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Suffolk artist's lasting impressions

PUBLISHED: 17:04 24 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:32 20 February 2013

Suffolk artist's lasting impressions

Suffolk artist's lasting impressions

Suffolk artist Clare Curtis has produced work that will last for a long, long time

Suffolk artist Clare Curtis has produced work that will last for a long, long time




Clare Curtis is a professional printmaker and illustrator working in Felixstowe, Suffolk. As a member of the Suffolk Craft Society she regularly shows her work in exhibitions in the county, including at the Societys permanent gallery at the Town Hall Galleries in Ipswich. In 2010 she has seen her designs blasted on to concrete panels and displayed on a new road bridge in Stowmarket. Clare tells us about her ideas and this new public art work:


I feel a real part of a very strong and long tradition of British printmaker/
illustrators. My approach is that of a designer and crafts person, using traditional tools and methods. I hand cut printing blocks from materials such as lino, wood and cardboard and then print them using a hand press dating from the 1950s. A lot of my personal work reflects my love of plants and I am heavily influenced by my environment. In particular the structures, flora and fauna that dot the Suffolk coastline. My linocuts are published, exhibited and collected nationally.
I was first asked to become involved in the Stowmarket project at the beginning of 2007. Suffolk County Council and Stowmarket Town Council were looking for a way to personalise and decorate 17 cast concrete parapet panels that would run along the length of two new road bridges that were to cross the River Gipping. The council had already come to conclusion that shot blasting the concrete with a design was the most suitable method and I was approached because my linocut prints where bold and graphic enough to suit this process.
After meeting the Town Council I established that there was a need to commemorate the river and the industry that had built up around it. With the help of archive photographs I was able to imagine scenes and design a series of illustrations. There were many aspects I could have chosen but I decided that the small bridge, near to what was once the Atco works, would tell the story of the original foundry and the lawn mower manufacturer. The large river bridge was more problematic, being of such a length. I decided to recreate an imaginary scene of the river when it was still in use as a busy highway moving goods from and to Ipswich.
Once the designs were agreed on I produced lino cuts from my drawings. Then I printed them in black and white so that they could be easily converted into a digital format. They then were enlarged and stencils were made.
The whole process from start to finish took a very long time and sometimes I did wonder if it would ever be completed. So when I finally got a glimpse of the finished panels I was quite overwhelmed. It was oddly satisfying to see the artwork I had made using such fine tools become something on such a monumental scale!


Clare regularly exhibits in galleries throughout East Anglia and further afield in Edinburgh, Bath and Yorkshire. Clares original prints can be seen in Suffolk Craft Societys Gallery 2 at the Town Hall Galleries on Ipswichs Cornhill and are also available as reproductions sold as greetings cards. To find out more about Clares work visit her website, www.clarecurtis.co.uk

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