Meet the Maker – Rose and Hen
Carrie Lyall from Rose and Hen is a printmaker based in Stamford Bridge, with historic York on one side and the rolling beauty of The Wolds on the other. Carrie creates simple, delicate limited-edition linocuts that celebrate the beauty of the British countryside, and the birds and insects that share her corner of Yorkshire. Here, she talks to fellow artist Kayleigh Radcliffe about how she found lino printing, her creative process and why summer is her favourite season.
To celebrate being our featured maker, Carrie is offering 15% off everything in her Folksy shop until 2nd August 2020 – just add the code SHOPLOCAL when you check out > https://folksy.com/shops/RoseandHen
It can take hours or even days to carve a design, depending on how complicated it might be. But it’s all worth it once you get to the printing stage and peel back the paper to reveal the finished print.Carrie Lyall, Rose and Hen
Hi Carrie! It’s been really lovely to look at your work. Your linocuts are gorgeous. Could you tell us how you originally got into printmaking? Did you study it or are you self taught?
Thank you so much, it’s lovely to meet you, Kayleigh. I came to linocut with little knowledge about it really, and am very much self taught. Most people will remember doing linocut at school, but I don’t think I ever did. I was always a very creative person and art was my favourite subject, leading me to study graphic design at A level and then 3D design at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle. After I graduated in 2001 I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and eventually became an event manager. It wasn’t until 15 years later, when my mum gave me a beginner’s linocut set, that my interest in art was rekindled.
My first attempts weren’t very good, but I really enjoyed it and quickly got better, so I looked for ways to improve my technique. I saw that the York Printmakers met once a month in a local pub, so I popped along to see what it was all about. I joined as a member about six months later and have exhibited with them many times since. It’s so nice to be part of a group of creatives who can share their experience and advise you on different techniques.
I am constantly learning and experimenting, which is something I think is most important with a craft of any kind, as there is always something new to learn and ways to improve how you work.
I’m constantly learning and experimenting, which is something I think is most important with a craft of any kind… there is always something new to learn.Carrie Lyall, Rose and Hen
What’s your most enjoyable part of creating a linocut? Is it the printing itself or maybe a part of the process that comes before this?
The most enjoyable part of the process for me is the carving, as it’s the most relaxing part of printmaking. Just you, the lino, your tools and some music to keep you company. I can get lost in hours of mark making, and it’s so much fun to see the design take shape with each cut you make.
It can take several hours or even days to carve a design, depending on how complicated it might be. But it’s all worth it once you get to the printing stage and peel back the paper to reveal the finished print. It’s so satisfying to see your designs come to life.
I read that you like to collect objects on your walks and take photographs of things of interest. My eyes were drawn to your bumblebees – I adore that they were inspired by a bee you encountered at a market! Can you tell us more about this?
Ah yes, the little furry bee who came to visit me and view my collection. I am an avid photographer and collector of interesting things. Always lagging behind on walks, taking photos of a flower I’ve spotted in a hedgerow or something. So when I spied this little bee crawling around, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use it for inspiration, before helping it back into the gardens from whence it came.
I was at the York River Art Market at the time, which is an outdoor art exhibition where the artists hang their collections on the railings of the Museum Gardens beside the river, much like they do in Paris. It has a very bohemian vibe, and there are all sorts of different arts and crafts on display. I’ve always been very lucky when I’ve displayed here, as it’s usually been a beautiful sunny day, and this particular day was glorious, sitting in the dappled shade of the trees and chatting to customers.
Later on, I decided to draw some ideas for a design based on this bee, looking at it from different angles and creating a pattern. It puts me in mind of the patterns in nature, from the patterns of the honeycombs inside the beehives, to the waggle dance they do to show where they have found the best nectar. I wanted it to be as natural as possible, so it is printed on handmade lokta paper, which has long fibres that are visible in the final print. It is one of my favourite papers to use for printmaking.
Is there a particular season that you find most inspiring?
Summer is my favourite season and inspires me the most, as there is so much going on. Everything is growing, and the birds and insects are in abundance. The countryside is green and lush or golden with crops ripening ready to harvest as the season changes. Winter has its own beauty, of course, with plants crystalised in frost or weighed down with blankets of snow. But to sit in your garden or walk down country lanes drinking in the sounds, smells and sights of summer, seems to lift the heart and inspire the mind.
Summer is my favourite season and inspires me the most, as there is so much going on. Everything is growing, and the birds and insects are in abundance.Carrie Lyall, Rose and Hen
There’s a little vintage vibe going on with some of your linocuts, I love it. It makes me think of the 1940s and 1950s. Is there a particular era that influences your work?
