Category Archives: Featured Graduates

Featured Graduate: Julia Blom

Julia Blom picking up a can of ink from a shelf.
Julia from Blomworks

1. Tell us about yourself. Have you always been interested in art and design?

Growing up in the Netherlands, design and creativity was always around me. In my family there are landscape architects, photographers and writers, and that was reflected in for example the furniture, books and art in everyone’s home. And of course it was everywhere in the culture too, in the stamps, bank notes, posters for exhibitions. It’s all part of my Dutch heritage which I didn’t actually realise until I studied Design for Visual Communication at LCC. It definitely influences my minimal designs and love for typography. 

Going to LCC was a career change for me, I found myself stuck in a job and wanted to get away from the computer. I loved using the fantastic facilities at LCC and went to lots of bookbinding, box making and print workshops. For every assignment I would want to make something.

Framed letterpress print. Two large characters printed in orange and blue. Hanging on a wall above a coffee table and radio.
Orange and Blue, Blomworks

2.  How did you get started in letterpress?

It started when we studied designs that were made before the computer was invented. I would look at these beautiful typographic examples and think: how on earth was this made? I really enjoyed learning about this as well as kerning, composition, type setting. A lot of things come together for me in letterpress: my love for typography, the nuances of language, and the logistics and mathematical element which meant I could apply my skills from previous jobs.

When you find what it is you love doing, I think you have no other choice then to continue with it in some way. After I graduated, I started volunteering at the London Centre for Book Arts and the Type Archive. A little while later, I created a website and started selling my work.

3.  Where do you find inspiration?

In letterforms and in language. This can be from conversations or those snippets of a chat you hear. Yesterday I walked past two neighbours and all I heard from their conversation was that one said to the other: ‘and you know if they say anything silly…’ and the other replied: ‘yes, then I just let it go’. I love those little moments. Then I think: maybe I can use that in a print. 

My work is about confidence, love and breakup, and mental wellbeing. They are of words you continuously want to be reminded of.

Letterpress print reading 'whoever is dating you is very lucky', on a silver tray with wine glasses and nuts.
Dating You, Blomworks

4.  What does your current work setup look like?

At home I have a proofing press that I use for smaller work and commissions. I print larger work at the London Centre for Book Arts where they have two Vandercooks and a Stephenson Blake. I also have a day job which I enjoy, I use different skills there and have lovely colleagues.

5. Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

Experiment more! I often had thought out a design in my head and have it planned before I started making. Sometimes, it’s good to try something out and see where it takes you. 

6.  Where can we see more of your work?

Have a look at my website or instagram. The exhibitions I had booked have been postponed. My folded print We stumble into being will soon be sold at the Whitegrid gallery in Berlin. 

If you have any questions, get in touch via Julia’s email

Framed letterpress print. The print is folded intricately and hangs in a square black frame. Viewed at an angle.
We Stumble Into Being, Blomworks

Featured Graduate: Neelam Bhullar

The Monarch Butterfly, photo-etching. Circular image filled with Monarch butterflies in a monotone copper colour
The Monarch Butterfly. Photo etching.

1.Tell us about yourself. Have you always made art?

Like many artist’s creativity has always been a part of me from a young age. My mum would always get me craft kits, glitter and colourful pens which all contributed to my creativity and helped me to grow as an artist.

2. How did you get started in printmaking?

I wanted to learn about printmaking which I noticed I hadn’t done much of throughout the first two years on the degree, at the beginning of my third year I spoke with the technicians about learning some of these techniques. The intaglio process was what I was most drawn to having produced a few plates, eventually I fell in love with the process and found myself making as many plates as I could in the remainder of time I had left on the course. I feel like learning all these techniques has helped me to develop my art in new and exciting ways.

3. Who are your biggest influences?

I find many artists influential, some of my favourites would have to be Yayoi Kusama, Edvard Munch, Hieronymus Bosch, Andy Warhol, and Gilbert & George.

4. Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated? What does your current work setup look like?

In the near future I’m looking to produce work at open access print studio’s as a starting point, I have many ideas constantly flowing through my mind which I wish to see through and continue to learn more about printmaking in the process. My current work setup consist of a small work space which serves me well for all my research and initial stages of my image making, my desk is usually a mess when I’m image making which I quite like as I feel it helps me to put a range of ideas together, sometimes they happen by accident.

Illness and Identity. Photo-lithograph. Mono-tone circular image with collaged figures and abstract shapes and textures.
Illness and Identity. Photo lithograph.

5. Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

My only regret was not getting into the print workshops earlier. During my time in the workshops this year I have seen a pathway to producing work which I would have never imagined. Having learnt so much in such a short space of time due to the help of the technicians, I will continue to apply everything that I have learnt to my work in order to strengthen my practice. I have developed a passion and fascination for print and the techniques it has to offer which has become an essential part of my practice.

6. Where can we see more of your work?

Instagram: @nbhullar19

Photopolymer print in made during Return to Make. The image is in a sepia tone and depicts collaged nude figures amongst snow drops and other flora.
Photopolymer Print made during Return to Make

Featured Graduate: Romario Williams

Two plate etching of half faces. Lines in black, background red.
Two plate etching made during Return to Make

1.Tell us about yourself. Have you always made art?

I have just graduated from Illustration. Since I can remember, I have always created art. One of my earliest memories I have is of drawing on a computer in nursery. The teacher said that I was definitely going to be an artist one day because my drawing had the most colours in it. I play the piano but art has always been the main focus for me. Even from the things that I watch. I watch a lot of anime. I decided to come to LCC Illustration because although Illustraion is quite broad, at LCC it wasn’t combined with fine art, so it was more tailored.

2. How did you get started in printmaking?

As part of the Illustration Course we had to do inductions in the Printmaking Workshops. I didn’t really enjoy printmaking at first, I thought it was long round about process, where you could just draw more directly and quickly in other media. My tutors really encouraged me to reconsider printmaking as they could see the potential of my drawing going into print. Their passion when talking about printmaking made me want to try it again.  I tried printmaking again, but it was only when I tried etching that it felt right for me. I learned that I could break it down into two processes- the drawing and the printing. Once I focused on the plate making and then printing I found that this worked for me.

3. Who are your biggest influences?

Quentin Blake is one of my favourite illustrators. I really like his illustrations, from my earliest memories I remember Roald Dahl books. I just really like how everything seemed to be so energetic, everything seems to be moving. It’s art with the stories. So when I was introduced to his adult stories later I really felt like Blake was missing. William Blake, the Pre-Raphaelites, Anime have also been strong influences. At the moment, I tend to look generally at artworks on platforms like Pintrest, rather than an artist’s body of work.

Etching of geometric face. Line in black, background red.
Etching, editioned during Return to Make

4. Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated? What does your current work setup look like?

I am currently working in a spare room at home. This is my current studio. I draw and paint here. I don’t need a lot of space. In the future I will look to make prints at an open access print workshop.

5. Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

In the first year when using the print workshop I didn’t absorb much of what I was doing. I was associating this time with completing projects and project briefs. I never took a lot of time to really learn the process. In my second year I began to see the process as its own thing, and work in itself. Now that I have graduated, it is all print, this is the first time I have created work that is all art without a brief.

In first year, I thought I had ticked a box and that I was fluent in printmaking and I knew what I was doing.  I would advise myself to take time to reflect and appreciate the work and the process and the time it takes to develop a practice. I didn’t understand printmaking at the time, now I understand it much more. It has a whole following.

Close up of etching of half faces. Lines black background orange.
Detail of etching during the colour proofing stage

6. Where can we see more of your work?

Instagram rome_in_rio

Featured Graduate: Jingyu Xu

Red, white and black graphic image of a Chinese New Year celebration card
Celebration 2018, screenprint by Jingyu Xu

Tell us about yourself. Have you always made art?
Influenced by my mother who works in the fashion industry, I was encouraged to draw at a very young age. I used to draw so much I was labelled as “the girl who can draw” in class. I love and want to pursue this creative path as a future career, so I was given support by my parents to take years of art academy classes back home. But even with all the support and approval from people around me, I still once had so many doubts on this art journey.

The art classes allowed me to get skilful at realistic and observational sketching and painting, but I never considered myself good enough to be an artist. At a time I felt lost and kept wondering whether capturing the likeliness is the only standard of good art, if so, why should we even draw when we have cameras.
I know it sounds silly but it was actually after a lot of struggling, researching and learning, for me to realize how I used to have such a narrow mindset. The systematic learning of shapes, colours and lights & shadows, of course they are beneficial, but it also restrained me to believe drawing is just reproducing the reality. It never got me to see the real creative side of art.

Later looking at the impressionism and fauvism art which I really admire, now I believe art, especially drawing, is about one’s interpretation of something, and that something doesn’t even have to be real. The emotions, the experience, the imaginations, etc., they all can influence or form an artwork.

So I believe the answer is yes, I have been making art ever since I tried doodling out my dreams at kindergarten!

