Creativity Found

Laura Boswell – a chance return to printmaking

March 27, 2022 Laura Boswell Episode 43
Creativity Found
Laura Boswell – a chance return to printmaking
Show Notes Transcript

If you are a printmaker apparently you will be very surprised to learn that Laura Boswell turned down the offer of a free Albion printing press. ‘How stupid she was’ (her words, not mine). Although the press did still make it into her possession and encouraged (forced?!) her into revisiting an artform she had embraced at university.

Laura’s artistic journey from that point onward is literal and metaphorical, taking her to Japan, Cumbria and Aylesbury(!), taking on changes in direction regarding techniques, style of work and subject matter, and moving right up to date with her videos on YouTube, where she has shared her love for printmaking with her many followers, and not been afraid to show that things don’t always go to plan.

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Music: Day Trips by Ketsa
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Claire Waite Brown:

For this episode, I'm speaking with Laura Boswell, who's returned to creativity came from an initially unwanted gift. That's not to say that once reintroduced, this artistic endeavour wasn't embraced wholeheartedly. Quite the opposite, in fact. Hi, Laura. Hi. Hi. Before we start, please tell the listeners what your art form is. Well, I am a printmaker, and I work with wood and liners. So I am working, making woodblock prints liner cut print, but I also work quite a lot with the Japanese method of watercolour printing with wood. So those are the that's kind of the boundaries of what I do at the moment. Brilliant, we'll find out more about the Japanese techniques. What were your experiences, your artistic experience, like when you were growing up? Well, I guess I was really lucky because I had the kind of mum who was very interested in art herself. So as I was growing up, she took me to art galleries quite a lot in museums, which was great. But also, she was very good at observing things. And I can remember having conversations with her when I was quite small about sort of, what's the colour of that or look at the light on that and things like that. So her, her world was quite a visual one. I mean, she was a professional dressmaker for a while. And so she's very interested in textiles and stuff like that. So we will go and look at new fabrics and liberties, which was very exciting. So it was all about visual staff and colour and pattern. I kind of had a very conventional school upbringing, but I loved the art room. And for some reason, they employed a very young teacher who clearly she sort of didn't fit in with everybody else. She was very adventurous and unconventional. And as soon as she found out, I was interested in art, she handed over the keys to the art room, which was I suspect, she should not have done every moment that I could get into that. I was in there. And I used to hide from sports lessons and going in lunchtime, and I was at boarding school. So I used to go in at the weekends on my own. I said, I guess I sort of saw it as a bit of a refuge because it's a sort of odd story. But my my parents divorced when I was quite young, and my mom was working. And she told the school might a different age. She put in a year added a year to my age when she applied to the school. This was back in the 70s and I guess they weren't checking things. So I ended up in a class that was a full year older than me. The youngest child was still a year older than me And so I wasn't really very good. And everyone thought that I wasn't really very bright as I believed for a long time. But I was good at art. So I kind of took refuge in that it was kind of a an odd, odd scenario. Did she do that on purpose? Yeah, to get me into school so that she could work? Oh, I see. Yeah. So she could have a job. So I was too young, really. But I love the art. And that's kind of what I specialised in. And I ended up going from school onto a foundation course, before going to university. And my dad was very, yeah, he quite like that I made art. But he was very unsupportive in terms of taking it any further than a bit of dabbling at school. So he was absolutely, resolutely against me going to art school. So I thought I got away with a foundation year, but it was like now, you need to do something a bit more serious. So I found this, this crazy course at Aberystwyth University where you could do librarianship, which was like so ticked, my dad's boxes is reliable thing that you could do. And that could be combined with visual art and art history. So I went on this course and the librarianship, I thought I would probably be okay, because I did love to read. But I came unstuck really fast with that, because it was all about understanding, Dewey Decimal System, and filing techniques and things like that. After a year, I dropped that, and it was too late then I was already at university. So I was able to just concentrate on the art. And the visual art was it was pretty much like foundation, you did bits and bobs and tried lots of things. And then you've specialised in your last year. So I specialised in printmaking in my final year, at university, I was the only person to do that in my year by pure coincidence. So I was on my own in the print room a lot of the time. And so I gravitated to liner cut because I had done that at school and I recognised it and it wasn't as scary as the other techniques. And