Limited-edition reduction prints of the Cornish coast  

Tell us about your background  

I have a degree in fashion and textiles from St Martins School of Art in London. I think my love of pattern shows in my prints. I got into printing quite unexpectedly, as a friend had a gallery which specialised in printmaking, and he told me I should learn so he could sell my work. I love it – I think it suits how I look at things. I try to bring your attention to the little details you might not have noticed, and hope you look a little deeper into my pictures.  

Hazel McNab in her studio

You moved recently to Cornwall, from Shropshire. Why?  

Because it’s so beautiful, and after visiting several times, I realised you don’t just have to be here on holiday – you can actually live here! I’m based above Penzance, and I love that I can get to the sea in all directions. There are so many different landscapes around me here: the moors, woodland, long flat beaches, wild rocky cliffs and the ever-changing sea.  

Where do you find inspiration? 

I have three little dogs and I love walking the coastal paths, looking for compositions and taking photographs to work from. Colour and composition are important to me, and I try to find an image that will draw the eye in to the tiniest detail. I’m never going to run out of inspiration down here. I especially love the challenge of trying to capture water on paper – the sea foam running up the sand, or the flat, wet reflections on a beach. 

Summer days, Logan Rock by Hazel McNab

What exactly is a reduction print? 

It’s when you keep cutting away from the same piece of lino to make the print. This means the image can’t be reprinted, as there’s hardly anything left on the lino by the last colour. That makes it a limited-edition print, as does the fact that I don’t have a press and print by hand using a spoon. It’s time-consuming and can be hard work physically, especially with large prints; these can take me up to four weeks, including at least 50 hours of cutting time. 

Can you explain the process for us, from start to finish? 

The first thing I do is flip the photograph I’m working from, as it prints onto the paper in the mirror image. I don’t do a lot of drawing on the lino – just a few guide lines to make a plan. I begin by cutting away everything I want to stay white (the colour of the paper) then work my way through the colours, cutting away layers as I go. I love colour, and my prints usually have lots of layers, so precision is vital: each time the paper goes down onto the lino to print the next colour, it must go down in exactly the same place.  

What tools and materials do you use?  

I use lots of different sizes of Pfeil cutting tools, and I prefer water-soluble printing inks, mainly because they dry so much quicker and are easier to clean up than the oil-based alternatives. I like a thick paper because I print so many layers. 

Beneath Pendeen by Hazel McNab

You recently joined Cornwall Crafts Association. What benefits does it give you?   

The gallery at Trelissick is a fantastic place to show my work and introduce it to a wider audience. It means more sales, and more opportunities. It’s given me the confidence to take my work seriously and feel like a real artist. I’ve also just joined the Art Space Gallery on the harbour in St Ives. Established in 2000, it’s run by seven local artists who take turns in the gallery. It’s enables me to get out and meet people, which makes a nice change from cutting away in my studio. I’m there every Tuesday – come and say hi and find out more about my work. 

Cornish Crafts Association, Trelissick Gallery, Trelissick, Feock, near Truro, TR3 6QL. 

Tel 01872 864514, www.cornwallcrafts.co.uk, http://www.hazelmcnab.com