Photograph of the artist screen printing in the workshop at London College of Communication
Jingyu busy printing in the LCC screenprint workshop

How did you get started in screen printing?
I was introduced to screen printing during my introduction course at LCC, this traditional approach to a print process instantly caught my interest as this was something I had never seen before!
What amazes me is the dedication that one needs to put into the preparation and printing process, and how nicely the textures and layers of ink turn out in the outcomes. Although it can be a bit frustrating when some flaws or mistakes happen, I guess that’s the charm of screen printing by hand, we are always learning as every time we print and face new challenges.

Who are your biggest influences?
Uchida Masayasu, Tatsuro Kiuchi, On Yamamoto, Jame Jean. These are several of my favourite artists/ printmakers who inspire and influence me in terms of their compositions and texture making. Their artworks are really pleasant to see.
(@uchidamasayasu, @tatsurokiuchi, @onyamamoto_art, @jamesjeanart)

Graphic image of a film poster design for Kill Bill
Up! screenprint by Jingyu Xu

Where will you make work now that you’ve graduated?
I plan to head to other open-access print studios in London but haven’t made a decision yet. Because of the pandemic and my new postgraduate publishing course going on, I might slow down my printmaking projects a bit, but I will definitely keep doing it!

Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?
It is definitely “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and don’t feel too frustrated and then give up easily.” As I mentioned, it is just very common to have small flaws and mistakes when you just started printing. But back then I was too focused on the imperfection and felt bad when getting called out that I was rusty. I even stopped printing for about a year, which I really regret as this period of time could have been properly spent to practice and learn from mistakes. So I think it is important not to be afraid to try and continue making work, and always believe that practice and hard work will pay off.

Additionally, I planned many screen print works to be happening in the last term, I wish I could have known the lockdown would happen and finished the printing in the second term. But luckily, the “Return to Make” in September allowed me to carry on making two of the projects, I am very grateful for the LCC screen print team to make this happen.

Graphic image of a film poster design
Greetings, screenprint by Jingyu Xu

Where can we see more of your work?
Instagram: @thescenestealers
I am a member of The Scene-Stealers Collective and we make art for some iconic Films & TV shows. It is not about creating a movie poster that serves as a marketing tool, but about our original artistic/illustrative interpretation of a scene.

Instagram: @mchl_6

Personal Blog: I am still working on creating an official online portfolio, but for the moment I will be posting updates and process of work on my Instagram and blog.

Thank you!

Graphic image of a small dog sitting on grass with water and ducks in the background.
Kiki the Dog, screenprint by Jingyu Xu

Featured Graduate: Catia Kelleher

Multiple plate Linocut print made during Return to Make
Multiple plate Linocut print made during Return to Make.

1.Tell us about yourself. Have you always made art?

I have always loved to draw and paint. Luckily for me, I grew up in a family that have always appreciated creativity from drawing to music to architecture. Therefore, I was absorbed into the art world at a young age. I even remember being in awe at my dad’s watercolour and grandad’s oil paintings that are proudly hung on the walls of my family home. With my work now hanging up on the wall too, it has been become somewhat of a family gallery.

2. How did you get started in printmaking?

I had my introduction into Lino printing at the age of 16 at college and I immediately loved the technicality of the process. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take it much further due to a lack of available facilities. When searching for art universities, I was intrigued to find that LCC had incredible printing equipment and inductions. I was finally able to expand my knowledge of printing into new methods such as screen printing, letterpress, and lithography. Lino is still my favourite print medium, because of the textures it allows me to bring to my work.

Cutting lino blocks during Return to Make. Blocks depict a parrot and a toucan.
Cutting lino blocks during Return to Make.

3. Who are your biggest influences?

I am heavily influenced by modern artists, such as Andy Warhol, Craig Stephens and Jeff Koons. All of whom are artists that take ordinary commercial objects and transform them into art icons. I am inspired by their ability to shed new light on graphic design that we see daily, such as food labels. I find it a shame that they are often overlooked within the art world. A GCSE art project of mine consisted solely of recreating product labelling and all it’s intricate details.

The use of pop art that has been influenced by the culture of advertisements fascinates me as it is a mirror of the society at that time.

I love commercial illustrations and posters from the likes of vintage London Underground advertisements or attraction posters such as the London Zoo. I have an appreciation for dramatic composition and graphic colours – being minimal is not a talent of mine!

In my artwork, I like to experiment a lot with colours and love to show many combinations of complimentary and contrasting features. I admire the colour palettes of Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Matisse.

