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Meet the Maker: Pragya Agarwal

Thursday, May 04, 2017

I’m Pragya, an architect, designer, linocut printmaker, and now the creative force behind Hedge and Hog Prints. After working in academia for several years, I was inspired to create something caring, as well as socially and environmentally aware. As a Mum to three girls, I am passionate about creating beauty in our lives through my designs, while also creating products that inspire them and others to think, dream and smile.


How and where did you learn to print?

I am trained as an Architect and have always drawn and painted since I was little. I also tried monoprinting while at college, and dabbled with collagraph. I did a one day course just before Christmas in 2015 in linocut printmaking and was immediately hooked. I am largely a self-taught printmaker, and have learnt a lot through experimentation and trialing different tools and techniques.

Why printing?

I haven't thought about this but, on reflection, I would say that it is a combination of a few different things. The actual physicality of the process is very satisfying and also very calming. The act of carving is therapeutic and mindful in itself. A slight lapse in attention can change the character of the piece and also cause some injuries, so one has to completely focus on the task on hand! Also, I love how a variation in pressure and mark-making can alter the texture and nature of the final print. I love the graphical nature of lino printing and how a single colour can be used in many interesting ways.


Where do you work?

I work from my home studio which we converted from our garage a couple of years ago. A lot of my making also happens from the kitchen table (and any other free surface in the house really!).

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I used to print all the time, at odd hours of night and first thing in the morning before breakfast. Since my twins were born last year, any routine has completely gone out of the window, especially as they've had numerous health-problems and are very poor sleepers. So there isn't a typical day right now. I try and sketch and conceptualise a lot while I can during the day, and often print in the studio late at night once they are asleep. It is also tricky to work with inks and paints during the day and although I work with environmentally friendly products as much as I can, I am wary of ink-stained clothes and hands while carrying the babies. I also have a full-time academic job right now, so have to fit any printmaking around it.


How long have you been printmaking?

I only started printmaking at the end of 2015, but last year was a hugely productive year for me, and I created many interesting prints.

What inspires you?

I grew up in India, and traveled widely, and my experiences and travels have influenced my art and designs. I now live near the sea with my Scottish husband, my three girls, my dog and my cat, and work from my home studio. Often my designs have Scottish motifs and landscapes, my pets feature widely in my linocut prints, and I love creating art prints for children’s rooms. My designs also reflect my love for the British sense of humour, the quirky and whimsical in language, celebrating local slang, literature and places around us.

Both classical and modern art and architecture is a huge source of inspiration.


What products do you use? What product/tool could you not be without?

I love my Pfeil carving tools and couldn't work without them. I also use Caligo inks, and although I've tried many others, I keep returning back to them. It is also more environmentally friendly which resonates with the sustainable and eco-friendly ethos of my brand.


What have you made that you are most proud of?

There are several, from the very first print that I made of Belle on windowsill to a more recent 'Surf's Up'. I was pleased with the way I was able to create movement and sense of freedom in this print, and also because I used my tool as a pencil and drew while I carved based on a very loose idea at the start. This is something that I am experimenting with more in my work, and trying to bring more spontaneity in my designs, rather than starting from a rigid sketch or photograph. I feel that it is more natural, and allows me to explore the potential of lino printing to its maximum.


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

I sell with Artfinder and most of my prints are on there. I have also recently set up my own website which also has my other illustrations on it as well as some of my linocuts which I am still populating. I also take personal commissions via my website or through my Facebook page.


What will we be seeing from you next?

This year should be exciting, once my twins are in nursery, and I have really interesting ideas that I am itching to get started on. I have recently created some very comprehensive printmaking kits with extensive instruction booklets and tips and troubleshooting included that is an essence of all my experience of trialing and experimenting and things that I wish I knew when it started. All tools and materials are included as well as design templates so all you have to do is to open the box, and start! I am releasing many new designs, and so that is something I am very excited about. I have also have started a Print Club which is a 'mini print of the month' subscription service for those who are keen to start or add to a linocut collection. There are

3 and 6 month packages and also gift cards available. Have a look at my website on hedgeandhogprints.com.

I also have dates and packages for printmaking workshops available in my home studio now, with the possibility to design a day around your needs, whether individual or as a group session. Plenty of tea and cake included!


Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

As creatives, we often doubt ourselves, and are reluctant to put anything out there unless we think that it is perfect. I think it is important to create for the joy of it, and if it makes you happy, it doesn't have to be perfect. Don't force yourself to be creative, as it is not easy to be original and interesting all of the time. Use playfulness and doodling to be inspired and generate new ideas for yourself. I know that there is a lot of advice on using Pinterest as inspiration but I am always wary of that. Try and find what inspires you in everyday life, and find something that is meaningful to you. I would also advise strongly to think about plagiarism and copying, as this is something that more creatives should be aware of. Be careful that you do not do this even unknowingly, and read any trademark and infringement laws carefully. But most importantly, enjoy the process, and not just the final result.

For more of Pragya's work, see her website, Facebook page and Instagram. You can also see more work on Artfinder or sign up to Pragya's Newsletter. Get 15% off your first purchase on the website. Plus, use the code HEDGE&HOG10 for a discount on the website's featured collection until the end of May 2017! 

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