Artist of the Week - Melanie Wickham

Melanie's quirky lino prints are instantly recognisable and are a firm favourite in the Ginger Fig Gallery

Here is our interview with her.

Q. How would you describe your work?

A. My work consists mainly of small lino prints in black and white, covering all sorts of subject matter, but the natural world features a lot....

Q. What inspires you?

A. The best piece of advice I received was to draw what you know and I really do try to follow that, because it means that you can be constantly inspired - by small observations whilst you wash-up, strange situations that life puts you into and the familiar of your everyday life. No need to wait for a huge wave of inspiration to hit you, just look around. This source of inspiration may not be immediately obvious in all of my work, but that is what sketch books are for!.

Q. Can you describe you techniques and how you work?

A. I draw in sketch books a lot and ideas evolve there. Occasionally the appear fully formed.

 I then transfer the design onto blocks of lino and start carving. This can take some time as all the areas I want to remain 'unprinted' need to be carved away (for instance, every bit of white in my images has been cut away and some of them are very white..)

Next I roll out ink onto a glass slab, roller the ink onto the lino and print the image. I don't use a press at all, I print by hand using a boxwood burnishing tool so have good muscles but in only one shoulder. ..I can control the amount of pressure put onto the paper really well using this technique and this means I am controlling how much ink is picked up by the paper and therefore how the image looks.

Then the prints are left to dry.

Q. Tell us about where you work.

A. I work at home, with a desk for lino cutting, sketching and playing around and I use the kitchen table for printing on as it's bigger. I leave prints drying all around the house too, mainly on top of bookshelves.

Q. And finally, just for fun, what is your favourite word?

A. Discombobulated. Because sometimes it is exactly the right word to describe how you feel, even if you don't know what it means!