I do love vintage and am a massive fan of 1940s and 50s fashion and films, even storing and transporting my prints in vintage suitcases, which I can use for display as well. I grew up watching films with the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Gene Kelly and James Stewart, my favourites being Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Rebecca (which is also one of my favourite books). I’ve always loved the travel posters of that era too and, being from York, I can see many of them at the National Railway Museum.
Another artist who has had a profound effect on me is William Morris, whose hand printed botanical wallpapers are just stunning. I saw an episode of George Clarke’s Old House New Home, where he visited the William Morris Wallpaper company and printed up some paper. It was fascinating, and I was secretly very jealous.
Do you have a favourite colour, or colour scheme, that you like to work with?
I’m building quite a collection of oil-based inks from Hawthorn Printmakers. They are a local family-run company based just 10 minutes from my house, so it’s always great to pop in and see what colours they have available. It’s like being in a sweet shop, with all the lovely pots of colourful ink in rows on the shelves. I always have a lovely chat with Barry and Michael, and love to see what new colours they are working on. When I’m creating a design I usually have an idea in my head of the colours I’m going to use. Some are dictated by the subject, particularly if it’s a landscape, but others are purely down to my own preference.
When I’m creating a design I usually have an idea in my head of the colours I’m going to use. Some are dictated by the subject, but others are purely down to my own preference… I tend to lean towards greens and blues just now.Carrie Lyall, Rose and Hen
I tend to lean towards greens and blues just now, but I also use the extra dense black quite a lot when I want a strong look for a particular design. The chartreuse green and bright lime green are probably my favourites. The chartreuse is so earthy, and is really good for landscapes and foliage, whereas the bright lime green is so fresh and summery. The best thing about Hawthorn inks is that they don’t skin over, leaving you to pick out bits from your ink, and they are also easy to clean up without using harsh chemicals.
Can you describe your typical working day?
For me, I don’t think there is such a thing as a typical working day, and this has more to do with time than anything else. I currently work two days a week on my creative business, so I try to keep my working day as flexible as possible, to enable me to work on various projects at any given time. One day I could be carving out designs, and the next I could be preparing for an exhibition or market. My favourite days are always printing days, as there is such a ritual to it – from the way I lay out my table so that everything is within easy reach, to the sound the ink makes when you roll it out on the inking slab.
My favourite days are always printing days, as there is such a ritual to it – from the way I lay out my table so that everything is within easy reach, to the sound the ink makes when you roll it out on the inking slab.Carrie Lyall, Rose and Hen
I will usually spend the morning printing, before clearing up and having a short break for lunch, then moving on to something different in the afternoon. I only print up to 10 editions in a print run, to ensure I have space to dry and store them. My edition sizes are usually 60 prints in a series and some are variable editions, which means that there are differences in the paper or colours I have used within the print run.
I notice that you have children. How do you juggle your home life alongside your work? Do you have any tips for others out there who are in a similar position?
It is hard running a business when you have little kids, but the older they get, the easier it gets. I have two kids, Henry aged four and Evie Rose aged eight, and I started Rose & Hen three years ago. The name of my shop is actually based on an amalgamation of their names, as Henry was given the nickname ‘Little Hen’ by Evie when he was a baby, and it seems to have stuck.
In the beginning, I was working one day a week while Hen was with Nanny and Grandpa. As the kids have grown older I now have a bit more time for my business, and soon they will both be at school full time. It’s always a juggling act, but my friends and family have been very supportive by providing childcare, play dates, driving me to and from events, and even building stands for me. I don’t think I would be able to do this without their support.
Are there any particular artists, crafters or illustrators whose work you admire?
I tend to gravitate towards printmakers and have always loved Laura Boswell and Rebecca Vincent’s works. They are both phenomenal artists and landscape printmakers, although both use very different techniques to achieve their amazing prints. I also love the detailed wood engravings of Molly Lemon Art, who I met through Just a Card, and Lorna Gilbert’s seascape ceramics are just beautiful.
I love what I do… and by sharing my passion for printmaking, I hope to inspire others to have a go at what they feel passionate about.Carrie Lyall, Rose and Hen
What do you find most enjoyable about running your own creative business?
The most enjoyable thing about running my own creative business is setting my own hours around my family, and seeing it evolve and grow as I learn. I love what I do, and when I am at a market speaking to customers about my designs, or talking them through the printmaking process, my love of printmaking shines through. By sharing my passion for printmaking, I hope to inspire others to have a go at what they feel passionate about.
Use code SHOPLOCAL for 15% off all prints and products by Rose and Hen until 2nd August 2020.
Meet the interviewer
The maker asking the questions this week is Kayleigh Radcliffe. Visit Kayleigh’s Folksy shop here and read our interview with here here – https://blog.folksy.com/2020/07/06/kayleigh-radcliffe