Haychley Webb is a linocut printmaker based in Norwich and is on a mission to get as many people as possible to try the immersive art from. Here she explains how sitting and carving for hours has really helped with her anxiety over the years
I’m Haychley from Stellabox and I’m a linocut printmaker based in Norwich. I’ve been making linocut prints for five years now and I’m as hooked on the medium as I was when I first started. I’ve suffered from anxiety for years and never found anything helped until I discovered linocut printing. When I’m sat at my desk carving out a design, I can lose myself for hours. I often put an audiobook or podcast on and everything else just falls away.
I hear a lot of people talk about mindfulness and I find linocut printing to be one of the best ways of helping me to stay present in what I’m doing in that moment. It’s such a physical medium that you really feel like you’ve achieved something when you pull a print.
There’s the smell of the ink, the physical effort involved in printing by hand and the satisfaction of seeing something you’ve made in front of you.
Some of the worst physical symptoms of anxiety for me are feeling like I’m not able to properly catch my breath. When I’m sat carving, I often find it’s almost like meditation; my breathing slows right down, and I feel like I’m in total control of it.
There’s really no end to what you can print too which is something that really appeals to me.
A lot of my prints feature the sculptures and natural world in Norwich and Norfolk, but you really can print anything you can design. If you can think it, you can print it. You can create a print of a beloved family pet or the view from your kitchen window.
It doesn’t need to cost the world to get started, either. My trusty wooden spoon that I’ve used for years to make prints comes from my baking cupboard at home.
I teach linocut workshops in Norwich, and I always try to make participants feel as relaxed as possible. I always dread the whole ‘go round the room and tell us an interesting fact’ thing people often ask for so there’s none of that at my workshops! I know from experience that it can be a huge step for someone to even book onto a class to learn something new. I’ve found such joy in teaching linocut and seeing that expression on someone’s face when they pull their first print that it really helps me as much as the participants!
Haychley is running linocut workshops for beginners throughout October and November, at Studio 20, Wensum Street, Norwich. Visit stellabox.co.uk and stellabox.bigcartel.com to find out more. Follow @stellaboxdesigns in Instagram.