After 18 years as the warden of two beautiful nature reserves in Kent, I took my Fine Art degree at the University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury in 2011. Over the next few years I set up and ran a couple of community art and atelier projects sharing fine art skills with people who are excluded from higher education, and then somehow ended up in Wigtown, Scotland' official book town. It is a small and remote community of bookshops, cafes and a few musicians and artists who are all leaning towards the analogue in one of the most beautiful rural landscapes of the Machars peninsula and the Galloway hills.
Even before I was diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2016, I have long been passionate about enabling other people's overlooked or underrepresented creative expression, as well as my own. With the recent acquisition and restoration of an 1880's Cropper Minerva printing press and a few other ragtag and stubbornly untechy tools, I am now equipped to do it and hope to share the work of local poets and storytellers. Letterpress printing is a slow but wonderfully meditative craft, composing moveable metal type by hand into small blocks of text which is locked into the press and inked, before being pressed onto paper and left to dry for a few days. I am also making my own images from lino or acrylic engraved blocks which I build to be ‘type high’ and then are added to the text separately. Therefore, one page of a book might pass through the press four times or more if colour is added. All my books are strictly limited to small editions, hand bound and stitched using my own marbled or decorative papers.