Printmaker Sally Spens
Sally Spens worked as a textile designer in London and Japan before taking her drawings into etchings, which often recall the subtleties and richness of textiles.
“Drawing has always been central to my work, both as a textile designer and as a painter/printmaker. It is important to me that the images are handmade, and originate from my drawings and experience. Working with a Japanese company for seven years on designs for summer kimonos, which are so much a part of Japanese culture, has also been a major influence, particularly in the compositional botanical works. “
The Victoria & Albert Museum archived this seven year collaboration with Kawashima and from their research found that Sally Spens and Kim Bentley are historically the only western textile designers to have been commissioned by a Japanese textile company.
A graduate of Goldsmiths’ College, Spens’ return to etching has again led east, where there is little divide between fine and applied arts. Her etchings have been exhibited in Hong Kong and Singapore with Fine Art Consultancy who represent British and Japanese artists. In 2015, her work was selected by Prof. Lui Xiangke for inclusion in the Xiaoxiang International Printmaking Exhibition in China.
'The etchings of imagined pots' link to another discipline of
the applied arts – ceramics. Images drawn from memory and observation
combine with that of vessels, linking associations with both. The
inspirations are various - the ‘January in Kyoto’ and ‘January in London‘ etchings reference time spent in both cities. ‘Land’ was inspired by a shell in the British Museum that reminded me of imaginary landscapes. ‘Flow’ evolved from observational drawings of oil on water, thinking about pattern in a time less flooded with images. ‘Sojourn’ and ‘Deja Blue’ are part of the ‘Revisited’series that included impressed embroidery sewn for an earlier sculpture that combined silk, wood and white stones.
The making of etchings, intaglio onto copper plate, allows for infinite variations of expression and the transformation of images. The plates are hand inked, and I often layer paint and print when creating the artworks.”