I got my degree in art history in visual art. And then I stopped completely stopped drawing, stop making any art. And I guess, if I fair, the printmaking was something that I had loved at school, and I was quite interested in the kind of process of it. And I did, I spent a lot of time drawing on the streets. In Aberystwyth, I was very interested in the architecture of this sort of really lovely, kind of very wealthy chapels and things like that. So I drew in the street, and I drew quite a lot in London, in just sitting on the roadside and drawing. And I was drawing a lot with dip, pen and ink. It never felt it had the gravitas of painting. It sort of drawings in my college sort of situation. They were always seen as a means to an end rather than an end in themselves. I don't I'm not sure that would be seen the same way now, but it certainly it was at the time. And so I kind of turned them into prints. And I think that was the beginning of the way that I make marks and prints was the idea that I just instead of drawing on paper, I draw a line out and instead of leaving them on paper as they were I cut out the line and print it. So it was like adding to that. Yeah, I mean, you've told me that you were encouraged to go on and do an MA but didn't go down that route. So what what happened after your undergrad? Yeah, well, he was head of the art school a man named Dallas to Crawford. And he was he wasn't officially my tutor. But he was when he saw I was the only one doing printmaking. He said, I will come to me for an hour a week and I'll tutor you, which is like, they did that sort of thing back then I don't think it would happen anymore. And he encouraged me he was he was from Glasgow and he had this kind of very do. Glaswegian accent and I used to go in and see him every week. And every week, he would say to me, you'd look at my work and say, is that it? And I would think, Oh, crap, I haven't done enough work. I need to do more work. And I met him years later I said to him about you know, you're really hard on me every week and he said those and I said, What do you mean? And I told him about this. And I said, you know in our family that sort of legendary that comment and he said didn't mean it like that. I was just asking you if that was what you brought. This is like a magnificent incentive, but he hadn't even intended. But yeah, so what I did was to leave university and get married. That was the like the summer I left university. So I had met my current husband, Ben, just before I started doing my foundation course. And so we've been together for four years by the time we got married, and I kind of had to find some work when I left university, and I had been here but he worked for a professional camera short, it was sort of big place in central London, and they dealt a lot with fashion and editorial photographers, and they rented equipment, stuff like that. And I'd been a foot messenger during my university holidays. And so I started working there. And once I'd left university, I went back and I was working on the trade counter selling photographic film, stuff like that. Well, Ben was sort of in the hierarchy, he was my husband was much higher up, he was a camera salesman, but I then changed jobs. And I went into managing photographers work for photo libraries. So back in the day, photographers used to be able to make money by licencing, the reproduction of their work in publications. So for a while, I worked in a news library in central London, which was quite exciting. And I then worked with Ben's parents. So Ben's father was a photographer, he had built up a collection of photographs that he wanted to manage. And we took on some, basically friends of my father in law, who were also professional photographers. But the the two women friends that he took on their work, they were into child development. So really alien for my father in law, but great for me, because at that stage, I was expecting and very swiftly after head off our son, Jim. So working with child development, photographers was like, right up my street. So I worked with them, and basically looked after their pictures, edited them, hunted them out and sent them off to magazine, stuff like that. I mean, this is back in the day, when you sent slides by bike to magazines, and you had to print the photographs and stuff. I mean, it's like, tell my son about this, and he can barely believe that. Yeah, we thought it was really cool when faxes were invented. I find it interesting that you were working in a picture library, which is completely different from a book library. And yet you had started your library resume. I know actually, everything I learned during the degree was utterly irrelevant. So I suppose the only thing you could say is that I did devise a sort of filing system, but it was very much based on the news library, I'd worked at it. It wasn't based on the systems that I'd learned at college. So that was a year of my life, I will never get back. So while you're in this place now, with your son, and your family, and working, is this happily encompassing and keeping you feeling content? Or were you missing some of the artsy activities and involvement that you'd had previously? Oh, well, it's a good question. Because it wasn't that I kind of missed it. It was that I kind of felt bad about it. And I, these days, when I when I'm teaching, I talk to a lot of people about this, because I teach a lot of people who come to art later in life. And most people sort of