News / Emily Sutton

  • 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. That probably takes another week or so, 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. 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 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 thoughts and produce 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 more spontaneously.  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 ideally suited to printmaking. Does this follow through into your workday 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 doing. 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 to 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. 

  • Bang the drum! It's the next Penfold Pin.

    Drumming Cat by Emily Sutton

    I'm delighted to share with you the next in our series of Penfold Pins. Drumming Cat continues to explore the toy collection of Emily Sutton and once again comes complete with its a hand-printed presentation card. To find out more click here

  • 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...

  • Emily Sutton's latest print is... 'O is for Owl'



    It's not always easy to capture in one small photo some of the subtle layers of colour and variations in mark making that help bring a print to life. So with that in mind here are a few detail's of Emily Sutton's latest screen print O is for Owl. You can find the finished print in our online gallery. 

  • Here's what's coming up in 2016


    Feast becomes the first print of 2016 from the Penfold Press in what is set to be an exciting year. Over the next few months, the Penfold Press will be once again collaborating with Emily Sutton to produce two new screen prints, including the continuation of Emily’s Alphabet Series with M is for Magic.

    With Mark Hearld and Angela Harding also visiting the press to discuss new work and Clive Hicks-Jenkins continuing his series based upon Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 2016 looks set to be a busy year. For updates on all our projects and more information on all the prints published by the Penfold Press follow us on Instagram or Twitter.


  • L is for Lemon

    Five weeks in the making, 'L is for Lemon' is Emily's most ambitious print yet. The image demonstrates Emily’s inventive approach to mark making and her mesmerising sense of design through the use of ten hand-drawn stencils. 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. This latest screen print depicts some of the toys from Emily's collection and is printed in four colours on 225gsm Simili Japon. Last month the print made a successful debut in our 'This Way For Fun' exhibition and is now available from the Penfold Press online gallery. For more details click on Emily's name in the Artists menu.

  • Look what's coming to Dulwich...


    I'm pleased to announce that the Penfold Press will be hosting a show of prints at the Jeannie Avent Gallery in Dulwich. The show marks the Penfold Press's first collaboration with Art Market and runs from 10th - 20th April.  It will feature a mixture of new work and old favorites, including the new prints by Emily Sutton and Angela Harding. I hope you can join us.

  • 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. Over the last month, we have reworked the image with the addition of new colours and layers. Work on the print now complete and Emily is due to sign the edition this week. Keep checking the Penfold Press website or our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.

    After that is 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 sees the return of Mark Hearld to the Penfold Press and the beginning of a new Linocut. 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 edition. 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 or 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.

  • Handbound sketchbooks


    J visited the studio last month. J has the distinction of being the press’s first ‘Pen Friend’ and has supported the studio and suffered my (builders) tea for the past four years. While he was here, I was able to show him my new hand bound sketchbooks and with their unique screen printed covers.

    These new sketchbooks combine two of the things I love the most about the Penfold Press, collaboration with like-minded people and a sense of fun. Having the opportunity to work alongside fellow artisans to produce objects of interest always brings a sense of enjoyment and excitement to the studio. Looking back, the Penfold patterned papers that have proved so popular started life as just that, something that Mark Hearld and I could make that was direct, unfussy and above all fun to print.

    My new sketchpads hopefully carry this on, bringing together as they do this sense of fun and the opportunity to work with someone new. Handbound at the Papercut Bindery by Roger Grech, the new Penfold Press sketchbooks have a unique screen printed cover and are each designated an individual number. Alongside this number are the details of the elements contained within its random design, in the example above the more eagle-eyed amongst you might be able to glimpse 'I is for Ice Cream' by Emily Sutton and 'Feste Dog' by Mark Hearld. When beginning a new print, I usually keep a small selection of paper near to hand to proof colour and test the screens. These sheets are handy for maintaining an even flow of ink after cleaning and over time, as they build layer upon random layer, they begin to take on a life of their own. I’m always drawn to these sheets and often show them to the artists as they point to some unexpected use of colour or juxtaposition of an image. Used now to provide decoration for these lovely sketchbooks I’m glad to be able to share them with you for the first time.

    These books bring together the most beautiful craftsmanship and bookbinding tradition with the carefree, random abstraction of their screen printed covers. They will be available through the website towards the end of July; I hope you enjoy them. 



  • Catching a Mouse



    Now available for pre-order.


    ‘Catching a mouse’ is the first in a series of new prints to be released throughout the summer and continues Emily’s fascination with Victorian transferware ceramics. “I wanted to reinterpret the mugs in a bright and graphic way, building on my ongoing series of watercolor paintings exploring the same subject. I’ve become obsessed with these ceramics and I’m currently developing my own range of plates and mugs that take direct influence from the transferware tradition." Emily Sutton’s new screenprint ‘Catching a mouse’ is now available at a special pre-order price of £165 until Friday 18th July 2014. All pre-orders will be dispatched on this date after which the print will revert to its full price of £195. Click on 'Artists Prints' for more details of how to order your print.


  • A first look at Emily Sutton's new print.


    Emily's preparatory drawing

    There is always an air of excitement when new work comes to the studio and when Emily arrived on Friday with the beginnings of three new screen prints I couldn’t help but look forward to getting started. I’m often asked how the prints are developed and if they are based on another piece of art, a painting for example? Well, the answer is 'no' and to a certain degree 'yes.' Each new print is different but hopefully the photo’s below will help explain the process to those who are unfamiliar with original printmaking. 

    It is often useful to make a preparatory sketch that develops the composition and some of the smaller elements that will be explored in the finished image. As with all the prints made at the Penfold Press, no pre-existing piece of art has been photographed or reproduced to create our print. In this case, Emily has roughed out the detail of the image and explored some of the colour combinations that will occur. It is from this sketch that the print will be based.


    Making the positives that allow us to print Emily's images



    Drawn on drafting film, the image shows the four hand-drawn stencils that will be used to create the finished print. Each of these layers is drawn directly onto the transparent film with a mixture of materials. Using the preparatory sketch as a guide, Emily has produced one stencil for each of the four colours she intends to use. Although each of the stencils is created in either black ink or an opaque red, the final image will be printed in any colour of Emily’s choosing. Sat on top is the last colour, one that Emily has labelled red/brown.


     Our initial colour experiments.



    This image shows some of our early colour experiments, dabbed out onto a piece of paper with fingers and thumbs. The colours that Emily used on the preparatory drawing gives a basic guide when mixing and to this Emily always brings a strong sense of the tone she requires.


    The finished colours, mixed and ready for the proofing process.



    Now all that is left to do is to process the screens themselves and make the first initial proof. Once complete, this proof will be the first time that Emily will see the four stencils printed in their chosen colours, one on top of the other. Keep checking the Penfold Press blog or our Facebook page to see that first image and for details of its availability.

  • 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 required for each of the colours.

    After speaking to Emily about the image, talk turned to the subject of her upcoming Yorkshire Sculpture Park 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 some smaller new prints included in the show and with this in mind, Emily decided to take a few extra materials with her.

  • 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. Not only is the studio construction nearing an end but so too is the work on Emily Sutton’s new alphabet print. ‘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 perspective, ‘I is for Ice Cream’ represents Emily’s most ambitious print to date. It consists of eleven hand-drawn stencils and 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 (while 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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