Meet the Maker: Ellie Way
Did you catch our March kit reveal earlier this week? We’re using an embroidery hoop to do our at home, small-scale version of screen printing!
So, to get us inspired by the process, we caught up with screen printing expert Ellie Way – the printer and designer behind her brand WAY.
The prints are really full of energy, and the colour combos and patterns are brilliantly striking. We asked Ellie all about her inspiration, process, tips and future projects in the pipeline. So without further ado…
“We were given the concept ‘ephemera’ to explore, and my interpretation of this was to use natural ephemera – flowers, petals, leaves and so on – to act as the stencils for my screen prints”
How and where were you first introduced to screen printing?
I was first introduced to screen printing on my Foundation course at Cardiff Arts Academy. We were given a little taste of all the different disciplines, but there was something about screen printing that really interested me. I think this was the first time I realised that I wanted to pursue a career in print.
Can you tell us what your first project project was like?
My first project was completely different to what I would say my style is now. Although, now I’m thinking about it, some of things I experimented with in my first project definitely inform my practice today.We were given the concept ‘ephemera’ to explore, and my interpretation of this was to use natural ephemera – flowers, petals, leaves and so on – to act as the stencils for my screen prints. The effect left was actually quite cool with the vivid backgrounds and abstract shapes left from the natural stencils. I then played around with offsetting the flowers or petals on the actual print to give another texture. So, although I would say my prints don’t have many organic shapes in them anymore, the process of this project, especially the offsetting, has definitely remained with me as a print designer and is now something I would consider to be my signature style.
“I think it is those beautiful irregularities that makes screen printing so interesting”
What do you love most about the process?
You never know what your going to get and I think this excites me, you can prepare as much as possible but no two prints are the same! I think it is those beautiful irregularities that makes screen printing so interesting and definitely makes my designs come to life.
“I love that these artists used their everyday and often mundane surroundings to create expressionist subject matter.”
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your work?
I am inspired by a lot of things, however, I find myself particularly drawn to early 20th century paintings, especially Fauvism. I love that these artists used their everyday, often mundane, surroundings to create expressionist subject matter. I like to mimic this emotive process by drawing all the visual individualisms around me, translating my surroundings into decorative compositions. If i’m working on a bespoke project, I like to draw inspiration from my clients surroundings, I suppose as a way of inviting them to feel a more personal connection to their bespoke design. I then explore these drawings through screen with playful palettes to create expressive printed textiles that can be integrated into my customers lifestyles!
What would be your advice to anyone just starting out in screen printing and printmaking?
I think having confidence is key, there is so much you can do with screen printing and having some confidence to go for it and experiment with different methods is what makes it a really great process to work with. Every designer has their own ‘look’ using screen printing and it’s about finding your own. Also, most importantly, enjoy it! My printing time is almost like therapy to me, I find it really relaxing and it always, even after 6 years of doing it, gives me a massive sense of achievement when I’ve finished a print.
“My printing time is almost like therapy to me, I find it really relaxing and it always, even after 6 years of doing it, gives me a massive sense of achievement when I’ve finished a print.”
What’s next for you, any current current or upcoming projects you’d like to share with our readers?
We’d love to thank Ellie for this fascinating insight into screen printing. We’re super inspired now to get stuck into our March printing kits. We hope you love her work as much as we do – the patterns are so fun and vibrant, aren’t they? If you want to see more from Ellie’s work you can check out her Instagram to keep up to date with her progress, new prints and products! Happy printing!
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This month’s project is to make a Stitched Shibori Tea Towel, perfect to brighten up drying the dishes!
Shibori is the Japanese art of binding or stitching an item of fabric then dyeing it to create beautiful and unusual patterns.
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