Featured IPE Artist: Helen Maxfield


Aldeburgh Boats, reduction linocut, 23 x 30cm

What was your first experience of printmaking?

I tried quite a few different printmaking methods during my Art Degree in 1998-2001, but they were mainly etching-based and they weren’t the sort of methods I could easily do at home.

What are your favourite printmaking processes, and why?

About 10 years ago I did an evening class with the print-maker Jude Lockie and fell in love with lino!  Shortly after, I had twins, which resulted in a bit of a break in my artwork.  Once my babies had started a regular nap time I gradually started working again.  Linocut soon became my main practice and has been ever since.  I feel it is a very accessible medium and so I can work at home, rather than have to go to a print workshop.  I also love the look of linocuts.  They have a particular quality and I feel the character of the artist can be seen through the cutting marks.

What inspires you as an artist?

I find the process of linocut is what inspires me the most in my work.  What I choose to depict in my prints changes over time, but the process of linocut is constant.  Up until now a lot of my work has been landscapes of places I have sketched.  A am very lucky to live in Suffolk; the East Anglian countryside has a lot to offer an artist by way of inspiration.  I am also interested in depicting animals and buildings and recently I have become interested in story telling, illustration and narrative pieces.

How would you describe your creative process?

I love taking one of my sketches or photos and using the marks I can make with lino to develop designs.  I do both colour prints and black and white.  Black and white designs have a bold, graphic quality where I enjoy the mark-making potential of the medium.  Coloured designs are created using the ‘reduction method’ where each colour is printed one at a time and further lino is carved away in between printing.

What’s the best thing about being a printmaker?

I love that feeling when I peel away the paper from the lino and see the result of all the hours of cutting!

St Peter and St Paul’s Church Lavenham, reduction linocut, 30 x 25cm

Tell us about your studio…

Thankfully we have room in our kitchen to eat meals, so I have taken over the dining room! I have what is officially the dining room table in the middle which is big enough for my printing press, drawing, cutting and all the admin work that has to be done for exhibitions etc.  I have a plan chest for paper, mount board, greetings cards and another cupboard for sketchbooks and finished work.

What are you working on at present?

I am currently working on a range of Nursery Rhyme illustrations, some of which involve text.

What prompted you to take part in the International Print Exchange?

I took part in the IPE in 2015 and 2016.  I like the idea of my prints being sent all over the world and I really like receiving the selection of prints from other artists from around the world too!

What was your inspiration for your IPE print this year?

I have only recently started the theme of Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales.  I am still working out how I want my ‘people’ to look in my prints and I thought I would try a small figure on a small print.  I was pleased with how it turned out, so I thought I would share it!

Orwell Bridge, reduction linocut, 32 x 19.5cm

Favourite subject matter?

Pattern, water, trees, skies, text

Favourite printmaking paper?


Favourite ink?

Lawrence linseed oil based

Favourite colour?

Yellow-ochre, blues, greens, grey, black

Favourite printmaker / artist?

Ian Phillips



Email address: helenmaxfield@hotmail.co.uk
Website: http://www.helenmaxfield.com/

Twitter: @HelenMaxfield

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HelenMaxfieldPrintmaking

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