Sparking creativity with Hannah Turlington, printmaker

It's tough to stay creative, be creative and spark new creativity at the best of times and, erm, well...we don't need to say any more. We are always looking [...]

It’s tough to stay creative, be creative and spark new creativity at the best of times and, erm, well…we don’t need to say any more.

We are always looking for inspiration and today we are getting it in buckets from Hannah Turlington, Printmaker, Designer, Teacher and Creative. Grab a cuppa and get ready to spark your creativity.

HOC: Hello, Hannah. What first attracted you to lino printing?

Hannah: Before I answer this I think that I have got to let anyone know who is thinking about starting to lino print that it becomes an obsession once you start as the projects and the possibilities are endless!

I first did lino printing when I was doing my GCSE and A-Level in art and did a project using the relief printing method of lino. At that time I worked more in coloured pencil and spent a lot of my time shading in shapes. I wanted to go to art college and study surface pattern and textile design but at that time it was discouraged. However my creativity didn’t go away and by this time I had become a teacher but something was missing … Whilst working full time, I went to college in the evenings and took printmaking courses and did a BTEC in art and design crafts. I did a big project on Mother Shipton’s Cave in North Yorkshire using the medium of lino printing but this actually isn’t where my obsession began. 

About 6/7 years ago my sister bought me a lino printing starter kit for Christmas and it sat in the cupboard until one weekend in May. I had heard there was going to be a fair in the village and you could get a table and have a stall so I went to the person who was organising it and said I wanted a table. She asked me what I was going to do … I honestly said ‘I am not sure yet…leave it with me and I will think of something!’ This was honestly was the start…I went home and started thinking and pulled out the kit from the cupboard and began. 

I am not sure at what point I realised it had become and obsession but about 3 years ago my husband said that I had taken over the house and the only way to get it back was to build me a studio in the garden. So, he did but this was not without sacrifice on his part as he had to sell his VW T4 Campervan to do so…I hope to make enough money to buy him one back. 

HOC: What a story! How have you kept your creativity up during these testing times?

Hannah: It is going to sound like a cliché but when you live in rural North Yorkshire creativity is all around and getting outside has proven to be one of the greatest medicines and sources of inspiration through these tricky times.  I think that I look for the stories that every object tells us and my work tells stories.

I describe myself as: ‘I am a storyteller and I use my work to tell those stories. Sometimes they belong to me, sometimes they belong to others but usually they belong to all of us’.

Hannah Turlington

I have taken to journalling during this time and I’m not saying this has had a massive impact on my creativity but it has given me a focus in the morning and a way of clearing the chatter so I can get on with the day. When I create my work each piece can take a long period of time – especially when you are working with A2 sized pieces of lino – this (journalling) time gives you the space to focus and to dream whilst working. 

Having constant projects such as Print Club, my calendar, commission pieces and putting together creativity packs for my online shop have all enabled me to keep up my creativity. I think joining in with online projects and taking online training all help as well.  Crucially, it is about not forcing it and sometimes just going with something that is completely different such as hand painting cork notice boards…a bit random but I loved doing it

HOC: We love how you encourage creativity in others through your workshop and print clubs – What plans do you have for 2021?

Hannah: The thing that I have missed during 2020 was the constant flow of workshops that I run. I did run them in between guidelines changing but I still missed connecting with people and their creativity. This year I will be putting out my program of creative printing workshops as soon as possible but in the meantime I have my ‘Learning to Love Lino Printing’ creativity packs, which I will be expanding. I plan to deliver some live workshops in the spring where you can receive the resources for the workshop then you join me online for the session. (head here to find out more)

I am also planning for mini books for children to help them learning about nature; such as beekeeping, (we do have bees in our garden…fingers crossed for a bumper year of honey), insect identification etc. I have an idea for a printing/creativity zine connecting like minded creatives …the list is honestly endless! I am constantly working on ways to connect with others in new ways as things have changed and we can’t get away from that at all. 

For me printmaking and creativity feeds my soul and without it I am empty. 

Hannah Turlington

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