say that they they kind of just haven't had time, and they've missed it and want to get back with it. It was for me, it was like a kind of quite an ugly divorce. I suppose I found it very uncomfortable. I wasn't making art. To the extent that I would sort of avoid it. I'd never go into an art shop or I wouldn't go to galleries and things like that, because I felt like there was some kind of it wasn't a good thing. But I was I mean, I was doing sort of mildly creative things. I was saying a lot I was making, I got into making quilts by hand hand sewing and they were more like the American way of making quilts where you're actually creating pictures and images. So I would design quilts with fruits and trees and all sorts of bits and pieces on them. So I guess that was that was sort of quite a creative outlet, but I never sort of, I certainly never picked up a pencil and drew a picture or anything like that. Yeah, it was it was Yeah. That was awkward. Yeah. I often hear that I do hear that from other guests as well. It's, it's all or nothing. And if I, if I can't do it, then I'm not doing it at all. Oh, that's that's encouraging to hear other people feel like that because it's a very hard thing to justify. Yeah. Now I completely understand. So looking at where you are now, what was the point at which that turned around? Well is appallingly random, actually. And it's a really kind of such a chance, ridiculous chance thing. What happened was the band's family of very arty, and they had arty friends who they'd been within the Central School of Art and 1950s. And these friends had a printing press. And they, I suspect, after a couple of bottles of wine and a dinner, they cooked up this idea that I should have the printing press, and I should go back to making art. And they said, Would you like this printing price? And if there are any print makers out there, I will tell you, it's an Albion printing press. So you can see just how stupid I was when I said, No, no, no, no, no, I don't want that. Because these are very precious things. And I was for a whole year I was basically no, I don't draw, I can't possibly make art. I'll never go back to it. It's it's ridiculous. I've got other things to do. And basically, they, they just said, Well, you're doing it. And I ended up with the press. So I wasn't really given a lot of choice at the end of the day. But had that not happened, I would never have gone back to making art. It was only because I was pushed into this I became an artist, which is quite scary. Yeah. Well, I think another opportunity would probably have come up. But yes. So you've got this printing press. That's one thing. But then you have to start using it or you have to start creating again. How did you feel about that? How did you do that? How did you help yourself with that process? It was quite difficult because I thought, Well, what do I do? And I look back at the work I've done in college. And I think you kind of you start with what you know. And so I thought, Oh, well, I will go out and draw architecture. But in the interim we'd moved out to Buckinghamshire where we We live at the moment and the houses in Buckinghamshire, and don't get me wrong back. And she's very pretty. And it has some lovely architecture. But they weren't the town architecture. They weren't the nitty gritty stuff in London that I was drawing. And I just thought I don't want to draw pretty cottages, that's not me, I will have to think of something else. So I thought, Well, I I do like the landscape. I'm interested in the kind of patterns of the fields make and the trees and I can work with that perhaps. And I'd also because I'd done these quilts I had quilting is an interesting one, because you're working in layers, and you're working with flat pieces of cloth and things like that. So I thought well, there's not too much difference between those two things. So stylistically, maybe I should be looking at what I'm, I did in the quilting. And so I started on the landscape work. But it was tricky. I mean, you have to learn a whole new language because I was talking in the language of bricks and concrete, curbs and signage and stuff. And then I had to think about seasons and trees and organic shapes and how to make field look interesting. So that was that was quite tricky. That translation, it took some time to find my feet. And is there are a difference talking technically about the cutting. If you talk about the composition of how to make this scene look interesting. What about the actual physical techniques of cutting the liner was I think you were doing at that time? Do they differ? Yeah. Well, I went back to drawing with a dip pen, as I had done in college. And that was that was quite helpful in some ways, but it it didn't suit everything. So I started experimenting more with other pens and pencils and things. And I also experimented quite a lot with the inking of how I was inking up the line. I had a friend who had a daughter of eight, I suppose. And she said is there any chance you could show her how to make a print and I had this kid in the tiny little room I was using as a studio and I let her loose on this line. Oh, and she was inking up and of course she just went for it and she was mixing the inks on the roll. And she was fooling about and she was putting something was thick and something was thin. And I learned, like more from her than I had, possibly at university it was it was remarkable watching her work. And it's part of the reason why I