Joanna Allens’s artwork includes mixed media paintings and intaglio prints, including hand coloured etchings, drypoints, collagraphs and monoprints. Recurring themes include strange little birds, magical gardens and romantic florals.
About Joanna Allan
I am an Artist, Printmaker and Textile Designer, with a Degree in Printed Textiles from Manchester Metropolitan University. I am a member of the Peak District Artisans, and the Gallery in New Mills. I also have Art PGCE, and am available to teach various art classes and printmaking workshops, either individually from my home studio, or in groups.
I work from my home studio, on the top floor of what was once a Victorian shop in the centre of New Mills, although sometimes you might catch me print making in the old shop floor which now doubles as a ‘gallery’ and occasional work space. My intaglio printing press is too heavy to take upstairs and it is sometimes taken to workshops and demos so it needs to be as close to the front door as possible!
Recurring themes include strange little birds, magical gardens and romantic florals. There are literary influences at work too. My work is often inspired by books I read as a child: I am inspired by fairy stories and folk tales, including Welsh fables from the Mabinogion, and Shakespeare. This includes a lot of romantic or magical imagery, British flora and fauna, moons, angels, wings and strange witchy characters too!
Artists I have been inspired by include Rosetti, Gustav Moreau, Sulamith Wulfing and Marc Chagall; they all possess a distinctly otherworldly quality. I would say Cecil Collins, Samuel Palmer and Elizabeth Blackadder would be included in the list too, although there really are so many to mention! I find having Pinterest pages a great way to collect images and links for future reference and inspiration, it’s like an enormous online scrapbook. I also collect vintage fabrics, jugs, old nests and various tiles, bowls, plates and bits and bobs, some of which repeatedly turn up in paintings.
The starting point for all my designs is my mixed media paintings and coloured etchings, collagraphs and monoprints. I have a background in textile design, so my work could be described as fairly decorative and romantic; I often layer watercolours, pastels, salt and even bleach over my prints to create a distinctive ethereal atmosphere. Sometimes I use a technique called Chine Colle with my prints, which involves incorporating collage elements into the print surface. Therefore, no two prints are identical! Selected artworks are scanned and manipulated in Photoshop, then the design is digitally printed onto luxury silks in very small print runs to create a range of luxury scarves.
I usually sell my framed original artworks, silk scarves and original prints at various Artisan Fairs and PDA exhibitions, and have work available from The Gallery on High Street in New Mills. Events such as Leek Open Studios and Art Trail is also a great opportunity for artists and makers to showcase their work to a wider audience. My silk scarves and giclée prints are available to purchase from my website, from which you may also sign up to my mailing list for information about special offers and forthcoming events.
Depending on Covid restrictions, I will announce new dates for printmaking workshops for later in the summer. I always have a selection of work at home too, so feel free to make an appointment if you wish to view; I have a selection of unframed work, and I also will undertake commissions. It’s useful living in an old shop, the big window is a great place to display new work!
More recently I have been working on book illustrations for a new version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which involved a good deal of local research in the Leek area, including excursions in and around Ludd’s Church. All the images are hand coloured collagraph prints. Once the book is published, I hope to exhibit the illustrations I produced.
I like to keep busy, and lockdown has given me an opportunity to experiment with new processes and materials. I have made props and backdrops for a couple of my singer/songwriter daughter’s animated music videos, which was quite different from my normal modus operandi. I am currently working on some ideas for 3D work, using the intaglio press to print onto calico fabrics to make something new and exciting; watch this space!