I have a huge appreciation for nature and have represented it in some of my artwork over the years. Works I have created recently are designed to embrace the diversity of the flora and fauna that are currently at risk due to the declining environmental situation. I am also inspired by my Brazilian heritage and want to bring awareness to the constantly rising dangers that the wonders of the Amazon face.

Editioned screen prints drying on the racks. These prints were made earlier in the course and are inspired by Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Editioned screen prints drying on the racks. These prints were made earlier in the course and are inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

4. Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated? What does your current work setup look like?

This year of 2020 has been a challenge for us all so after completing my studies and graduating during lockdown from my home, it is foggy to try and envision the near future and be motivated to create new pieces. However, during these times, optimism is the best way forward. Recently, I have had the chance to return to the LCC relief printing studio and I have found a new drive of energy to continue creating.

I have a desk set up in my living room with all my supplies, from paints to fabric. Here, I can work away surrounded by posters from exhibitions I have been to over the years. However, I find that inspiration can strike at any time of day. I have the Pocket ProCreate app on my phone to make sketches of ideas that come to mind whilst waiting for the next tube to arrive or my coffee order to be ready. Later, when I’m back at my desk I can then work on these concepts more and develop them further by resketching and painting in colour schemes.

For now, I will be putting my efforts into making as much artwork as I can to upload onto my Instagram account or sell on an Esty shop till more job opportunities open up. 

5. Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

Any free time you get, dedicate it to something brand new or something you want to learn more about. There are always areas to explore in printing and in your own process as you constantly absorb inspirations around you. Expand, learn and develop.

Don’t shy away from opportunities to bring more awareness to your work, exhaust the list.

Finally, while I unwillingly graduated during the Covid-19 pandemic, I would definitely say don’t take the university space and facilities for granted.

Linocut of lemons and limes.
Linocut of lemons and limes.

6. Where can we see more of your work?

I post weekly on my art Instagram account @cm_getscreative where I share the process behind my current projects and then reveal the final pieces.

I also have an online portfolio, which is accessible at

Featured Graduate: Shihui Yang with a step-by-step guide on how to make your own Long Stitch Binding

Shihui Yang is a book artist based in Singapore. She started her book arts journey 8 years ago when she came to London to undertake her Bachelor’s degree in Book Arts and Design at London College of Communication. Whilst in the UK, she has worked with global publishing house, Dorling Kindersley, which saw her creating professional book mock-ups for presentation at international book fairs. She also did work experience at the London Centre for Book Arts where she learned how to run a workshop and deepened her book making skills. Upon graduation, she continued to explore the different formats and structure of the book as she worked as a junior art director at an advertising firm.

Longing to take her passion full time, she started Based Book Arts Workshop – an independent creative workshop dedicated to educating book making and book arts. She has since been conducting bookbinding workshops and creating works at a quaint printmaking workshop – The Bee’s Knees Press

Since we are all spending more time at home nowadays, she has turned her Long Stitch bookbinding workshop into an online tutorial for you to download and to make your own long stitch binding without using any glue.

Image is showing a Long Stitch Binding and all materials required for making it: awl, bone folder, needle, thread, cutting knife, pencil, ruler cutting mat, eraser, scissors
Long Stitch Binding and Tools

Download tutorial here:

Before starting you might want to make yourself familiar with the terminologies of a book, which are used in this tutorial as well as create your own punching cradle by following the step-by-step guide here.

Image is showing all materials required for a Long Stitch Binding: cover paper, text paper, waste paper, awl, bone folder, needle, thread, cutting knife, pencil, ruler cutting mat, eraser
Materials for a Long Stitch Binding

Featured Graduate: Marion Bisserier

Spread of Good Girl type specimen
Offset type specimen showcasing the three styles of Good Girl.

Marion graduated from BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design (GMD) in 2019. She has a passion for type and its potential to visually convey meaning beyond the language it primarily serves. She also enjoys critical writing on typography and graphic design.

1. Tell us about yourself. Have you always been interested in art and design?

I’m a French designer who grew up in Amsterdam before I was lucky enough to move to London to pursue my design education. As a kid I was drawing loads in my free time and would get really excited whenever there was a chance to express my creativity at school.

 2.  You worked across multiple print techniques when you were at LCC. How did this influence your practice?

Being introduced to different printing techniques during my time at LCC had several significant impacts on my work. 

One of them being the ability to understand the production side of design. It’s one thing to imagine a design, but it’s whole other skill to make it come to life and stand on its own two feet. Spending time in the different printmaking facilities at LCC has allowed me to understand what each process requires and why they are worth the time and effort. Even if as a graphic designer I’m not really printing things myself now, being aware of how printers work in their respective fields and knowing what is possible but also what is not possible inevitably influences my ideas as a designer.

