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Printmaking, Secret Postcards & Fairy Tales....

Di Oliver is a printmaker based in Milton Keynes, whose work has been selected for exhibitions in Europe, the US and Japan,  we heard from Di back in April when she'd been using the time lockdown had given her to de-clutter her workspace.

Just over two months on we catch up with Di and find out what else she's been up to and why she enjoys printmaking.

"I've been a printmaker for around 40 years - I love the process, the technical part as well as the artistic part - there are so many ways of expressing ideas with printmaking.

I get satisfaction of every stage of the process, although the ideas stage can at times be challenging when it comes to crystallizing the idea into an image.

This Summer The Royal West of England Academy in Bristol (RWA) invited me to submit postcard sized prints for their "Secret Postcard" fund raising exhibition.

This is an annual auction and offers the chance to purchase unique works of art by leading figures from the art and cultural world from just £40. 

The artists remain a secret until after the auction, buyers either have to guess who the big name artists are or just buy what they like. This years big name artists included the likes of Grayson Perry and Anthony Gormley. Bidding on each work starts at just £40, which is a very reasonable price for a unique piece of art, and if it turns out to be by an internationally famous artist, it might just be the bargain of the century! 

Both my prints were sold so I felt really pleased that I was able to make a contribution.

Bidding has closed for this year but if you would like to know more visit:

This hasn't been my only dealing with the RWA, in 2016 I was invited to show an altered book as well as prints in their exhibition "Strange Worlds - The vision of Angela Carter" .

Altered books are art made from existing books, it changes a book from it's original form into a different form, altering it's appearance and/or meaning  - I learnt bookbinding at university on my Fine Art course and have made artist's books with my prints.

The altered book in the RWA exhibition was one I made about the way my work has always been influenced by the book of Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales that I had as a small child.

Last year my Fairy Tale book was also shown in the 'Once upon a Time' exhibition organised by Zuleika Gallery and Blackwells Rare Books at North Walls Gallery in Oxford .

I asked Di how she'd found lockdown and whether she had managed to continue with her art practice.

I have found Lockdown challenging at times, my husband died a couple of years ago and I thought I had got used to life on my own. Enforced solitude and isolation from my family has proved harder than I expected, however being creative is the perfect way to deal with the situation and I have enjoyed making new work.

I've enjoyed having an insight into Di's work, particularly Di's altered book, I love how a book can be so beautifully transformed. It's an art form which dates back to the medieval era, when it was common to recycle manuscripts written on vellum by scraping off the ink and adding new text and illustrations on top of the old. It's come on a lot since then of course and I find it fascinating to see how a book can change from it's original form into a piece of artwork!

If you would like to see more of Di's work visit:

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