J E N N I D O U G L A S

| printmaker |

I was recently introduced to the work of printmaker and pattern designer Jenni Douglas, and was immediately drawn to her collection of Edinburgh prints and linocuts. Jenni launched her business, Jenni Douglas Designs, in 2012, and her collections have expanded since to include animals and birds and woodland themes alongside abstract patterns with a midcentury feel.

Which brings me back to the Edinburgh collection. Jenni is based in the city, working from her studio in Leith – the photos in her studio were taken recently by Stewart Bremner. I caught up with Jenni to ask about the inspiration behind her work.

"I grew up right in the middle of the city’s Old Town, which some people might associate with Festival hustle and bustle, but for me it’s always felt like a very special and peaceful space in the city to explore, switch off and let my imagination play. When I was putting together my first collection, it was the only imagery I really wanted to explore – maybe subconsciously as a tribute to my childhood."

"What interests and inspires me the most about the Old Town of Edinburgh is the atmosphere and the sense of how much it means to people – not just locals like me but people from all over the world who visit and fall in love with the place. In choosing what to feature, it was more important to me to try and capture that charm and character of the place as a thing to connect to, rather than basing designs on specific buildings or streets."

"I try to make time for drawing in some shape or form every day, whether it be a sketch of something or experimenting with different types of mark making. I use photography a lot too, to capture interesting textures or patterns I see when I’m out and about."

"I almost always use lino as a way to transfer my ideas onto paper or fabric, usually as a series of individual blocks which I press by hand and arrange by eye. It’s a process that works well for me and I absolutely adore it, even when designs turn out completely differently to how I imagined!"

"I almost always work from a fairly compact palette of strong, vibrant colours such as yellow ochres, teal and cadmium red which I team up with grey or black accents. The colours have been favourites of mine for a long time (give me a red skirt and a mustard yellow jumper and I’m a happy woman), but I’m sure they refer back to prints and patterns from the 1950s."

"Once I’ve got to the point of knowing which design elements I’m going to use, things tend to move along quite quickly. For the Edinburgh collection, I decided to design a set of five buildings (I like odd numbers) which then took a few days to carve into lino and test print to make sure I was happy with how they looked next to each other and layered up. Each colourway in the series took a day to hand press – that was the most time consuming part, but also the most fun."

"I work from a lovely little studio in Leith, just a couple of miles from where I live. My workshop is housed in what used to be an old factory and the building is full of character, from big fireplaces to rather scary looking ovens! I like to get in nice and early in the morning – I’m often photographing products for my website, so I try to catch the best light first thing for that."

Studio photography by Stewart Bremner

"The next major goal I’d like to achieve is to open a shop and workshop space where I can make, sell, teach and help promote other local artists and makers."

All photos of prints by Jenni Douglas

You can see more of Jenni’s work here, and follow on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Read the full interview on Copperline

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