Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Artist Feature: The Wonderful work of Jane Ormes

I am delighted to be able to interview and feature the very talented and accomplished Bristol based printmaker Jane Ormes. I love her colourful and stylized Gocco prints and the way that she keeps coming up with new and original designs. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and put aside 10 minutes of your day to read this lovely interview with Jane. Her honest, detailed and witty answers make it clear why her work is in high demand and why she is such an inspiration to other creatives.. 

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)? 

1.After doing an art foundation course, I went on to study Surface Pattern design at college. I've been self employed since 1987 (gulp) when I graduated and I've been lucky to have had work pretty much constantly. I had a few breaks when I had my children and once they were both at school I moved into a shared studio space. I rediscovered screenprinting about 8 years ago and haven't looked back since!

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

Because screenprinting is a process, it's only really the first part, the designing, that is the creative bit. Once you've decided on how your print will look you then go on to make all your separate stencils for each layer of the print. I love mark making and creating textures along side using very flat areas of colour. I have a giant pin board in front of my desk with things I've collected or found that inspire me. My initial ideas are worked into collages which I then separate out to get ready for the printing process. The images are exposed onto a fine meshed screen using a light sensitive emulsion. Each colour is printed separately by pushing the ink through the tiny holes in the mesh with a squeegee.

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)? 

Being brave! It is a real discipline to keep your work fresh and full of energy and I think this can only be achieved by experimenting all the time. Learning to create the work from your heart and not to do what is expected of you is also something that I must remind myself from time to time.
More and more I realise that not being brilliant at Photoshop is an obstacle! I still make all my stencils by hand, and don't design anything digitally. I am a dinosaur!!

Keeping things fresh and new with hand printed stationery

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

Anything can inspire me but I do love vintage children's books from the late 50s and 60s that were printed in a few colours and have amazing compositions. I buy lots of interiors magazines which are a great source of info and ideas and also useful for picking up on trends etc ( although I'm a great believer in ignoring all of that!)A colour can inspire me, or a children's drawing, but more than likely it will be a phrase or sentence that makes me laugh. I've got an idea at the moment based on the title 'Still life with mice making off with an orange'. It may never get printed but it's written in my little book of phrases.

'Peacock a gogo in blue'

5. What has been the icing on the cake for you as a artist/designer?
I've been very lucky to have had some lovely commissions. Illustrating the packaging for Marks and Spencers Easter confectionary was very satisfying. I got such a thrill seeing rows and rows of it in the their stores. I have a print in Ikea which I'm very pleased about and I have a few projects this year that are very exciting. I've worked with an interior designer for a couple of Tv shows and it's funny seeing my work in that context, but very pleasing too. The Queen once had one of my Christmas cards on her desk during her Christmas speech. But I'm modest so I shouldn't really mention that!!! My next goal is to feature in some interiors magazines. Then I'll be happy.

'Peahens a laying'

6. Who do you admire (other artists/designers; other people generally) and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

There are so many designers/printmakers out there that I admire. Charlie Harper is an obvious one, and Alexander Girard. I collect Brian Wildsmith's beautiful children's books and I love his use of texture, colour and composition. Saul Bass, David Weidman and Ronald Searle I also feel inspired by. Bristol has many great printmakers and amongst them are Chitra Merchant, Anna Marrow, Charlotte Farmer and Simon Tozer. I love all of their work. I'd be a fool not to mention Orla Kiely. That woman will bankrupt me.

'Chirp and Tweet' 

'Plum Love love me do'

7. Describe your creative space

My creative space in one word. A mess. Paper everywhere. Gluesticks lying around with no lids. Chaos! I'd like to think that this is because, at present, I'm working in a room that is far too small. When you're working on prints that are A1 size you need at least 3 times that space to lay out your artwork. It's very important to start the day with a clean and tidy space (and I try and make sure that happens most of the time). I'm about to move into our loft space which is very bright and airy and big! So I can have all my plan chests in one place, an office space too for admin and a tea making area.With a massive biscuit jar. Obviously. Spike print studio in Bristol where I create my work, is fantastic. There are 6 screenprinting beds, wash out room, exposure lamp and clean areas for designing in. And more importantly there are other people!!!

8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? 

Don't sweat the small stuff and don't keep glue in your handbag.

One of my favourite of Jane's designs is this 'Lost in Kew' print which hangs in my studio. Below you can see my cat Poppy enjoying it!

You can keep up to date with Jane's work here...

(all above images are © Jane Ormes)