Squashed Tomato Prints
Carolyn has a shop on etsy. She designs, carves and prints textiles; scarves, t-shirts, bags etc plus some personalised items. She did her Masters (Royal College of Art) in Printmaking. She teaches Art in Secondary and Primary schools in London. We have conducted an interview with her.
How do design theme/ideas such veganism and Chinese paper cutting come into art work?
I’ve been interested in Chinese culture, in particular the art forms, for many years. Such an ancient culture with a very different aesthetic to Western styles is rich in ideas that are new to me.
I’ve been vegetarian on and off,(mainly on) since a teenager, it’s hard to ignore the suffering that animals go through daily to provide food for us. I’m working towards being fully vegan, I started making the printed items partly for a friend, partly as a goad to myself.
What kind of value adding services do you provide for the t-shirt designs for your clients?
Some of my items, in particular the kids and digital prints are personalised. Also I can take custom orders. Any print that you see can be put in combination with any other print onto any item. It’s quite flexible as the blocks are ready cut. I don’t need to make up a screen for new designs. I gift wrap all my sales too, as it’s so lovely to get a present in the post rather than an item squashed up in one of those plastic postage bags.
Which materials/fabric do you use for personalised items and print textiles?
I’m really fond of viscose for the scarves, it takes the ink beautifully and it’s a natural fibre despite what the name suggests and can be made from sugar cane, soy or wood cellulose. It looks and feels similar to cotton, but seems to be a bit more absorbent.
Which are the places do you normally get your inspirations for the printmaking?
Sometimes someone asks me for something specific; football boots or a shark and I have to research an image I would not of my own choice have drawn.
My husband is a teacher of Ancient History, the interest I have in Classics (Athena’s owl, the Roman coin images) would not have developed on its own, but now I read books about Greek culture before bed!
The items that celebrate the living kidney donors are a tribute to my husband who donated a kidney to my twin brother 4 years ago, (both of them are doing very well!) A percentage from these sales goes to the charity Kidneyresearchuk
Why did you name your shop 'Squashed Tomato Prints'?
I chose the name Squashed Tomato Prints as I wanted something with a flavour of the English, which I most definitely am. It seems a peculiar trait of the English to make fun of themselves and others on occasions that might be either serious or celebratory. The version of Happy Birthday that first comes to mind when I'm asked to sing it - "Happy Birthday to you, squashed tomatoes and stew, you look like a monkey and you smell like one too!" is an example of this not always suitable humour. I have plenty of friends from other cultures, (one of the reasons I enjoy living in London) and I’ve asked around, there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent elsewhere; but if there is I’d love to hear about it.
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