Mary Collett – Artist Printmaker
Mary Collett is a Bristol based artist who specializes in lino printing, producing dynamic images of animals and birds. ‘Once I’ve decided on an image I draw it roughly onto the lino. I don’t like to have my image too carefully drawn as the print loses ‘life’ if it doesn’t have a certain degree of spontaneity. Using sharp tools I carve the pieces of lino to create one, two or even three plates which can be used to print different colours. For me the cutting of the lino can become quite absorbing and it is sometimes difficult to know when to stop!’
The lino plate is then rolled with ink and printed using thick, damp ‘Somerset’ paper, which Mary rolls through an etching press. This gives the print an embossed finish where the paper has been pressed into the lino.’
When working on large pieces of lino Mary often etches the lino using caustic soda which gives a more painterly effect rather than the harder edge that cutting lino produces.
Mary likes to experiment with printing over existing material such as old book pages, old bank notes, old music, old maps, stamps, brown paper – almost anything. The prints are often then embellished further by applying watercolour or gold leaf by hand. A combination of hand printing and using unique material in each of Mary’s prints means that no two prints are exactly the same – each print is a unique piece of art.
Mary’s work has been exhibited regularly in various galleries around Bristol including Centrespace, Spike Island and the Royal West of England Academy. Her work formed part of a four artist show at the RWA in 2009 and several pieces of her work also featured in the RWA ‘Dogs and Cats’ exhibition in 2010 as well as being a regular exhibitor in the RWA Autumn open exhibition. Her work has been shortlisted several times for the RA Summer exhibition. Mary’s work was exhibited in the University of Bristol ‘Tinsel Prints’ exhibition in 2013 and one of her prints is now part of the Theatre Department’s permanent collection. She is also a regular exhibitor with the North Bristol Artists on their trail each year.