love teaching people even now who have no idea about printmaking, because you never know they're going to come up with something genius that you can then use yourself. So that was you quite quickly began showing your work at Open Studios. Why do you think you did that? Well, if we go back to what you said about the kind of all or nothing scenario, I think, I felt that giving up printmaking had been such a wrench, and I'd felt so rubbish about it afterwards that when I went back to it, I thought this, this has to be serious. This isn't just like, I'm going to dabble with it a bit. And then forget about it again, I thought, if I'm going to do it, I want to do it. And I want it to be the best I can do. I want to create something and have the public look at it. Which sounds very arrogant. It's just is more that I knew if I did stuff, and I showed it to my family. They'd be like, Oh, that's lovely. As families do, they're very supportive. I mean, my husband's pretty good. He'll call me out if he doesn't think things are good enough. But he's like. So I started showing with the Open Studios, because that's a brilliant scheme. It's something I'd encourage any listener to do, who's who's in the situation where they're starting to make art where you can open your studio or you can join others to venue and just show people what you're doing and how you work. And if you sell something that's really nice, but it's not necessarily all about that. You know, it's about getting your work in front of the public. And then I did this mad thing, about a year and a half after I started printing, and maybe even less than that, I saw this advert through the box open studio organisation. And that said the Aylesbury Town Centre was being rejuvenated and they were looking for emerging artists to work on the regeneration of the transport hub. I thought well, what can that mean? They want something to put on a roundabout or something, you know, I thought this is this must be ignorant. And I I got in touch on this. No, yes, we'll send in your CV and your artist statement. I had to google an artist statement was gonna have no I did. So I put something together and sent it in. Like I scraped into the interview. I was interviewed by an artist called Steve Jaleo, who is sort of he does a lot of public art and sculptor and stuff and he was fantastic. And he said yes, all right, well, we'll hire you. And I ended up doing this ridiculously large mural for Aylesbury town centre. It was an enamel mural in vitreous enamel. So it's the same material as London Underground signage. The mural itself was made by the company that does all of London Underground signage, it was a sort of ridiculous project because I'd gone from working 11 by 14 inches, because it's this Victorian printing press, that's kind of you work in inches, to making this this mural that was five metres by 140 metres. It wasn't just on the roundabout, then. It wasn't on the roundabout. No, it was basically two sides. And it was, well it was it was it was funny, because I went, the idea originally was that I would design it and they would silkscreen my design onto enamel panels, like they did with the signage, and then the factory realise that they can actually do it and still meet the budget, because it would have been a really, really expensive way of doing it. And I'd gone down to the factory to see how they worked. And they were showing me around and given me a guided tour. And I was I was very ignorant about anatomy, and I'm looking at it and figure what looks like pain. So I said to more, you know, could I not just paint it, then why are we sort of screwing it? Why don't I just make a landscape and paint it? And they said Laura, maybe and so I did the whole thing with masking tape and radiator rollers. Apparently in the background, they had all these crisis meetings about what they were going to do and I failed to deliver. Because, as far as they were concerned, I was just a housewife who had no experience who was just being given this job a total nightmare for them. And this is the largest project they'd had to deliver. And suddenly they had this woman in charge. How did you visualise yourself If they were visualising you as a housewife, how did you feel doing it? Well, I think that I was in such sort of glorious ignorance of what was going on that I just thought, Oh, well, we'll just make it work. But what I would say is that I was, we were really precise about the planning of how we did it. So what we did was that Ben is brilliant at working out engineering type problems. So he made a map of every single panel because they all were different dimensions. And we got these big template sheets printed, and then we stuck them all together, I borrowed the boardroom where Ben worked, which was the biggest room I could find and laid everything out on the floor, and drew these murals onto a scale plan. And then we upped it onto a big plan. And I made all the colour notes on these, each each panel had its own sheet that had all the colour notes on it, how many times it needed firing. And I had this enormous bible of each panel, we then photograph that, and every day, I would go into the factory and say I'm working on these five panels. These are the colours, this is how many layers and I would project the photograph of the panel onto the panel that needed marking up, draw around it in a permanent marker, make sure it bumped up to the panel next to it and painted that day's worth of panels. So it was