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Meet the Maker: Turid Monteith

Thursday, November 01, 2018

I'm Turid, I live in West Sussex. I'm a mum of three teenagers and owner of two cats and a nutty spaniel called Peggy. I was a teacher then children’s counsellor, but gave that up a few years ago, and took the plunge with setting up a small business. Now I’m lucky enough to balance family life, and a part-time job, with working from home drawing, designing and printing fabric, and hand making linen products.


Describe your printmaking process.

I’m a lover of pattern in nature and take lots of photos as I walk. So I generally start with a photo (normally something botanical), which I then sketch in pencil, and then once I’m happy with it I draw over in ink. I scan this into my computer and do final adjustments in photoshop, and eventually print it out on acetate. I coat a screen with photosensitive emulsion and once dry, expose the image (I simply use a 500W lamp with the glass removed) - I wash the screen off and, assuming all is well, then it’s ready to print.


How and where did you learn to print 

I've always been interested in lots of different forms of printmaking but only had a go at screen printing a few years ago - I was given a gift from my husband of a short course at Inkspot Press in Brighton, with Jane Sampson. I instantly loved it, and have been playing around with it ever since!


Why printmaking? 

It’s a lot of fun! I love that with screen printing you can print detail. I worked with stencils initially but was a bit frustrated by it, and found that once I could in effect print my ink drawings I enjoyed it all the more. I’m excited at the prospect of learning loads of new techniques. I’m just at the start but raring to go!


Where do you work?

I’m very lucky to have a studio in my garden where I work. It’s insulated but gets seriously chilly in the winter, so I tend to migrate to my kitchen when it's cold for the designing and sewing process, and just soldier on in the cold for the printing part! I expose the screens in a makeshift darkroom that is my daughter’s bedroom (she is now at university, and it's the smallest and darkest room in the house!) and my poor utility room is where I coat and clean the screens (lots of evidence of this on the floor!).


Describe a typical day in your studio.

The only typical bit to my day is that I always go for an early dog walk, and make myself coffee and toast on my return. I have weeks when I'm designing and screen creating - this can be a rather slow process as it's often that it's not til the screen is made and the first print produced that I know if I'm happy with the design, so it may mean going back to the sketch and redrawing it and starting the whole process again. I am still learning about what mesh count is best with what design and also with what fabric. Some of the finer detailed designs don’t print so well on the linen as the weave is too coarse.. so I’m experimenting all the time. I have days when I'm mainly washing, drying, cutting or printing the fabric, heat setting the prints, sewing the products, creating lampshades, or any combination of the above!

I'm largely self-taught, and so I'm still very much learning as I go along, so I’m often trying things out and making mistakes and trying again, so things tend to develop rather slowly, but it’s very satisfying when things go well…

How long have you been printmaking?

I only began screen printing a few of years ago, and feel really excited about all I have still to learn. At the moment I mainly print simple monochrome designs, but I'm keen to start introducing more colour and layers.

What inspires you?

I guess I’m mainly influenced by nature…Living at the foot of the South Downs, I'm surrounded by trees, fields and hills - it's very inspiring and it would be impossible not to be influenced by it! However, I’ve also spent a lot of time in Norway (my mum's Norwegian) - and I think you can't fail to be influenced by Scandinavian style and design when you spend lots of time there.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I think my favourite product at the moment isn’t strictly a printmaking product, but it is very important in the fabric printing process… it’s my heat press. Before I got it, I spent so long neurotically ironing every print for far longer than was probably necessary, for fear of it vanishing in its first wash... I can relax a little more now that I'm confident it will remain!


What have you made that you are most proud of?

I think this will be my Norwegian Forest design, simply because it was the first design that I printed on to fabric, created a cushion from, and was confident enough to sell!


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

I sell in Lewes at the monthly Saturday craft market, and on my Etsy shop (kviladesign.etsy.com). I also sell in the local Artist Open Studios and will be at a number of Winter and Christmas markets in Sussex. My website will be launched in the near future (www.kviladesign.com ).

What will we be seeing from you next?

I’ve recently started printing fabric for lampshades, and I’m really excited about some new bold designs, these will be ready in time for Christmas!

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Print what makes you happy!

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