Meet the Printmaker – Jutta Manser

Welcome to the first in a series where we meet up with one of our Red Hot Press members to get the lowdown on what they print and why they do it.

We are delighted to kick off fittingly with Jutta Manser as she is one of our original members and has been a great supporter of the workshop over the years. Jutta is a very talented wood engraver who we are lucky to have teach for us.
We got her to step away from the spitsticker for a moment to talk to us.

Hi Jutta, can you give us a little bit of background about yourself:
I came to Southampton as a student, got married and stayed on ever since…I’ve always enjoyed art and did bits and pieces from student days on, designed a couple book jackets for my husband’s philosophical books, but became a lecturer at what is now Solent University and only returned to art as a ‘main activity’ after giving up the day job.
 
How long have you been using Red Hot Press?
Almost since the beginning…I forget how I first found out about you. A leaflet in the public library perhaps?

Have you been on any Courses at the workshop? Tell us something about that?
I’ve tried a variety of printmaking techniques through Red Hot Press courses, from collagraph and etching to lino and card cuts, all of them interesting. My first experience was an ‘Introduction to Printmaking’ spread over several weeks, which allowed us to try all sorts this was very exciting and I found myself more attuned to relief prints than intaglio. I did rather like drypoint and I am still planning to get back to this one day.
But in the meantime I had fallen in love with wood engraving. Red Hot Press at that time did not offer this technique, but with practice and perseverance I began getting work accepted by the Society of Wood Engravers and am now really pleased to be able to teach wood engraving workshops at Red Hot Press.

You’ve been a member for a long time now.  What is it about membership that appeals to you?
It is just terrific to have this facility to hand. I love the opportunity to explore new techniques with the short courses. The enthusiasm of Katherine and Sarah is inspiring and they have continued to improve and expand the workshop, making available a superb environment for printmakers to use, either to do their own thing, or to learn something new with experienced tutors. Workshops create a forum and promote exchange of ideas. The kit is all to hand, it is very stimulating–what’s not to like??
What is your preferred technique to work in?
Wood engraving! I like the crispness of black-and-white and there is something about the scale which fascinates me. A whole world on a block just a few square inches in size and I just love the feel of the point cutting into the wood. Then you lift the paper from the block and catch the first sight of your PRINT… magic!
 
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m doing some engraving for a project with Salisbury Museum which involves an artists’ group in Salisbury made up of ex-students from what was Salisbury College fine art department, which sadly no longer exists. This is for this summer. I’ll be able to use Red Hot Press to print some etchings for this, if I get the plates done in time, in addition to the engraving. And there are also those drypoints to return to.
 
What’s next for you? Are there any techniques or methods you would like to try in the future?
It’s that drypoint again…plus I would like to have another stab at mono-printing… and who knows what other excitements RHP may come up with? They’re a pretty adventurous bunch and always ready to pass on new ideas.
 
Have you become a member of Cowprint – the Red Hot Press artists’ group?
Yes, I joined Cowprint because isolation is one of the difficulties with being an artist. Like the workshop itself, Cowprint gives us an opportunity to see other’s work, but on a more regular basis. We can bring problems for other people to offer their ideas [you don't have to accept them, but it often helps to spark your own solution] and we engage in joint projects like the calendar we produced last year.
 
Have you ever taken part in any of Red Hot Press’s Print Projects or exchanges?
Definitely! I really love print exchanges–you offer work of your own to be entered into the ‘pool’ of prints and then receive back a selection of other people’s work. Some exchanges are international in scope, so you are collecting prints from around the world, others are UK based. It is a very printmaking sort of thing to do, to share work [printmakers are helpful people] and there is the element of surprise–lovely!

Have you exhibited with Red Hot Press?
I try to exhibit fairly regularly–both for the pleasure of putting work into the public arena [and, yes, selling it!] and to support Red Hot Press. (editor’s note: look out for Jutta’s little handmade books and wood engraved gift tags)
So, Jutta, in one sentence can you sum up Printmaking and Red Hot Press?
It’s challenging, creative and FUN and best enjoyed in company [+ the coffee is free!]

 

L to R: Broad Oak, Two Pink Pears, West Dean. By Jutta Manser

L to R: Broad Oak, Two Pink Pears, West Dean. By Jutta Manser