actually a really organised workflow. So I think, you know, when they saw me clutching this Bible, I realised that actually I did have a plan and I knew where I was going. And I can see the connections with printmaking, for example, I'm always petrified when I see print makers putting their stuff on Instagram, and talking about registration. And, yeah, you have to make sure and that and that leanings lining up to the next panel in this particular example. So if anyone is lucky enough to go to a Osprey station, it's, yeah. still say you can trick OPI there and say that's Laura Boswell's work. Yeah, I wince when I go past. You know, I could do it so much better now. But you know, that's like every artist creativity found.co.uk is the place to go to find workshops, courses, supplies, kits, and books to help you get creative. So if you're looking for your own creativity found experience, go have a browse to see what's on offer so far. And if you can help adults to find their new creative passion, please get in touch on social media, or through the contact details website. But to your printmaking, at this point, it's still ly no cut, as you said, like you've done at university. How and why did you move to woodcut? Oh, well, that was another instance of a child's thing happening, especially with themes throughout my career. I hear that other people have career plans. I have career stumbles in, I was doing a little project at my local museum in Buckinghamshire, it was run by a letterpress artist called Christine tack. And she said almost as a sort of throw away at the end of the project, that there was a residency in Japan to learn traditional Japanese woodblock printing, and I was sort of utterly seduced by the idea of this, you know, just going to Japan, let alone learning this technique. So if you think of prints, like the great wave, the homicide, the hero Shiki, prints, things like that. It's that technique that this residency was all about. And so I applied to it. And I didn't get in the first year, but I did get in in 2009. And there were six other students. And we were from all around the world because the policy was that this was a residency to encourage Western artists to learn this Japanese technique, and then to go and teach and talk and demonstrate and spread the word about the technique. So in Japanese woodblock, it's quite different from liner cut or Western woodblock printing. So in the West, we use ink, and that's supplied with a roller over the block, and it's usually printed using a printing press. Whereas in Japan, this Japanese woodblock is called moko hanger. It tends to be called in Japan, which simply means would print and it's a water based method. I use watercolours but in Japan, most printers would mix their own pigments and that is combined With rice paste, so a sort of like a glue made out of rice, which when it's mixed with watercolour or water based pigment, turns that into a sticky slippery printing medium. Instead of using a roller, you're brushing that on to the woodblock with a stiff, and all hair brush. And the printing is always done by hand, the back of the paper is rubbed with a disc of wood with a coil of bamboo attached to it, and then a bamboo sheath over the whole thing wrapped up in the bamboo. So you're rubbing the back of the print. And there is a very elegant registration system of lining the prints up to Kento. And that was introduced about 1740. And it's basically it's two little slots in the word, that act like little shelves, and they hold the paper in place. And that's a very important part of Japanese printing, the registration is cut into the wood at the same time as you were cutting the wood block. So it's a it's very different way of working. And it was the means of mass printing in Japan, right up until quite modern times. So it's it's a very pragmatic, businesslike way of working and it's designed to allow you to print many, many copies. Although it's a kind of exquisitely beautiful in terms of producing the art prints. It's also got its heart in that kind of practicality and function of mass printing. It was huge privilege to go out there on this extraordinary residency. And as well as the the wonderful residency and what you learned there travelling to Japan, I mean, a that's a big step. It was really scary. culturally different as well and you were going on your own you what did you learn from that? It was very alarming. I arrived in the middle of the night I had to then find a bus that was going out into the countryside I was the bus stopped on the side of the road, it felt like I was just like, on the side of the road with my bags. Fortunately, they came and rescue me, but it was a bit a bit scary. I think what I loved and found very comforting about being out there was the structure I was learning from masters, artists Carver's and printers who were used to dealing with apprentices. And the way we learnt was, it was quite controlled, and it was quite formal. And I think I just sort of lapse back into boarding school. Because I boarding school have been the sort of boarding school lots of rules sort of esoteric, like you can't have coffee on Thursdays, but you can on Tuesday nights, that sort of that kind of thing. And so I think I fell in with it. And I really liked the discipline of how we were taught because we did have translators, I don't speak Japanese. And we did have translators, but the translator, the poor man, he was lovely. But he came from the local council and