Printmaking and Healing
This tells a story of the transformative power of printmaking, a tactile, kinaesthetic art form which offers a sanctuary for mindfulness and well-being. Making the transition from a finance career, I unravel how hand-carving linoleum blocks became a catalyst for deep healing.
Hi, I’m Nusye McComish, aka SouthSeaEyes Printmaker. A few years ago I was deep in the world of financial analysis and rather fond of spreadsheets. Throughout the pandemic lockdowns, I jumped ship to the tactile realm of printmaking – possibly an uncommon scenario – and it has been cathartic.
Psychologists and artists alike have been known to discuss the healing properties of creative catharsis, and here I propose that printmaking is a sterling example. The tactile engagement of carving transcends mere physical action – it becomes a deliberate and mindful endeavour. As you pick up and hold the sharpened, specialised relief printmaking tool, your attention narrows to the task at hand. Each curve and line in the design on the block demands precision. This focuses your attention on the tip of the sharpened point of your gouging tool, landing gently yet firmly onto the linoleum surface, which offers resistance against the pointy end. As you press firmly with the sharpened tip, your brain registers when the surface material yields to the gouging action of your hand – providing a direct feedback loop onto your brain, giving a sense of control and agency.
Easing Your Mind
This process is intensely focused; your mind ceases the chatter as it calms and aligns with the actions of your hands, dovetailing each movement with care and, importantly, intent. This is a meditative symbiosis between mind and matter, where the artistry – the magic – lies as much in the act of carving that linoleum block, as in the final resultive print. This concentrated alignment of hand and mind working slowly together is a craftsmanship and this anchors you, offering respite from external pressures and creating a sanctified space for a healing process to occur.
Where before this, I was enmeshed in the relentless numbers cycles of financial analysis, I found an unexpected welcome in printmaking. My journey from spreadsheets to linoleum blocks may seem odd, and yet it has saved my mind. I moved from high-stress corporate demands to the tactile, slow-hands, meditative realm of carving and gouging battleship grey, hessian-backed linoleum, discovering along the way the undeniable impact of tactile creativity on my mental well-being. The act itself became my mind’s safe haven. Now, as a committed printmaker, I don’t just create lino prints, I facilitate printmaking workshops which serve as a sanctuary for others. In these spaces, I encourage attendees to explore the grounding experience of printmaking and use it as a platform for soothing self-expression. My writings aim to share my transformational experiences, as a personal journey and insight as a boxed-in-finance-careerist turned printmaker. If you’re a professional feeling the squeeze and considering a pivot for your own mental health, know this: change is not just possible, it’s liberating.
SouthSeaEyes PRINTMAKING Workshops
All tools & materials are provided for you & loved ones.Options include: lino printing, rubber block stamping, gel plate printing, on paper, greetings cards, and textured papers. Hand-bound sketchbooks optional.
WHERE – CourtX Southsea, Eastern Parade, PO4 9RF
WHEN – 3pm – 6pm, Sundays of:Sunday 8 October, 3-6pm Sunday 12 November, 3-6pm Sunday 10 December, 3-6pm
By Nusye McComish