Another one is more directly related to letterpress, where I developed my understanding and love of typography. Even if InDesign is a great tool, when you open a document it has all of these default features of leading and tracking that you’re kind of tempted to just trust, especially as a student. When working with letterpress, there is no ‘default’ composition – you have to physically make all these decisions yourself and develop your own eye. You discover that not all typefaces are designed to look great at 10pt on 12pt leading with zero kerning. When you are designing a graphic outcome, say a book or a website, having this awareness of how much control you actually have with type alone unlocks so many ideas.

Close-up of a screen printed poster in yellow, black and silver
Detail of screen print promoting events around the image of music at the V&A.

3.  How do you stay up to date and connected in the design world?

I like to go to talks and events, especially the ones where people are relaxed about sharing work in progress or are seeking feedback from the audience like Type Thursday for instance. I find this sort of format very beneficial in the sense that it encourages conversation and makes networking much more organic.

I have also learned that connecting to the design world doesn’t necessarily mean just following famous designers on Instagram and attending their talks, but also nurturing my community of friends who just like me are still figuring their creative career out. In my group of friends from LCC, we’re all exploring a different direction in design and when we meet up, we often talk about things that didn’t go as we’d expected them to. Having that safe space to share your learning experiences with others and to feel supported when things don’t go right is super important.

4.  What does your current work setup look like?

Right now I am self-isolating in France with my family so my current set-up is essentially a desk in the living room with my sketchbook, my pencils and my laptop. Back in London, I have put up prints of people I know or whose work I love which makes me happy and some design books whenever I am tired of the screen. I also have this huge collection of paper scraps I’ve been collecting that I have yet to do something with!

Close up of letterpress printed Good Girl type specimen, black on pink paper
Detail of limited edition letterpress specimen of Good Girl.

 5. Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

Don’t overestimate the limited and precious time you have in these amazing facilities with the technicians. If you want to make something, just listen to yourself and go for it rather than trying to fit into what you perceive the industry expects of you. The right job will come sooner if you are honest with yourself.

6.  Where can we see more of your work?  

You can check out my website (which I’m always tweaking) at or my Instagram at @marionbisserier. 

I’ve recently been interviewed on It’s Nice That, AIGA and Domestika.

Featured Graduates: Giant Triplets

image of rosie and maeve screenprinting at Glastonbury festival . ©photo by Alex Kurunis
Rosie and Maeve Printing for Oxfam’s sustainability initiative at Glastonbury Festival
©photo by Alex Kurunis

Giant Triplets is the collaborative enterprise of Rosie Lee Wilson and Maeve O’Brien, who met in the screenprint workshop at LCC.  They facilitate screen printing events and workshops, travelling to festivals and sites all over the country, with sustainability at the heart of their practice.

Rosie Lee Wilson, BA Illustration and Visual Media – Artist, designer and arts facilitator

Maeve O’Brien, BA Design Management and Cultures – Arts & Textiles Worker

1.Tell us about yourselves. Have you always made art?

R: I believe everyone starts off as an artist, I was lucky enough to have parents that fostered that and empowered me to see creative endeavours as a valid path. With young people it’s really more of a question of when and why did you stop?

M:  I tend to shy away from defining myself as an artist. There’s a vulnerability about it which I’m not great at embracing, and I think goes some way to answer Rosie’s question above. Part of me thinks it’s been beneficial to avoid that definition, in that  it allows for more flexibility in the work I do with community groups. I can be a print maker, set builder, slime lord, support worker – all depending on the needs and desires specific to the community I am collaborating with at the time.

2. How did you get started in screen printing?

M: Fortuitously, I really didn’t enjoy the course I was on and it’s base camp was literally right next to the screen printing studios. So, I played truant in there pretty regularly, experimenting. My mental health was completely shot a lot of the time and found the process of screen printing cathartic in that it can be physically demanding, requiring focus, precision. You need to be present when you’re printing (given there’s a multitude of points where it can mess up) and that, in conjunction with the innate novelty of stencil making, just clicked for both Rosie and myself, I think. 

On festival sites it literally feels like we’re magical print witches; every time we do a collaborative print with people, everyone – including us still, 1000’s of prints later – is like, “What is this sorcery?!” And there’s cheering and clapping and jumping up and down with excitement.

