An Inky Evening with Sue Molineux – Talk and demo 26 January

Reporter: Anne Grimshaw

SudSoc NewsJournal 26 January 2018 meeting


The first meeting of the year in the new venue of the All Saints Hall on Church St (the old school) was something a little different. We have probably all walked past the Print Workshop at Gainsborough’s House on Weavers Lane but few of us know much about it. What actually goes on there? Who uses it? Can anyone use it? What’s it for?

Sue Molineux, Technician at Gainsborough’s House Print Workshop, enlightened us. It is a facility for fine art (handmade) printing of various kinds: etching, drypoint, screen printing, linocutting and pretty much anything else that can be used to make prints. What’s more, it is one of the best such facilities in England.

It is used by Friends of GH, schoolchildren, private individuals, course attendees for the Print Workshop runs short courses in printmaking. Ages range from 7 to 93 and come from all walks of life and from all over Britain and a few from abroad. Specialist tutors instruct on various techniques of printing.

Sue gave a demonstration of the simplest type of printing: inked fingers. A more sophisticated technique uses perspex into which the design has been scratched or engraved (intaglio) so that the ink lodges in the groove of the ‘scratch’ and surplus wiped off. Paper is laid over the design and pressed/rubbed on to it using the back of a spoon. At the workshop one of the two printing presses is used with, as might be expected, better results!

Linocuts are, obviously, made from linoleum, warmed first to make it easier to work. The design is drawn or otherwise applied to the lino. Unlike intaglio, lino makes a relief print, in other words, the flat surface of the lino is inked and the parts between are cut away to form the design.

There are variations on these two techniques using other materials such as wax-covered zinc where the wax is cut away.

Sue showed some of her work which ranged from using an inked mulberry leaf to a simplified version of Gainsborough’s painting of his daughters which resembled a children’s colouring book – sort of painting by numbers. Another print had been banned by London galleries… an outline of a woman in a niqab next to a woman with a Playboy bunny outfit – all drawn like a child’s cut-out paper doll with cut-out clothes with tabs to ‘dress’ the doll. Many of her prints are quirky and clever.

Sue obviously loves her job and the people she meets. Many of whom inspire her. And who are these people? Teenagers – young people with passion, ideas, enthusiasm, creativity – the ones who never make the negative headlines – they are an inspiration, says Sue.

Although born a Brummie, lived in Essex, Sue loves Sudbury and lives here.