he spoke Business English. So the nuances of artists English and printmaking English were quite, you know, understandably difficult. So a lot of it was down to how well we were able to observe and work out what was going on, which is kind of a lot of what Japanese teaching is about, as far as I can tell, there's a lot. There's not a lot of asking why. And what if I do this, and what if I do that, the idea is that you watch the man who knows exactly how to do that. And then you learn from that. So I did enjoy that. And I also enjoyed the idea that skills are acquired after a long time of practice. There's none of this assumption that you kind of born ready and that it will all come together and it's fairly instant. And your artistic inspiration will lead you to create something magnificent. It's like you don't know anything in seven or so years, maybe you'll know something. And maybe by the time you get to about 80 You'll really know what you're doing if you're lucky. So it's a really different concept of growing your abilities and your skill and your intelligence about the process. And also it's it's kind of positive in that it is a constant upward movement. You know, there's none of this idea that you are brilliant young thing and everybody thinks you're marvellous and then you have your moment in the sun and then you go downhill as you get older. This is very much a kind of you're always learning always improving and moving up the whole time. Which I I like that as an artist. I think that That's very true. I think that your work changes as you get older, but you're always adding, always learning. Certainly, I try always to be like taking that next step, and making that next learning. And with that next learning in mind you were you were obviously hooked because you did go back to Japan again. I know. And I'm desperate to go back now, but I did. I went back in 2013. And I did what they were describing as a mid career residency. And that was very, very interesting because I was working with other mid career artists. So all our approaches were very different. We gone from working with craftsmen who were training apprentices where process was everything, to working with Japanese artists, who were more kind of flexible in their approach and the way they did things. And it was quite interesting because they thought I was quite funny because I'd sort of learned old school type approach and they're like, Haha, you're working like a Crossman not like an artist. So that was quite, quite fun. And then I went back, my good friend, Marcos Leno, organised a studio share, where I was working with her and a Scottish printmaker called Paul for no and an American printmaker called Andrew stone, and we had a studio and apartment in Tokyo for a month. And that was fascinating, because we're all working on, we're all doing our own thing. But I think we all learnt quite a lot from each other as a result of watching each other work. So that was a really interesting time. And it's the first time I've shared studio space, which I thought I would hate, but I really, really missed it when I came home. Overall, then from the point at which you were lumbered with this printing press, and up till now, it sounds like there's been a lot of change in development. How would you say that your interests and your inspiration have changed and developed over that time? Well, I would say that my subject matter has evolved. When I first started working, I was working with my local landscape, which kind of made sense. But I had a sort of game changing moment, I went off to draw cheddar gorge with marvellous printmaker called Ian Phillips and we had a couple of days there drawing landscape out of cheddar, which is much more dramatic landscape than I was used to. And I really fell in love with the drama of the place and realise that I've been edging towards more dramatic landscapes. But that was kind of a real turning point for me. And I fell in love with sort of heights and cliffs and mountains and stuff like that. And I'm sort of legendary for my fear of heights and my kind of pathetic attitude to veg out in the wild. I'm, I'm very much like warm feet. And sitting in my studio drinking tea, I'm not really very good at being outside. And all the other artists that do outside work, like I do, all seem to be kind of really into going for long walks and camping and, and I'm so not, but that's the landscape I like so I have to do it to get the pictures. So yes, that's that's the kind of work that I am making now. So I travel up to Scotland quite a lot, and Cumbria, places like that. I think also, because I've been over the years, I've taught a lot. And I'd still teaching now, that changes you. Because when you teach others, I think you learn a lot from your students. But also you learn a lot from having to explain to your students and having to think of how to coax the best out of them and their ideas. And I think it does broaden your skills. Because if you have like 10 random people in a room, they're all gonna throw up different kinds of scenarios and ideas and having to work with all of these random ideas that you would never have thought of really makes your approach to your own art broader. And I think I'm better at explain to myself what I need to do next because I have to explain to other people. So teaching for me is a really valuable personal development tool. I mean, it's nice to be paid and it's nice to meet people and all that kind of stuff. But I think at the