About Debra Bowden

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Autobiography

I facilitate printmaking, drawing and book making workshops from my studio in the HUB, Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland, where my handmade cards and prints are also for sale. Upon request, my handmade cards can be personalized to suit your specific needs.

I have over fourteen years experience as an arts educator and enjoy sharing my journey through the facilitation of workshops for both adults and children. My aim is to introduce participants to a variety of environmentally friendly, hand burnished printmaking techniques which can be easily continued at home; all that is required is a table and access to water.

My workshops are for a maximum of 3 adults, a maximum of 4 children and also on a one to one basis. I regularly offer workshops at certain times, but I am also very willing to accommodate dates and workshops to suit you. Please let me know if you have a preference.

I have been designing and making cards and prints since 2002 when I graduated with a Fine Art Printmaking Honours Degree from Dundee University, Scotland. My passion for woodblock printmaking led to a residency in Japan in 2006 when I was honoured to be awarded Artist in Residence to train with master Japanese woodblock printmakers; Shoichi Kitamura, Masahiro Takade and Toru Ueba. I have participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally including; Japan, China, USA, Scotland and Holland. My work is held in the public collections of The Office of Public Works; The Japanese Embassy, Dublin and The Irish Embassy, Tokyo and in the private collections of The Japanese Ambassador’s Residence, Dublin; Italian Ambassador’s Residence, Dublin; Ireland, UK, France, Germany and Australia.

Please visit the Workshops page for full details on upcoming workshops.

Statement

I love working with wood and paper. I combine drawing, painting, collage and printmaking to produce unique, one-off pieces that cannot be reproduced as an edition.

The ancient technique of Japanese woodblock printmaking, Mokuhanga, is at the core of my printmaking practice. Mokuhanga is a hand burnished, environmentally friendly technique dating back to the eighth century. Hand burnishing is a method of producing a print without the use of a printing press. The impression from the block is transferred using a bamboo baren; a Japanese hand held printing pad or a wooden spoon; an easily transportable technique which enables me to produce prints anywhere.

I apply the basic techniques of this ancient art form and often deliberately exploit the printing process by varying the degree of wet and dry ink, paper and woodblock to produce diverse effects of ink-bleeding. This way of working allows me a certain amount of control combined with an understanding of my materials; I am working in collaboration with the ink, paper and wood. Similar to assembled pieces of a jigsaw, I combine woodblocks which I have carved, collaged or left as found pieces. I print with water based inks and pigments onto a variety of Japanese papers.

My inspiration has always been based on my immediate surroundings which, over the years, has evolved from the security of my home to the wider expanse of the universe.

Debra Bowden 2018

Exhibitions

Please see the C.V page for full listings of past exhibitions.