Meet the Maker: Kerry Day
Printmaker Kerry Day originally trained in ceramics but practicalities and the need for kiln space made life as a potter difficult. She discovered the potential of printmaking at evening classes when she was looking for something positive to distract her from illness. Evening classes led to a print club membership, which then led to her own studio in Bristol and her own printing press. Fellow designer Carole Fenwick from MaggieMagoo Designs spoke to Kerry about her work and their shared obsession with houseplants, cacti and succulents…
Seeing what the other printmakers were doing with lino, led me to look at it more closely. After my MA, I began using lino as my preferred printing medium and I haven’t looked back since.
I believe you began your creative career in ceramics. What prompted you to begin printmaking and at what point did this happen?
Yes, I began my artistic career in ceramics. I did a ceramic degree at Bath Spa University College in the 1990s but the course didn’t prepare you for life as a potter after uni, and it was very difficult to find studio spaces that would allow kilns. During my degree there were opportunities to try different supporting subjects including printmaking, but to be honest it wasn’t very inspiring. After university and during a time of illness I went to some evening classes to keep myself from going insane. I did all sorts: pottery and drawing, then a printmaking course that covered all methods and that’s how I really got into printmaking.
After the printmaking course I joined Spike Print Studio, an open-access print studio in the south of Bristol. Being at Spike Studios was a great way of refining my skills, before investing in my own press and set-up. Initially I was mainly etching and screen printing, but seeing what the other printmakers were doing with lino led me to look at it more closely. After my MA I began using lino as my preferred printing medium and I haven’t looked back since.
The thing that inspires me is plants. Some people would say I have too many but I say you can never have enough.
I’ve visited Bristol a few times and found it to be a very creative city with a supportive artistic community. Are you involved in any of the independent studios or shops in Bristol?
I now have a studio space in Hamilton House in Bristol, which is a multi-use community centre in the heart of the city. It’s home to over 200 creative and community-led businesses and it’s a great and inspiring place to work. I do all my printmaking there. We have our own shop on the premises too, which is my only shop outlet in Bristol. I mainly sell through events and art trails such as the popular North Bristol Art Trail in November. I also have work at the Craft Centre Leeds and The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle, as well as my Folksy shop.
I have loads of plants all over my studio and home, from extremely spiky cacti to architecturally shaped leafy plants.
What’s a typical day like – or is there no such thing?
I don’t really have a typical day. It really depends on what time of year it is or if I have any events to prepare for. So apart from the designing and making my linocuts, I may have classes to prepare for, admin for exhibitions and events or I might be posting off sales.
How did you get into teaching printmaking and is this something you enjoy?
I began teaching in 2009. I was asked by Spike Print Studio if I would be interested in teaching an evening lino printing course and I now teach weekly classes with Bristol Folk House. I love seeing complete beginners grow in their ability to design and create lino prints.
I’ve recently got back into pottery and I’m looking into ways I can combine lino printing and ceramics.
You describe yourself as a mixed media artist. What other disciplines do you like to use? Are there any other mediums you’d like to explore?
My problem is that I get bored doing one thing, so I like to draw, paint, knit and sew too. I’ve recently got back into pottery and I’m looking into ways I can combine lino printing and ceramics. I’ve made a few items that I’m pleased with and happy enough to try them out on the public to see if they feel the same way. I’ve dabbled in silversmithing in the past too and it’s definitely something I’d like to do more of in the future.
My problem is that I get bored doing one thing, so I like to draw, paint, knit and sew too.
I spotted your work earlier this year at the Hepworth Print Fair and loved it (I too am plant obsessed). Do you find selling comes easily or would you rather just create for the love of art?
I find it easier now than I use to but that’s come with experience. The more events you do, the more you find out what works and what doesn’t. In an ideal world I would just spend all my time creating my art and it would sell with no effort from me! Having said that though, it is really nice chatting and getting to know your customers and fellow traders at events too.
Who or what inspires you?
The person who most inspires me would have to be David Hockney. I love the bold colourful marks he makes. What inspires me is plants. Some people would say I have too many but I say you can never have enough. I have loads all over my studio and home, from extremely spiky cacti to architecturally shaped leafy plants.
How long have you been working as a professional artist? What advice would you give to artists and designers just beginning their careers?
I’ve been doing my art full time for 11 years now. At the beginning it was easy to feel disheartened when things weren’t selling well, especially when you’ve spent hours and hours creating your masterpiece. Now I realise not everyone is going to like what you do or even understand it, and that’s OK because your right customer is out there just waiting to find you. So I guess my advice is to keep going and keep enjoying making your masterpieces.
What do you enjoy most about being an independent artist?
Being able to be creative everyday and having the freedom to work my own hours.
Not everyone is going to like what you do or even understand it, and that’s OK because your right customer is out there just waiting to find you.
What’s next for your work?
I’m currently working on a series of still-life lino prints that combine my love of plants with my love of stripy and spotty mugs.
Use the discount code DAY2017 before 14th October 2017 to receive 10% off all prints and products by Kerry Day.
Meet the interviewer
The maker asking printmaker Kerry Day the questions is Carole from MaggieMagoo Designs. Carole is a professional greetings card designer who works for Hallmark cards but set up her own creative business MaggieMagoo Designs to indulge her love of mid-century Modern and Scandinavian style. She is also an extremely talented stitch artist creating gorgeous contemporary embroideries and modern hoop art.