end of the day, I wouldn't be as good a printmaker if I didn't teach, so that's really changed the way that I have brilliant Yeah, I think teaching is a funny one, because it's sort of seen as like what artists have to do to keep going. Yeah. Whereas I would say it's a real driver to my printmaking. Yeah, no, I know what you mean. So you've spoken to me about teaching and travelling to Scotland and actually creating you, you're exhibiting and so all of that's going on? How do you balance all of those aspects? Do you have a nice happy balance in all of your endeavours? I, I would love to say that I do. But I don't. It's something that I'm sort of working on. Because I like a lot of people when locked down happened. And we all had to sort of think about how life was going to go forward. I remember thinking, this is like, the biggest thing that's likely to happen in my lifetime in terms of sort of imposed life change. And I thought, well, I, you know, either I do something sort of proactive, or I curl up and it's all the disasters, I thought, well, I'll, what I'll do is invite people into the studio every day, and just show that I working every day, I will put a film out and just say, you know, come and join me if you're feeling a bit miserable, why don't you come and see what we're doing. And so we started doing these daily films during the first lockdown. And it was people like really enjoyed that. We did it on YouTube. And we sort of built a community and we did some live streaming events where everybody could just sort of rock up on a Friday night, and we open studio up and I'll answer questions, maybe demonstrate something, you know, the cat would come and sit in the middle of it, and it would all be kind of a party. And that was fantastic. We really love that we got people from all over the world. It was all like completely mad, random people. I got involved with Matthew Burroughs, his marvellous art artists pledge system, Matthew burrows, came up with this amazing idea that artists would create reasonably priced artwork. And whenever they sold that artwork, they would give 20% of the proceeds, they wouldn't give it away, they would reinvest in another maker. So you would supporting your community at the same time as supporting yourself. And so we really changed the business. We went online, that was fantastic. But it was very, very hard work. And it's it still is and we still haven't worked out the balance. We're still working too hard. And I was explaining all this I had a bad back and I went to see a chiropractor and she was saying, Well, what do you do? And I was explaining this and she said, What else do you do? And at the end of it, I then said, oh, yeah, and I wrote this book over lockdown as well. Forgotten. I'd written a 50,000 word book as well. Jerry looked at and done. All the prints for it and read photographed it will sequence. So yeah, it's it's not a good balance. And I think that's something I have to be more disciplined about. Because I would just work on get up and work and then go to bed and get up and work again, which is really rough. Yeah. Ruffle my husband's. We're trying. We're working on that. Yeah. I mean, as well as the the YouTube, which has been phenomenally successful. Until recently, you will also co host of the ask an artist podcast with Peter Keegan, which was also phenomenally successful. How did that project come about? And what were your expectations of it when you started? So that podcast idea I think Peter and I, we I was teaching at that stage with Peter, he ran a school, and he employed tutors to teach and I was one of his tutors. And we would always talk about kind of the skills that went into being an artist and how there weren't any classes in how to be an artist. And we did get to the point of planning some lessons we were going to do basic lessons in how to price your work, all that kind of stuff. Then I was listening to a lot of podcasts. St. Peter was too and we just thought, why don't we just do a podcast? Why don't we just talk and do a podcast and my husband Ben was absolutely amazing because he went from not knowing anything to being the sound editor. Now he put a lot of work but he was very, very good at it. And I think we just like the idea of kind of giving something back in a way I mean it it also is good for us. I mean, it's it raises our profile. I mean, I write a monthly magazine column for artists and illustrators about how to be an artist, this sort of workaday stuff, and I have done for years, and it was overlooked. extension for that from that, in a way, it was a really lovely thing to do. But as we will say we're trying to redress the balance. And that was one of the things that we decided had to go, we just couldn't do that, and the YouTubing. So YouTubing about printmaking one ounce at the end of the day. That's interesting. I was about to ask about how you are planning on redressing that balance in the future. But just to go back to the podcast now, obviously, you know, podcasts are great, aren't they? Oh, totally. But the wonderful thing about that one, it's like an instruction manual, you can actually go look, I'm struggling with this right now. I'll go and have a look and look at the episodes. And I can listen to an episode that talks about what I'm going through now, or what I need help in now. The actual advice for you if you want to work as an artist and make it work for you. It's a great resource. So as I said, going back to the future balancing. And