One of the presents that I was most looking forward to receiving this Christmas was Angie Lewins new book, Plants and Places.
Featuring over 80 of Angie's amazing prints and with text written by Leslie Geddes-Brown, the book explores the influences and methods that result in her incredible artwork.
Split into chapters defined by geographical regions (Coast, Woodland, Meadow etc), the book includes images of sketchbooks, photo's and finished prints, as well as an insight into how Angie views the world around her.
In the book itself Angie talks about the print processes that create these beautiful images and the fact that she uses a number of different printing techniques, depending on the desired finished effect. For example, for large areas of flat colour she likes to use screen printing or linocut and for smaller, more detailed images she uses wood engravings, carved from small blocks of the densest wood she can find (often holly, pear or lemonwood).
Having originally studied at Central Saint Martins in London, Angie worked as an illustrator and also studied garden design, but it was a move to Norfolk that led to her return to printmaking.
Taking inspiration from the surrounding Norfolk countryside and coastline, as well as the Scottish Highlands, Angie's work features incredible natural landscapes.
But landscapes with a difference, because rather than focusing on the huge sweeping views of the Highlands or the vastness of the North Sea she looks closer to home at the grasses and leaves beneath her feet. And captures a beauty in the wildflowers and weeds that dot her landscape, that most of us would never even notice.
Having discovered Angie's artwork a number of years ago, I've tried many times to put in to words why it has such a strong effect on me.
Her coastal work effects me the most. As I've written before, I spent a part of my childhood in Dungeness and although Angie's work is not based in that part of the country it still evokes memories and emotions that transport me straight back to my childhood days spent exploring the beaches and marshes.
But it's not just that. Her use of graphic imagery and deep colours remind me in so many ways of my grandmothers house, which was the only constant I had as an Army child. The use of the Portmerion ceramics that my grandmother still owns, the thistles that grew in her garden, the deep blues and greys that dominated the landscape, the seedheads and crystal encrusted beach stones. It all feels so familiar to me and so personal.
And that's what I love so much about her work. The incredible, detailed images capture more than just a dot on a landscape, they capture a feeling and an emotion that can transport you to a more beautiful place.
As I had hoped it would be, this is a truly stunning book with a plethora of images that are almost overwhelming in their detail and depth of colour.
And at almost 200 pages long, Plants and Places offers so much to look at that you'll find yourself coming back to it again and again. Each time discovering a new aspect to a print, noticing details and colours that you hadn't noticed before.
At £25 this is not a cheap book (although you can get it for almost £10 off at Amazon), but if you are in any way a fan of Angie Lewin or printmaking, it truly is worth every single penny and I highly recommend it.
And if you want to learn more about Angie or St. Judes, the Gallery in Norfolk run with her husband Simon, you can read more here and here. And if you want to find out more about the truly beautiful textiles produced by St. Judes, you can do so here.
Angie Lewin : Plants and Places, text by Leslie Geddes-Brown, is published by Merrel.