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Backgound

At home, there were always off-cuts of paper, soft pencils and black pressed tin paint boxes with ceramic pans of intense colour (my favourites were carmine and ultramarine).

Winter afternoons were often spent at the kitchen table drawing and painting; how things looked, how they grew, were structured and coloured, what patterns they made. My mother trained as a graphic designer at Norwich Art School in the 1930s. Whilst she cooked, ironed, gardened and organised everyone, our artistic efforts were always backed by informed suggestion and more importantly by encouragement. So my brothers and I grew up with colour and shape in our DNA, not just on paper, but around the house, out in the garden, and far beyond on holidays across the British Isles…..



As a teacher I loved the fun and magic the children discovered in basic printing methods. We went on to make designs into repeats with drops and half drops, with stencils, string blocks, jigsaw blocks and monoprints. The children were rightly very proud of their results.

So, much later, after a career in teaching with my main focus on art development in middle school years, I went back to my roots. I now have a studio just across the yard. It’s my domain, where I cut lino, make collagraph blocks and now hope to develop my work in etching too. My husband William Calladine designed a lovely juggernaut of a press for me which is a joy to use.

I recently found this tucked in my mother’s folios, and I remember painting it. The label on the back reads Teddy Bears Picnic, Painted by Ruth Catherine Young (that’s me) when she was eight years old, in 1958.


In recent years, I’ve been privileged to learn much from working with Richard Bawden and Laurie Rudling. Now that eco-friendly methods of etching and cleaning plates are possible I intend to pursue it further here at home. Line and tone give me a chance to develop different print ideas ……… but for now back across the yard!

Some of my earliest memories (aged about four or five I think) are of going to work with my father on Saturday mornings. The Soman Wherry Press were a firm of commercial printers in Heigham Street in Norwich.

I was allowed to roam (or so it seemed) from one part of the building to another. First to the office with typewriters and carbon paper, then the studio with tall drawing boards and jars of pens and pencils (no computer generated designs – real drawing and lettering!). On to the factory’ with piles of paper at the ready, big Heidlberg presses, squishy printing ink, hot metal type, huge guillotines, and that glorious smell of paper and ink. Magic!