Nicki Dennett – printmaker

1.Red SkyThere are books, prints, paintings and drawings covering every inch of spare space in the home of artist Nicki Dennett.

But there’s one shelf which takes pride of place as far as she is concerned and that is the one housing her vast collection of sketch books.

She says she rarely leaves the house without one (unless it is to do chores) and always makes sure she has it with her when she goes walking and camping in the Peak. “I jot down whatever I see. It is more like a journal really I guess. I always take them on holiday and love drawing what’s going on around me. I like to capture people going about their lives,” she said.

Nicki pulls one of the shelf and inside the cover are also mementoes such as tickets and postcards from the trip she has painstakingly recorded by hand on the sketchbook pages.

There are drawings of insects and birds, seaside scenes, buildings, boats and bones and the all important colour swatches. It is this attention to detail that is prevalent in the artwork Nicki is gaining a reputation for producing at her Derby home.

She is a printmaker and, using her sketchbook inspirations, she makes stencils, scratches and distresses the surface of card-based plates before inking them and putting them through the press.

Some of her finished prints have a multitude of layers using several effects and the results are fascinating. Her work is now sought after by galleries and she has had a long-running exhibition at libraries in the county(at Alfreton until April) and she also has five pieces of work at the Royal Derby Hospital alongside other Morph Creatives until the autumn.

On top of that Nicki is staging a solo exhibition called Amid The Hills at Deda in Derby until May 31.

Amid The Hills takes its inspiration from her love of walking in the Peak District. Many of the prints on show incorporate at combination of solar etchings, monoprints, collagraphs and the use of stencils within a single image.

There are also some pieces which are blind embossed, meaning printing without using ink in order to create an embossed texture on the surface.

Nicki opted for the life of an artist after going to college to study as a mature student.

“Before I took this path I was a hairdresser. I had left school with no idea what I wanted to do and my Saturday job was at a hairdressers so I just carried on from there. “I guess I was still using my creative side because I used to be good at all the weird and wonderful styles and even won some cups for my efforts,” she said.

After being faced with a change in circumstances years later Nicki took the opportunity to go to Chesterfield College to do a Foundation Course in art and design and the followed it up with a part time degree in Illustration which took her six years to complete.

When she finished in 2006 she set about taking her work to an impressive list of festivals and exhibitions and has won some awards.

“The awards did a lot to boost my self confidence in those early days. “I still find it hard to think people like my work but it seems it really is the case and I am delighted. I am truly excited about how it may all develop in the future,” she said.

Go to http://www.nickidennett.co.uk for more details about her technique and exhibitions.