Making a poster by Stephanie Sy-Quia, Guest Curator

Now that you’ve all hopefully had some time to take a look at the programme, and which events you might like to join us for, I thought I’d share something else festival-related which I’ve been working on.

I have made a poster for the festival! I make linocut prints, and I’ve always dreamt of making a promotional poster. This felt like the perfect opportunity, so I asked the festival team if I could give it a go and they very generously said yes!

This is by far the most ambitious print I’ve ever set out to make. For starters, the block is the biggest I’ve ever worked on – it’s size A2! And I normally don’t include that much white space in my designs, because it requires carving out so much more of the block. For this print though, I wanted it to be really striking.

I knew that I wanted to incorporate the distinctive clocktower, especially given that this is now Festival HQ or Poetry House. Next, I looked to the lettering of a favourite artist of mine, David Jones. Jones spent time living with Eric Gill in nearby Capel y Ffin, and bore a lifelong love of Wales. His later-career lettering made a significant contribution to the letter-cutting and calligraphic tradition in Britain, and I just love it: it’s so alive, and at the same time, so rooted in the past.

The multitude of winged animals came about quite organically – I was doodling in my sketchbook and began with the reader on the winged horse, but before long I was adding the frog and squirrel. I worried at first it might look too whimsical, but then the Ledbury team reassured me that they liked it, that whimsy was a good thing, and that I should go ahead with it. Hopefully it conveys a great gathering of immense variety, which is what we hope the festival will be.

I don’t have a studio or a proper press, so each of these posters is made completely by hand on my kitchen table – from the inking to the final impression. Consequently, there is variation in ink distribution, or the occasional smudge. The posters will be available in a limited edition and on sale at Poetry House slightly before the beginning of the festival, and all throughout!

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