I live in a Victorian house in Edinburgh. It was built in 1897, at the end of a terrace in pale sandstone with a small walled garden at the back. Beyond our garden walls is an area of woodland inhabited by woodpeckers, owls and foxes. From the top floor I can see the Pentland Hills beyond. It’s the perfect mix of urban and rural living.
While I love the clarity and restraint of a minimalist interior, I’m definitely a maximalist – there’s no fighting it. I collect a lot of prints, paintings and old ceramics. I’m always on the lookout for natural finds on my walks; they pile up on shelves and window sills, many of which will work their way into my prints and paintings.
The colour palette at home is very similar to the shades I seem to use in my work. Generally, there is a muted quality to the wall and floor colours, echoing the dried seedheads found in pots and glass jars throughout the house. They create a scheme of chalky fawn, rusty red and brown. We’ll often use a French grey for the walls, which works well with the framed prints and paintings and lets their stronger colours glow. In a first-floor room, the grey walls are paired with a yellow-painted fire surround and a bright red Marianna Kennedy mirror. The downstairs sitting room has the original unpainted wooden shutters and floorboards, and we’ve painted the walls a soft greyish blue-green, which brings out the warmth in the wood.
The oldest piece in my home is the Albion printing press that I use most days to print my wood engravings and linocuts. It would have been made at the end of the 19th or start of the 20th century. It’s made of cast iron with a wooden handle polished smooth by years of printmaking.
The west coast of Scotland and the Western Isles are wonderful places for sketching and walking. This is where I’ll record the native wildflowers and lichens I come across while exploring the mountainous landscapes and shorelines. It is so quiet that there is a timeless quality to walking on the beaches there.
Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden have been big influences as artist-designers, along with other artists that have also worked on design or illustration projects such as Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, John Piper and Alan Reynolds.
The design I’m most proud of often changes but, at the moment, Clover, my most recent textile and wallpaper design for St Jude’s, is my favourite. I’m still happy with my first fabrics, Dandelion One and Two, as these were the designs that helped to get the company underway.
Probably being asked to curate ‘A Printmaker’s Journey’ for Hampshire Cultural Trust in 2017 has been my career highlight. It was an exciting opportunity to select works that have inspired me and exhibit them alongside prints and paintings made throughout my career. Works kindly loaned included an Alan Reynolds painting that I saw on my first visit to the Tate aged 16, textiles from the V&A by
Enid Marx and Ashley Havinden and a sculpture and print by Paul Morrison.