Katherine Jones: Rabley Drawing Centres new artist in residence - and print maker extraordinary

Written by Tony Millett.

Katherine Jones sketching at the Rabley Drawing CentreKatherine Jones sketching at the Rabley Drawing CentreThe Rabley Drawing Centre at Mildenhall has a new Artist in Residence - print specialist Katherine Jones.  She will be visiting Rabley over the coming months and working on a new portfolio of prints inspired by the countryside that surrounds the Drawing Centre.

Katherine Jones has been a South Londoner for fifteen years - she studied for her MA there - at the Camberwell School of Art (now known as the Camberwell College of Arts): "They had a great print department - and still do."  

Among the public galleries that have bought her works are the Victoria and Albert Museum, the London National Art Library, the House of Lords and Yale University.

For the past three years she has lived with her family - which includes two small and active boys - on a south London housing estate and this estate is the subject of the portfolio of prints she is currently working on.

Recently Katherine was Visiting Artist at Eton College.  She was the third female artist to hold the post.  During her time there she completed a series of sixteen etchings under the title Looking In.

Eton posed a challenge for her: "I responded very directly to what I was seeing - a more journalistic way of looking."  Many of her usual images build on botanical images overlaying them with imaginative metaphors of a fragile world.

There is not much that is fragile about Eton.  Although she did most of her work there in isolation, she found Eton's students 'great fun and obviously very intelligent'. Several of them came to see her work at the London Original Print Fair - and some brought their parents along too.

One of Katherine's difficulties at Eton was simply that since it was founded in 1440, the College and its buildings have so often been represented by artists - some still well known other long forgotten.  She wanted to reflect the history and the College's people in a different way.

Instead of the journalist's notebook, she made dozens of observational water colour sketches - and these became the basis for her subsequent prints which were themselves more representational than much of her work.

From Katherine Jones' Eton Portfolio: 'Chapel' (Sugarlift aquatint etching)From Katherine Jones' Eton Portfolio: 'Chapel' (Sugarlift aquatint etching)    From Katherine Jones' Eton Portfolio: 'Drawing Schools' (Sugarlift aquatint etching)From Katherine Jones' Eton Portfolio: 'Drawing Schools' (Sugarlift aquatint etching)

What, Marlborough.News asked Katherine, led her to choose, out of all the varieties of the plastic and visual arts, print making: "I've always drawn, but with etching the embossed line on a plate is a beautiful thing  - and print making is very addictive."

She explained that the process is in itself an artistic expression:  "As you move a drawn image onto the plate - translating lines into a textural form that will take the ink - you've lost the drawing, but you have the basis for the print version." 

Katherine Jones at work (Courtesy Rabley Drawing Centre)Katherine Jones at work (Courtesy Rabley Drawing Centre)"The image changes a lot in the process - it generates a progression in the work and you can edit it and colours can change."

Last year Katherine Jones had an exhibition at the Rabley Drawing Centre and taught some its members - and she was very pleased to see that the techniques she taught had found fertile ground with one of the artists in the Rabley Summer Show.

In September she will be taking an in depth printing course at the Rabley Drawing Centre - however, we should report that places on that course are already fully booked.

More of Katherine Jones' prints can be viewed on the Rabley Drawing Centre's website

The works shown here remain the copyright of the artist.