3. Who are your biggest influences?

R: It’s interesting that this question takes me firstly to people like, Sister Corita Kent, Joe Tilson, Robert Rauscenberg, Kitaj, Ray Johnson but this also speaks to this idea of the expert or fine art absolutism. Maeve pointed out that really our biggest influences are our peers, contemporaries and extended families. I had an alternative upbringing, my parents travelled with the peace convoy and my father was in an anarcho punk band on Crass records. I think there are some very obvious parallels with what I do ideologically and aesthetically to that radical peace punk scene which is a direct consequence of that counter culture upbringing. To me it’s more of a philosophy than a product. 

M: For me there isn’t any individual that I could say is my biggest influence. I never had any formal arts training, and so feel outside of that world a lot of the time. Rosie and I connected on an ideological level first, and an aesthetic compatibility second.

We’re both stans of counterculture ephemera from the 1960’s – 1980’s, and a lot of our references are drawn trawling through physical archives like Mayday Rooms or on instagram, accounts like @radical_archive and @patientcreatures.

There’s a Novara Media podcast called #ACFM and the episode, ‘Collective Joy’, touches on the countercultural and free festival movement a bit, and has definitely served as an enduring inspiration for both of us. See Red Women’s Workshop was a big part of our conversations when we started going with Giant Triplets, as well as Atelier Populaire. Cheddar Car Boot Sale is like church for Giant Triplets.

I’m currently reading Michael Thompson’s Rubbish Theory: The Creation and Destruction of Value and can see parallels with Giant Triplets’ philosophy. We use print and design as a way to extend the life-cycles of what are often landfill destined items of clothing, and the direct hands on experience creates a lasting memory which translates something initially deemed rubbish into something of value. Having done this for a few years now it’s been so amazing to see people returning with the same t-shirt we printed with them two, three years ago to continue adding to it.

Ultimately, though, it is our peers which are the biggest driving force for us, who are usually operating in resistance to structural inequalities and are striving for positive change via their practice. It’s those everyday conversations with them that inspire us to keep moving forward with our own. 

Fat Boy Slim and artist Anthony Burrill screenprinting outside at Glastonbury festival ©photo by Alex Kurunis
Fat Boy Slim and Anthony Burrill using our alfresco press at Glastonbury Festival
©photo by Alex Kurunis

4. Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated? (and how did you get started with Giant Triplets)

M: We met in the screen printing studios, Flo and Josie – who were print technicians while we were there – arranged a print marriage of sorts which we consummated by drinking slushies and dancing to cheesy pop music at London Palace Superbowl in the top level of Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre.

R: We worked with the sustainability team from Glastonbury festival on a campaign in which people swapped an environmental pledge for a T-Shirt printed on pre-loved items. Glastonbury really sets a precedent to other festivals so after this initial project lots of others followed suit and we have now worked with some of the biggest festivals and charities. 

Our initial pitches were totally fabricated, we had the shell and the idea and just took photos of screens and squeegees in the back of a van, using our design-school knowledge to create professional looking PDFs. I had been working on festivals for some years so had an idea of the jargon, budget questions and plot requirements we would need for approval, it was truly fake it ‘til you make it.

M: Since then we’ve really tried to use screen printing as a way of creating a dialogue around sustainability and fast fashion, and try to get people to connect the dots between textile production, climate crisis and migrant justice.

R: We print anywhere and everywhere; Maeve is in the midst of setting up a community print studio in a South East London Adventure Playground and my studio (Giant Triplets festival season HQ) is in an intentional community outside of Bristol, where I live, which I make available to whoever wishes to access it.

We resist the tendency to isolate practice within institutions and expensive studios. Our practice is about skilling up, empowering people to print and igniting conversations which we hope could contribute to positive change. 

We really believe that print should be a DIY and democratic pursuit. The collective is stronger than its separate parts through sharing space, resources and tools. Doing things on a shoestring to a tight deadline in between festivals has resulted in so many happy accidents.

M: The generosity we’ve been extended in asking for help has been humbling. I mean, for example, the exposure unit dying 24 hours before a job seems like hell on earth at the time, but in hindsight it would have meant we didn’t meet the old print heads in Cheddar, or Kevin at DIY Space for London, or Jonny Akers in Bristol and listened to their stories which kind of plug us in to a grassroots history, craft, community that continues to thrive in print.

image of a screen ready to print with Greenpeace slogan, "extinction means forever" . ©photo by Alex Kurunis
A screen for our set up in the Greenpeace field at Glastonbury Festival

©photo by Alex Kurunis

5. Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

R: Don’t take the facilities for granted, it is a long and expensive journey to be in a position where you can print and make books again. For me personally, don’t try and finalise work on the computer alone, always try and bring things back into the physical. If you believe in something don’t be moved from it, intern, pick up work outside of university and make connections

M: It can be quite difficult to keep your voice central when you are trying to take on board the advice of tonnes of other people and sometimes you can lose yourself in that. So, I would say to trust your gut – it’s inevitably correct.

