Picture of Anna Johnson, Pandora Johnson and Steve Allen

Studio Chat wtih Green Door Making Studio

Mon, 01/08/2022 - 12:53

Ever wondered what it's like in a busy printmaking studio and the world of Green Door?  We caught up with Pandora and Steve recently to find out what they've been up to.

Tell me a bit about Yourselves?

We are partners Pan and Steven, and together we run Green Door Printmaking Studio; an open access printmaking studio based on the ground floor of Banks Mill Studios. Green Door was founded by Anna Johnson (My [Pan’s] mother) in 2006, after graduating from the University of Derby. After my mother retired in 2018, the day-to-day running of the studio was handed over to us both. The studio’s ethos is making printmaking education and facilities accessible to all, through courses, open access facilities and exhibitions. We host two major annual projects throughout the year; the Derby Print Open and the International Print Exchange.

What are you currently grappling with in the studio?

We have just recently finished up one of our major events, the Derby Print Open, so we’re currently focused on our next project; the International Print Exchange, the deadline for submissions for which is 31st August. We are also back to running courses full time in the studio as well as working on our own personal projects.

Do you have any rituals in the studio, what are they?

Running an open access studio we have to be fairly organised with the day-to-day, but we always start the day with a cup of tea!

What’s your preferred medium/what do you work with?

Both of us come from illustration backgrounds, but within the medium of printmaking we tend to shift focus for our own personal work between a few different techniques. Steven’s current preferred process is monoprinting and I have been exploring linocut and woodcut, but we both have a love for screen printing.

What do you have planned for future work?

Our current, upcoming project is the International Print Exchange, where we invite printmakers from all over the world to submit a mini edition of prints, which will be sorted and ‘exchanged’; each participating printmaker will receive a random selection of the prints as well as have their work showcased in an exhibition (at Banks Mill in October) and on the website. We are also looking forward to hosting our first Wazygoose event on Sat 27th August, where the studio will be open to the public, showcasing some of our member’s work, demonstrating some of our printmaking techniques and to celebrate both printmaking and 16 years of Green Door!

Who/What Inspires you and your work?

Steven has always been inspired by the caricature work of Gerald Scarfe and Ralph Steadman, but has been heavily influenced by Nannette Wallace’s monoprints recently. My work is influenced by my interest in Eastern design and pattern, a sense of the fantastical and my love of mark making. 

Do you have any advice that you would recommend to other artists and makers?

It is never too late to pick up a new skill or learn something you have always wanted to pursue. Something we have definitely learnt from our community of printmakers is that sharing knowledge is the way to preserve and evolve the process of creating. We are each other's resource and support.

Which guests would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?

Steven: I’ve always been a huge fan of Terry Pratchett. I’ve read pretty much every book he ever wrote and, unfortunately, never got a chance to meet him in person.

Pan: Tove Jansson, the creator of the Moomins. 

If you weren’t an artist/maker and could choose any career, what would it be?

Steven: I think I would’ve liked to become a writer of some sort. Either that, or a musician, but as long as it’s something creative, I think I would enjoy myself regardless!

Pan: I have always wanted to manage an art gallery, this is something I still eventually hope to be able to do in connection with Green Door.

What have you celebrated in the last 12 months, personally or professionally?

During the last 12 months, the studio has been back in full swing, organising and hosting our 5th Derby Print Open as well as our 14th International Print Exchange. Personally, we have both also developed and exhibited our own solo shows, ‘Where Flowers Bloom…’ and ‘Måske’.