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Print Therapy

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Normally I work from a studio at Hot Bed Press in Salford, Manchester. However, during the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, I was unable to access my studio, so worked from home on my dining room table. Several workshops I was due to teach, and events where I would have sold work, were been cancelled or postponed, so I am currently relying on selling my work online for income.

I was fortunate to be awarded an Artists’ Newsletter/Arts Council ‘Time Space Money’ bursary, which allowed me to continue my professional practice, focusing on the positive effects printmaking has on mental health. I explored abstract monoprinting techniques utilising the basic tools that were accessible to me: a small, portable etching press, paper and ink. Creating this artwork felt soothing and therapeutic at a very uncertain and stressful time.

Last year, in collaboration with the NHS, I ran some printmaking workshops for Lime Arts, helping staff create painterly screenprints, exploring mark making and colour. NHS key workers responded exceptionally well to these sessions, reporting increased feelings of wellbeing and value in their employment. I further investigated the benefits of ‘Print Therapy’ during my time working from home by creating online video ‘how-to’ tutorials to share the outcomes of my experiments and allow others to benefit from the magic of printmaking.

It was quite a learning curve, making, editing and uploading videos to YouTube, but very satisfying. I have some more ideas for workshops that I could run outside, following the principles of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, so watch this space.

You can watch the videos here. Let me know if there are any other simple printmaking techniques you’d like to learn about, and I’d love to see what you make, so tag me on instagram, @nellsmithprints!

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