6. Where can we see more of your work?

Instagram: @rosieleewilson @gianttriplets @maeveforever

Featured Graduate: Izzy Smithson

Izzy in her studio at Royal College of Art, 2020.
Izzy in her studio at Royal College of Art, 2020.

This week’s Featured Graduate is Izzy Smithson. You may be thinking, hold on, I’ve seen her in the workshop this year! Izzy graduated from the BA Illustration and Visual Media in 2017, and has been working with us ever since. As a Printmaking Support Technician, she supports students across Printmaking and Screenprinting. She is frequently on duty during our popular Saturday Club sessions, and can often be found elbow-deep in ink, alongside many of our dedicated students.

Her work traverses the boundaries of installation, illustration and printmaking, layering autobiographical, found imagery, and gestural mark making on alternative, and often industrial, surfaces.

Tell us about yourself.  How did you get started in printmaking?

I have always been interested in printmaking but have never really had the time or resources to try it until studying my BA. It was at this point where I was brought up to the printmaking workshops by my tutor at the beginning of my third year. Previously I had been in the studios, but not fully dedicated to this way of working. Since the first day of being introduced, I spent every day for the rest of my third year in the printmaking workshops and have been learning and experimenting ever since.

I am an artist and printmaker from London and love to experiment with every print process and have recently been pushing to combine these with installation. I enjoy how printmaking has multiple layers and processes that can be experimented and challenged.

Photo of folded, screen printed publication 'Home', 2020.
Home, 2020 (Screen printed publication).

Who are your biggest influences?

Lubaina Himid & Amy Sillman & Mike Kelly (Educational complex) are my current influences when it comes to my recent work. Through looking at their contextual ideas and experimental ways of making work, I have taken a lot of inspiration from their materiality and focus on narratives.

My grandparents are also some of my biggest influences. Whilst visiting them as children, we would always be occupied by creating art and crafts. They would teach my brothers and I how to draw, paint and collage alongside watching them create their own paintings. Recently I have been creating a project that is based solely around the personal journey to where my grandparents’ house was. I am always interested in the interaction between humans and environments but have been able to use this experience to explore ownership of space, collective memory and journeys of loss.

Where do you make work now?

In 2018, I started my Print MA at the Royal College of Art, where I have been able to access facilities in the printmaking workshops and have a personal studio space to create a lot of work in.

In the current situation, due to COVID-19, I have been working from an office room in my boyfriend’s dads house, trying to create with what I have around me and what can be ordered in. My workspace consists of lots of stuff, as a lot of my work starts off by drawing, collaging and layering with my personal archives and this then progresses into printmaking, installation or whatever fits best.

Photo of Izzy's current set up at home, 2020.
Izzy’s current set up at home, 2020.

Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

My time at LCC was influenced heavily by the technicians and friends I made around me. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from having the technicians around me all the time, enabling me to constantly learn and be experimental. Take advantage of the vast facilities and the knowledge that they all hold, they will always be supportive and try to make your ideas come to life.

If I could go back I would say to not be precious about my work, continually experiment and push myself out of comfort zones. I always make mistakes and make work that doesn’t “work”, but I use this as key learning and motivational points.

Installation photo of 'In Uncertain Water We Are Treading', 2019.
In Uncertain Water We Are Treading, 2019.

How did you get started as a technician?  What’s it like?

I started to train to be a technician in the summer of 2017, just after graduating from LCC. I was given the opportunity to do a traineeship in the printmaking and screen printing workshops, where I gained a huge amount of experience. This then led onto helping to run workshops as part of London Design Festival at LCC, including a live drawing micro-residency. I was being asked back for multiple days to help with workshops and daily running of the studios, before gaining a regular day working as a Printmaking Support Technician, which I have continued whilst studying.

I assist with monthly public workshops at Science Museum with ScreenGrab and volunteered in 2018, for a short time, as a technician at Print Club London.

I love being a technician and find myself learning every day. Not only do I really enjoy printing, but also helping students/printers to bring their ideas to reality and enabling them to experiment and push themselves into new areas.

Installation photo of collage 'Waiting For Something To Come Bite Our Toes', 2019.
Waiting For Something To Come Bite Our Toes, 2019.

