Light and Shade
The natural journey of Dorset contemporary artist, Laura Evans
In the back of The Picture Frame Workshop in Wareham, you’ll find the studio gallery of Laura Evans, contemporary abstract artist and printmaker. Having worked for ten years as a consultant within environmental archaeology, Laura fell in love with printmaking after taking part in a day workshop run by a local artist. It was here that she discovered the fine art technique of ‘collagraphy’, which involves building up a printing plate from materials, and knew she had to pursue it.
What is a collagraph?
In short, a collagraph is a form of printmaking, which involves building up a printing plate like a collage with materials such as seeds and paper. The plate is then hand-inked, buffed to remove excess ink, and pulled though an etching press under dampened paper, resulting in an image being printed on the paper. It is impossible to ink the plate the same way every time, making each print unique.
Fast forward to 2016, when the previous owner of the framing shop suggested – while framing some of her workshop pieces – that Laura apply for a Purbeck Art Weeks Bursary. Laura’s successful application led to her being awarded the full bursary, which enabled her to buy much-needed printmaking materials and push forward with her career.
Following her first successful Purbeck Art Weeks exhibition at Rollington Barn, Laura took her collagraphy further by developing a way of printing on fabrics, and thus created her first lampshades. The fabrics used – all unique and handmade by Laura – are a labour of love. The fabric has to be washed and ironed multiple times during the process. The inking and printing of the plate can take several hours, and the printed fabric then takes up to a week to dry. It is then adhered to a special shade backing and transformed into a beautiful lamp.
In the winter of 2016, Laura was invited by Sophie Dixon, owner of Seasons Green, Corfe Castle, to take part in an exhibition and display her prints and lampshades together for the first time. Following this (yet another success), Laura enlisted the help of a local woodturner to create beautiful and unique bases for her lamps, made from locally-sourced Dorset wood and finished with brass fittings and custom-coloured cords.
In late 2018, Laura discovered painting and, in 2019, had her work accepted into the South West Academy of Fine & Applied Arts Open Exhibition at Exeter Castle. Later that year, having seen her work, the new owner of The Picture Frame Workshop, Jon Brooke, offered Laura the opportunity to share the shop space with him. Delighted, Laura spent Summer 2020 gradually setting up her gallery space (having been delayed by the pandemic). By September, she had a fully working studio too.
Now working from the very shop that helped kickstart her career, Laura knows the true meaning of coming ‘full circle’. Thrilled to be part of Purbeck’s thriving artistic community, she is looking forward to welcoming people to her studio gallery and running printmaking workshops this summer.
Laura offers a bespoke design service, creating colour match samples and working with clients in their homes to create beautiful lampshades and cushions to complement existing decor. All of Laura’s fabrics are handprinted in her studio, where she creates original, bespoke pieces for the home. She is currently working on designs for handprinted upholstery fabric. Influenced by her background in environmental archaeology, Laura’s paintings are inspired by textures, colours, shapes and the movement of the landscape around her. Her work is an emotional response to this environment, an attempt to express the sense of connection between land, sea and the forces between them. Laura often uses mixed media – oils, acrylics, pastels and mark making – to create the shapes and forms she sees in the landscape. Her gallery features the work of other local artists and makers as well her own paintings and prints.