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Meet the Maker: Mirta Tyrrell

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Modern Botanics has an aesthetic that we can't get enough of here at Handprinted. Meet the maker behind the lovely prints: Mirta Tyrrell. Her story is truly inspirational. 

 

I'm Mirta, I'm an illustrator, print-maker and maker and I live on the banks of Lake Como (Italy) in a tiny village. I'm nearly 40 years old and I changed my life recently moving from a big city and starting over.

Describe your process.

I do quite a lot of sketching for my art prints. I'm mainly inspired by natural little things like wild flowers or shapes I find in nature. I walk a lot and during those walks I pick up lots of things (stones, driftwood, flowers, leaves, seeds and more) and then I draw them as whole or partially once I get to my studio. When I work with textiles instead I'm planning less and experimenting more. Most of my patterns on linen and cotton are a bit more abstract.


How and where did you learn to print?

I created my little brand Modern Botanics a few years ago when I lost my job and I wanted to use the time at my hands in a good way. I started taking as many courses I could in different printmaking techniques and illustration. I've discovered printmaking from one of my teachers in an illustration course and fell in love. Especially with linocut and block printing.

Why printmaking?

I love I can reproduce something but at the same time each piece is unique. I love the fact that there are endless possibilities within it.


Where do you work?

I work mainly in my studio, it's a room in my home. When I moved here last spring the studio was the first room I worked on. I need a space to keep all my tools and where I could find myself at home. I'm really happy how it turned out, even if I could do with more space. When it's warmer I sketch outside sitting on the banks of the lake or on the beach.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I don't really have a typical day. It depends if I'm working on something new or filling orders, and what season is. I prefer to work on new stuff early in the morning. In summer I work more in the evenings when is cooler. Something typical is folk music or a podcast in the background and a huge mug of coffee on the desk. When I print fabric or I'm carving a new illustration I can spend ours in the studio without noticing the time going by. I often forget to have lunch!


How long have you been printmaking?

I think it's around 4 years now. I started with screen-printing before falling in love with block printing.

What inspires you?

The little things. The shapes, patterns and prints I see in nature. My work is very botanical based, but not all of it it's immediately recognized as such. I like to play with it and make things a bit more abstract and geometric sometimes. I'm also inspired by Japanese minimalist take on shapes, I like clean lines and love using only a few colours.


What is your favourite printmaking product?

Linoleum without any doubts. I love it. I love sitting down for hours and carve it. I especially love the light grey version I found recently. It's great to draw on it and it carves beautifully. I also have a favorite tool, a small carving tool with the wooden handle made in Switzerland.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

Difficult question. Maybe my first block printed linen piece, an indigo blue scarf with black and copper pattern. I'm not sure, there are certain things I get quite attached to, they have sentimental value because they take so long to be made.


Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I have an online shop and recently I've started to sell to independent shops (brick and mortars and online ones). I would love to sell in galleries.

What will we be seeing from Modern Botanics next?

I'm planning a full range of home textiles and a capsule of handmade block printed clothes for next summer. In the art print section of my work I've just started working on bigger and more complex designs for my prints.


Do you have any advice for other printmakers, designers and creatives?

Find your voice. Work hard. Become part of a community and support other makers. Never stop learning and experimenting and have fun!

 

To find out more about Mirta visit Modern Botanics or Mirta's shop, Instagram or Twitter.  

 

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