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Drawing on coastal inspiration: an interview with Rebecca Drury

Rebecca's 'Sleeping Badger' has become a firm FOLDE favourite, so we thought it was time to learn more about the talented artist behind the print.

What first drew you to printmaking, and how long have you been doing it?

I made my first linocut as a teenager, but I really started printmaking almost ten years ago. I learned to print at the St Barnabas Press and Curwen Press in Cambridge. Then, when I moved back to Dorset, I joined Poole Printmakers, which is a membership-led cooperative with a wonderfully welcoming community of printmakers. Printmaking is really accessible, and I love the endless versatility it offers.

How does being a wildlife conservationist influence your work?

Growing up on the Purbeck coast gave me a fascination and love for the natural world which inspires my prints and also led me into conservation. My career has taken some major turns since starting out as a dolphin watch volunteer at Durlston Country Park in my teens, and I now work in international conservation focusing on reducing illegal trade in threatened species. Other than my pangolin print (sadly, pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world), my printmaking tends to focus on wildlife and landscapes closer to home.

What inspires the linocuts that you create?

Even in Cambridge my printmaking was of the Dorset coast and its wildlife. In retrospect, it is perhaps no surprise that I moved back to Dorset with my young family in 2015. My prints are often created with a particular person in mind or based on my favourite spots on the Purbeck coast. For example, I designed Sleeping Badger for my husband, Playing at Lulworth Cove for my son - we lived in West Lulworth when the children were very small and spent all our time at the cove, Edith’s Fox for my daughter, Garden Grow thinking of a talented gardener friend, and Pangolin in celebration of an incredible colleague.

We've spotted badgers, robins, foxes and otters in your work - do you have a favourite?

I am fond of two of my badger prints because they have both led to events that encouraged me to share my prints more widely with the world. I have vivid memories of encountering badgers on the coast path on Ballard Down at dusk. Badgers have been part of the British landscape for millennia, are much-loved characters in the stories we all grew up with, but are also still persecuted. I am keen to better represent less celebrated species that could do with greater care and attention. I am currently working on a print featuring the Lulworth Skipper, which has a very limited range on a particular stretch of Dorset’s coastline, making it a very local treasure.

Tell us the story of Edith's Fox

My daughter Edith has a soft toy fox she had had since a baby and she has never spent a night without and goes on every family adventure. When it came to making her a print, it was the obvious subject. Now she has many foxes watching over her as she sleeps!

We've spotted you have a flair for brightly printed lampshades - tell us more about that...

I searched high and low for lampshade paper so I could handprint lampshades in for my own home. Since then, I have worked on a few commissions, and added more designs. My favourite so far was a request for pangolins in fuchsia pink and yellow. My latest otters design has been developed specifically with lampshades in mind.

You have some landscapes in development that are looking rather lovely, are these coming out as prints soon?

Thank you – yes, I have a few things on the go. I have designs based on West Lulworth, Kimmeridge, Ballard Down and Weymouth beach all in various stages of progress. These are all reduction linocuts, which takes time, but they will all hopefully be ready by the time the daffodils are blooming again.

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