30 Jan 2012

Plants and Places

Preface by
Angie Lewin
'When I look through my sketch books and prints, I find a record of past travels, places and plant studies.  Sketchy watercolours remind me of chilly autumn days by the river or on a windswept shingle beach; flicking through my pencil sketches with scribbled colour notes of common sorrel and plantain, I remember that they were made quickly by a hill track, the sketchbook's pages taped down against the wind.'

I first came across Angie Lewins' work when I bought some of her greetings cards in a little shop in Norfolk, not realising that she actually lived and worked not too far away.  I was so impressed with the simplicity of her work and her interpretation of the coastline that I knew so well.

I now have her book 'Plants and Places' which includes the original sketches she made prior to making the lino or wood cuts which are inspired by the natural environment and the images are based on plant forms found in the landscape, whatever the season - mainly flowerstrewn meadows, a Norfolk saltmarsh or a highland loch in the Cairngorms.

Tiny details are what make Angie's prints so full of vigour and beauty

Angie Lewin - Alliums

Her working life seems to be a balance between meticulous prints and an acute observation of nature.  She has an unmistakable style that has developed over the years.

green meadow

She says 'There's a craft to printmaking and a series of processes that must be worked through.  I enjoy these constraints.  I enjoy seeing the transformation from drawn line on paper to the cutting of a line in lino or wood and then the crisp line printed on paper; the challenge of positive and negative shapes and working with the image reversed.'

st. pauls - linocut

lichen and thrift
Printmakers inspire other printmakers, and none has inspired her more than Eric Ravilious who designed dinner services, cups and mugs for Wedgwood.  Like Angie, he also designed fabrics.  One of her favoured  objects is his coronation mug (originally designed for Edward VIII) who was never crowned.  It appears with dried seed heads in an early print.

Eric Ravilious mug
In 2010 she was asked by Coast magazine to produce a lino cut print to re-invent the seaside poster.   The print was auctioned to raise proceeds for the Marine Conservation Society and raised over £2,200.

The Norfolk landscape has been the strongest influence on her work for the last ten years and is the setting for 'Salt' the first novel by Jeremy Page.  Page grew up in Norfolk and he captures perfectly the haunting quality of this beautifully bleak landscape and its influence on the character of the inhabitants of this part of the country.

If you look deeper into her work a whole tiny world emerges, where even the most microscopic insect or seed is a marvel of complexity; where a miniscule crevice is as dense as a rainforest.


  1. I love Angie Lewin's work, and am lucky enough to own this book as a signed copy. Also own a couple of her lithographs/screen prints. As you say, her style is unmistakable.

  2. What an interesting post! Flighty xx

  3. They are lovely illustrations! I'm sure I would enjoy the novel too as when we lived in the Lincolnshire fens we often visited the Norfolk coast and I loved the bleakness and the wide skies - I must look out for it at the library. At present I'm reading the latest Elly Griffiths crime novel - they are always set in and around King's Lynn and the heroine lives out near the saltmarshes in a bleak and lonely landscape:)


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