time out

September 25, 2017

This summer I spent some time at Deuchar Mill in the Scottish Borders, at the invitation Helen Douglas, a book artist whose work I’ve long admired. Helen has worked and lived at the mill for over 40 years. Once it’s life as a working granary had ended Helen and Telfer Stokes converted the mill into a home and studio, giving it new purpose through their creative energy and the work made in the studio under the imprint WeProductions. The memory of water powered life at Deuchar Mill is apparent today. Some of the millstones are still held in it’s belly and the paths of the old mill lade that fed the water wheel can still be found amongst the nettles and alder trees. I found the idea of energy flowing through the land and buildings exciting and reflected on the ebb and flow of this whilst I worked.

sunlight on water Yarrow g.laceywater ink sketches g.lacey

No final pieces were made over the 18 days, lots of playing and dreaming was done. I spent a lot of time in Yarrow Water, watching and drawing where it meets and moves around obstacles on it’s way downstream. I used the drawings to make a 5 meter long ink drawing of the river and took this drawing around the place, photographing it moving through the living / workspace.

section of water ink drawing g.lacey


g.lacey river sm

Later I cut a section of the drawing into Japanese ply and printed it. Finally I used the water drawings to choreograph light drawings, moving with l.e.d. lights in front of the studio at twilight. These drawings were documented with long exposure shots from a Diana F camera.

water 5b


Working and walking alongside my partner David Armes who made the most of the letterpress studio that has been recently brought into shape over a number of years with the help of Angie Butler  and her husband Si. It was a real joy to spend time out there.




Princess Ljubica’s residence in Belgrade  was built as a palace and family residence with large central rooms for entertaining, smoking and talking, smaller scale rooms off these  for living. The rooms are now furnished to walk the visitor through each period in Serbian interior design…low level living, rugs and floor cushions move to wall based benching which gives way to the tables and chairs of more western modern living.   Wondering though the rooms on a sunny afternoon I followed the light patterns on the ceiling and a reoccurring portrait imagining what it might be to take residence.



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hill , above, is one of my prints on show in hold, follow at Staithes Studios this month. hold, follow is the result of a solid weeks worth of printing at Staithes Studios this winter, please see the previous post for more detail on this.  I’m showing a series of drypoint prints and artists books alongside prints by David Armes of Red Plate Press, see below for his print sub sea salt bed.



We made these works walking and printing alongside each other. Following the same paths and with a similar aim towards holding a trace of the passage of time through life and the landscape. Visually we have made quite different work, together each series of prints can be read to inform the other.



hold, follow is showing at Staithes Studios until March 26th click here for more info.

Artists’ Book Market

June 17, 2016


GL.draw with itAt BALTIC this weekend

Pictures on walls

April 6, 2016

But not in this blog post I’m afraid, which is essentially notes on 3 shows I saw, at the last minute, a fortnight ago, which means 2 of them have now finished, but still, there are links to more words and pictures if you’re interested.

Group Thirteen are the last of the first intake of the Complete Printmaker course at Hot Bed Press, an open access print workshop in Salford that I’m a member of. The last as in the majority insisted on 2 more years of the 1 year Complete Printmaker course and hence they have completed 3 years of routine, study, daydreaming and break times all in the name of printmaking. As far as I can tell thirteen got through 3 years together and seem set to be a well oiled exhibiting machine into the future.  Group Thirteen, the show, brought the 13 printmakers together, each project installed within it’s own space in the old Cow Lane studios.

My main link to the group is Karen Joyce.  Having driven through the countryside with Karen towards many a book fair over the last few years, oohing at sunsets and ahhing at walls, fields and bridges together,  I think I can see how her work has come about.  Karen showed beautiful trees on a deep purple background…though she called it blue…perhaps forget me not?  See her blog for a more extensive write up of the show and some pictures! Below are links to a few of my favourites.

Gwil Hughes  A wonderful woodcutter conjuring the shift and blurring of tales in old photographs out of found wood.  Large dark images on blood red walls

Lithography works so well for Katy Hollinshead, but I’ve seen her make her delicate drawings of mainly dead animals with woodcut tools too, she just has the right touch.  It’s like Hollinshead’s stroking the creature with the drawing and not in a cute or gross way either.

Ciarrai Samson’s beautifully wrecked plates that have never been printed

Sonja Wellings battered gestural marks shown in an appropriately tattered room reminds me of 2 books of overlayed drypoint drawings called Line and a Line  (you can find them on my book page here) that I made whilst a tenant drawing ceiling cracks at Cow Lane.

Also 2 shows interesting to view in the same day, just down the road from each other.

An exhibition at Salford Art Gallery by Heart and Sold an organisation who represent international artists with down syndrome. Favourites included Peter EscottRachel HellerFiona Stevenson and Richard Cloake on until June 5th.

Inside Out a Castlefield Gallery exhibition exploring the notion of outsider art. Including, Darren Brian Adcock’s excellent pen, sound and light drawings, Mit Senoj’s flora figures and co-curator David Maclagen’s oil bar drawings  The show has now finished but you can read the Creative Tourist review.

Next time I’ll take pictures.







February 24, 2016


What have I been doing since my last post…who knows!  I will try to get with it and back track over the next few weeks to catch up with myself. In the meantime you could have a look at this Patti Smith zine I contributed to – musings on the phenomenon that is the Patti Smith effect – compiled by the ace Cherry Styles or visit me at the 19th Leeds International Contemporary Artists Book Fair in Leeds next weekend.

Friday 16th and Saturday 17th October

11am – 5pm

The Holden Gallery

Manchester School of Art 

Exhibitions. Artist’s tables. Reading room. Workshops. Suppliers.

see here for more details

Bristol and back

April 17, 2015


And with a blink and a rub of the eyes Bristol Artists Book Event was over for another 2 years.  As I had a table to myself this year I had very little chance to get out and see and speak to all the folks I might but I sat and watched and folks came to me and so did wonderful tea and cake, they are such very good hosts, the Bristol Artists Book folk.  Thank you to all of those who came and stood (one even sat) and took the time to free their hands to pick up and look, first one page, then another, through my books.  I know how thoroughly overwhelming a book arts fair with 80 stands can be. Overstimulating, exciting, exhausting. It’s a rare being who can give all 80 stands equal time and value and must be superhuman…a strange new sort of superhuman, purely evolved to cope with such a concentrate of book and art….I realised most of my books do need 2 hands to look at them, they rarely shout in colour or mark, they do need a bit of time. Sometimes people look indifferent, sometimes the books make people sad, sometimes I hear a little joy. It’s a strangely intimate experience and unlike showing work in so many other art forms. I cherish the moments I have shared at the book fairs and wonder if there are other ways I could do this more.

Gemma Lacey.Longing Cabinet.wood print

I’m really pleased to have had a print chosen for the Salisbury Print Open. And so from Wednesday evening (1st October) it should be possible to see the print ‘Longing Cabinet’ and the block ‘Longing Cabinet’ it was made from showing side by side* for a month.

*via a line almost straight up the country from Salisbury Arts Centre to Neo Gallery, Bolton.

more summer days

August 25, 2014

Gemma phone_20140811_001a walking day in London


Gemma phone_20140814_001a cycling day in Manchester


IMG_6052a space odyssey in the post day