is for Horse and Hound’. From a printing prospective ‘I is for Ice Cream’ represents Emily’s most ambitious print to date. Consisting of eleven hand drawn stencils, the print beautifully layers the delicate Gelato inspired colours to stunning effect.

    When I spoke to Emily about her inspiration for the new print she talked of her childhood memories of eating 99’s on sunny days out in the park, as well as more recent trips to Venice. Here, Emily was drawn to the amazingly decorative signage of many of the Gelaterias (whilst sampling plenty of ice cream of course). Emily visited the studio earlier in the week to sign the completed edition and 'I is for Ice Cream' will be available on my website from today.

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