Where can we see more of your work?

Most of my work in progress can be seen on my Instagram and more “finished” work on my website.

Instagram: @izzysmithson

Selected Exhibitions Since Graduating

  • 2017 Graduate Show, London College of Communication
  • 2017 Elephant Press, London Design Festival, London
  • 2018 Print Showcase, Royal College of Art
  • 2018 Object Resurrection, Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art
  • 2018 Sustainable Futures, Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art
  • 2019 Work In Progress Show, Royal College of Art, Battersea
  • 2020 Against the Grain, Southwark Park Galleries

Featured Graduate: Natasha Howie

Natasha working at home
Natasha working at home

Natasha Howie graduated in 2018 from BA Illustration and Visual Media (IVM). She now works in event production, whilst continuing her illustration practice on the side, which encompasses printmaking, photography, and graphic design.

1.Tell us about yourself.  Have you always made art?

My interest in art started at an early age, learning alongside my older brother. His ability to capture a character through loose sketching and delicate cross hatching fascinated me. Consequently, I have always appreciated work which is both subtle yet dynamic.

In recent years I have also come to really appreciate the immediacy of reportage illustration. Learning how to capture fleeting gesture, expression and the soul of a place / people. Drawing in situ presents unexpected challenges which have provoked me to become more fearless and carefree in my practice.

3 colour screen print on paper 2018
Les Valaisans (05), screen print, 2018

2.  How did you get started in printmaking?

As illustration is now considered quite an ambiguous term, I was fortunate to work alongside a hugely eclectic group of people on my course. Practices ranged from animation, photography, print, poetry and performance. This very quickly encouraged me to explore different approaches to image making and to branch away from the traditional methods of drawing. With the slight tendency to disregard the research and development stages of creative briefs, I found myself always rushing into a final piece. Given this, I was prompted by my wonderful tutor Ima to slow down and try some printmaking. It was the first time I truly became captivated by the beauty of the process and it enabled me to discover multiple ways I could transform my hand drawn visuals. I then spent the best part of my 3 years at LCC exploring various forms of print; relief, intaglio, screen-printing, risograph and letter press.

monoprint and digital image on paper
Night Swim, monoprint / digital

3.  Who are your biggest influences?

I am really interested in Dutch and Russian poster design, in particular work by the Stenberg Brothers and H.N Werkman. I find the use of muted colours, texture and simple linear drawings a very satisfying combination.

A more contemporary artist I recently discovered was Renee Gouin. Her work consists of layered elements, typically very angular in shape and coupled with a minimal colour palette, the resulting work I find captivating.

During University I chose to explore multiple briefs working on the offset monoprint press using hand cut stencils. This method created sharp, abstracted pieces which presented very similar characteristics to the Constructivist movement. This is something I hope to continue to explore when I gain access to another print studio.

linocuts on paper hanging in a drying rack
Behind Closed Doors, linocuts drying at londonprintstudio

4.  Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated? 

After graduating, I continued to make work at LCC Print Club on Saturdays and then once I had gained a new role at londonprintstudio, I used my days off to work in the studio. I spent the majority of my time there exploring linocuts using the Beever Press. I decided to try this method of printing after being very inspired by the work of graphic designer Andrzej Klimowski who I met whilst working there.

Following my time at LPS I started to work within event production and I have since been trying to keep my illustration going as my side hustle. Under the current circumstances I have had to move back to my parents’ place in East Sussex. I have a little desk set up in my bedroom and I am using my time here to work on some commissions and continuing to build up my portfolio. This is a very peculiar time however it has presented a rare opportunity for myself to fully focus on generating some new work, albeit sometimes it is difficult sleeping and working in the same room I feel very lucky to have a space to create.  

5.  Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you to yourself, if you could travel back in time?

I would have taken up more opportunities to work on my Adobe and graphic design skills as I do believe this really helps to secure a future career.

I would have also liked to work on more collaborative briefs, such as the Elephant Café Cook Book (which came out so beautifully!). And I wish I had kept an eye out for more competitions set by industry professionals, especially as I had the opportunity to use really valuable facilities.

monoprint and digital image on paper
Mexican Night, monoprint / digital

6.  Where can we see more of your work?  

When I graduated from LCC I took part in the Topolski Artist Residency, work from our final exhibition can be viewed here:@topolskistudio

I was selected to be part of Flock 2018 Graduate Show at Art East Gallery, where I exhibited screen prints from my Les Valaisans series.

I am also in the process of updating my website, and I continue to use Instagram to document my latest work: @natashahowieillustration