so generally, what have you decided, is going to be your focus going forward? Well, I think going forward, I would certainly keep trying to work with the YouTube videos, I think, what I feel about being out in public and talking about is that it's really important to be realistic. When I've done when we did ask an artist. And in my YouTube films, we try and show that it's not perfect, that we're not perfect, that we mess things up that we try things out. And they don't work that we think we're going to do one thing and we end up doing another, you know, I've made mistakes, and the print has evolved and changed over the time of filming. And I'm always really clear that it's in the real world. People do this all the time. And not everything you try will go well. And I always used to worry about this. And I think I can't remember somebody said to me one day as well look at Apple and look at John Lewis and look at Marks and Spencer. You know, they will do things like they will open a shop here and it doesn't work and they'll close it or they'll they'll promote something. And it's a disaster. It's not just you going wrong, everybody, great corporations with teams of people to see this, it all works out perfectly. Get it wrong. I've always liked being honest about that. And actually, it's very different from winching about not being happy with something or complaining that things aren't working out, I think there's something very dynamic about, oh my God, I've made a mistake, this is how I'm going to deal with it. This is my new route. There's something very powerful about that in a kind of very positive way. And the older I get, and the further on in my career, I get the kind of happier I am to own those mistakes. There's a definite confidence to do that as you get older. But there's there's also a barrier, as well as a grown up that you feel you shouldn't do something wrong, so to speak. But once you can embrace that and realise that it's not necessarily a mistake, or it might not be what you planned. But we can go this way with it. It's a it's a great technique and improv is that you just say yes. And and you you go with it. So be US adults, being able to learn that adaptability. And other people go through that is is really important. Well, I think also with social media the way it is, I there is this construct of perfection. I feel myself tearing up an edition of prints, I got halfway through these prints and thought, well, these are a bit crap, I'm not going to so actually feel the destruction of this set of prints. And I got this kind of heartbreaking mail from a student at University. And she was like, this is the first time I've seen and an artist, a grown up proper artist who's gone, who's admitted it's not worked out. And it was kind of old. Thank you, you know, I'm really worried about when I stopped being an artist so I won't be able to get things right. It's but there is something very poignant about young people who have so many pressures, imagining that we're all sitting there, just able to do that. And I hate that because that's so not true. Yeah. You mentioned a little bit earlier that you had been working very hard on a book as well. Can you tell me more about that. Yeah, sure. So this is the second book that I've done for Crowood press, I did a book on making Japanese woodblock prints, which was kind of a manual to prop on the kitchen table for people to make a Japanese woodblock print. The second book is, it's about line Oh, cut. And it's about the kind of line of cuts that I made. It's a big book. And it's all about everything from buying a printing press to managing without, well, it's in three parts. So the first part of it is all the kind of stuff you need to know about income paper, practical stuff like that. And then the middle bit of it, I've devoted to pulling the idea out of your head and turning it into a print, which is always a bit of a worry, I think, for people when they're learning, because there's a lot on how to cut line now and how to print it, but there's not an awful lot on I think I'd like to do this picture. Perhaps I make that into a print. So there's a whole section on that in the middle. And then the end bit is I've deconstructed liner cuts. I've got the finished print. But I'm showing all the stages and how they're cut and how they're printed. Brilliant, willing, good for you. It sounds amazing. I really liked that idea, actually, of the getting it from your head. That's a real it can be a real sticking point. Thanks so much, Laura. How can people connect with you? So they can connect through social media on Instagram and Facebook and you'll find me at Laura Boswell printmaker at either of those platforms. You can find my youtube channel again. I'm Laura Boswell printmaker, and my website is the place to book a class with me and to see my prints. And that is Laura boswell.co.uk Fabulous. Thank you so much. It's been such an insightful and enjoyable chat today. It has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you very much for having me. Creativity found isn't openstage Arts production. If you're listening on Apple podcasts, please subscribe, rate and review. If you would like to contribute to future episodes, visit K O hyphen F fi.com/creativity found podcast. If you contact any of the artists featured sign up to their workshops, or buy their products don't forget to mention creativity found podcast on Instagram or Facebook. 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