In the second of my series aiming to highlight up and coming linocut talent, I spoke to printer Amanda Angus, who trades (very well thank you) as PandaBlueCreations.
Her work is perfect for cards and limited run prints, and she’s had success in selling such delights, which is never easy…
Can you remember your first impressions of doing linocut?
Oddly enough, yes. I didn’t really like school and don’t remember much of it, but I remember the handful of linocut lessons we had vividly. I reproduced a photo I’d taken of a Przewalski’s horse and foal at the local zoo and I remember being a bit annoyed that everyone else had chosen tigers and elephants and I’d essentially gone for a dumpy little zebra without stripes.
I took a short evening course a few years ago for about three months and picked up a few basic painting techniques, but other than that I’m self taught.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I try to look out for the small things that make my life a little better and bring those moments into my work. One of my most popular prints is of two girls with entwined plaits watching a sunset, with the words “I am glad every day that you are my friend” – this was an off the cuff remark I said to a good buddy on WhatsApp and as I said it, I realised it was a print waiting to be made.
Do you get those days when everything goes wrong?
I started linoprinting last summer just after the birth of my first baby, so I’ve never been able to dedicate a whole day to printing, just an hour here and there when the baby is sleeping. So because of that, if things start going wrong I just put everything away again and walk off. That said, I did once accidently use acrylic paint instead of printing ink and got really angry that nothing was printing properly before I worked out what I’d done.
I handprint rather than using a press, which is fine for me as I only ever print up small batches. They have to be small because I only have space to hang everything to dry on a shoelace hanging from the dresser – so I’m literally working on a shoestring!
How have sales been going?
I do sell, but it’s not the be all and end all, though I do like having a hobby that pays for itself. I’ll never be able to jack in the day job and pay the mortgage solely selling prints, but I don’t think I’d want to, because then it might stop being fun.
At the moment, having someone stop at a fair to say they like my work and ask me questions about it is exciting enough on its own. I’m not very good at taking money for my work because if someone likes it I’m so touched I just want them to have it, but I’ve learnt from experience that underpricing or giving things away actually makes people feel awkward, so now I’m really strict with myself and limit myself to only throwing in an occasional extra card with an order!
What are you working on at the moment?
I recently completed my first reduction print, depicting the lighthouse at the end of Folkestone Harbour Arm during a storm, and I’d like to add some more local landmarks to this set, focussing more on the nature surrounding them than the landmark itself.