Up the Garden Path: Printmakers Exhibition in Coleham
21 Oct 2023

A garden-themed exhibition of work by printmakers from Shropshire and the wider West Midlands aims to celebrate Shrewsbury's status as a town of flowers.  

Up the Garden Path, at the Mrs Jones Art Shop & Gallery this November will deliver a selection of skilful and colourful limited edition prints by seven professional printmakers.

The exhibition is a nod to Shrewsbury’s historic connection with flowers - and our famous Shrewsbury Flower Show and Heart of England In Bloom competition successes. It has been curated by Stephen Vicary who ran the Dotty Dog Print Gallery on Wyle Cop for six years.

Stephen said: “I was very flattered when Faye asked me to create a new show, as it’s given me the chance to work once again with some exceptional printmakers.”

The seven printmakers are experts in their field and include: Welsh based Artist Elly Jones, Stourbridge artist Catherine Bowdler, Northamptonshire-based Sam Marshall and Su Frances, from Lincolnshire. They are joined by local Shropshire artists, Ellie Cliftland, Rachel Quilty and Karen Sillar. Their themed work includes screenprints, etchings, wood engravings, solar plates, linocuts and collagraphs.

Ellie cliflands linocut

Ellie Cliftlands is a Wood Engraver based in Shrewsbury. She has exhibited around the country and currently has work touring with the Society of Wood Engravers’ 85th exhibition. She is constantly inspired by the natural world, particularly the many historical gardens around the country, found at National trust properties and RHS locations.

Due to the nature of the material, and the fact that these stunning gardens are already composed so beautifully by their designers, the subject lends itself extremely well to engraving. "I like to have a building as a focal point to provide juxtaposition with the foliage," Ellie said, adding, "and I like to get a person in there too – it adds a bit of mystery! Wood engraving on the end grain of box or lemonwood allows me to include the high level of detail I enjoy in my work."

A beautiful linocut pigeon by Karen Sillar

Karen Sillar, one of the printmakers involved, who moved to Shrewsbury from further out in the sticks, in rural Shropshire, just over 18 months ago, said: “I’m delighted to have been asked to exhibit some of my work at this dedicated printmaking exhibition at Mrs Jones Art Shop & Gallery.”

She is currently very inspired by the pigeons on Kingsland Bridge!

 ‘We moved into the centre of Shrewsbury from rural Shropshire just over 18 months ago, and I swapped my daily morning dog walks over farmland for walks along the river and through the Quarry in town," Karen says. 

"It’s been lovely to discover the variety of flora & fauna right in the centre of Shrewsbury, and as we only have a relatively small front garden, I have extended my ‘garden path’ to include work directly inspired by these daily walks. My two poodles have learnt to be patient as I take yet another photograph of a leaf canopy or stalk pigeons on Kingsland Bridge!"

Rachael Quilty floral linocut

Fellow printmaker Rachael Quilty describes how she is equally inspired by nature: "Drawing inspiration from the landscape and nature of Shropshire, I focus on line, form and surface pattern in a process of reduction and simplicity."

Up the Garden Path’ runs from November 4th - 25th, 2023 at Mrs Jones Art Shop & Gallery, 118 Longden Coleham, Shrewsbury, SY3 7DU. Open Wednesday to Saturday 10.30am to 4pm.

A floral scene with a bird