Hi there! Today we are over the moon to feature Alice Rolfe on the Made in Bristol blog. Alice is a power house of local creativity, running her screen printing label (Rolfe&Wills), her artists studios and recently became a shop owner (with a group of local artists) at Paper Plane. We caught up with Alice to find out more...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work?
Hello! I’m Alice Rolfe from Rolfe&Wills. I hand screen print my drawings and designs onto environmentally friendly and sustainable clothing and homewares. My designs are often inspired by colours found in nature, and local Bristol scenes.
Apart from creating things what else do you do?
I’m very busy running my business, I work up to 10-12 hours a day, but when I have the weekend off I’ll try to go camping, or have a bbq or picnic with friends...
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
That’s a tricky one... I know I have always been creative, I grew up in the country side and used to go off with a flask and pencil and pad when I was about 6 or so, but I don’t think I considered myself as an artist until about 2/3 of the way through my fine art degree.
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline?
With printing there is an interesting crossover between being 100% precise and just letting the design do what it likes... experimentation is fun, and I learn a lot when I don’t worry about lining things up. But then if you’re going to print it on mass, the design has to be exactly the same each time.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I find inspiration from colours found in nature. The colours in my Triangle design cushion for example come from daises and snowdrops. I also love maps, and my notebook designs are inspired by land markings and travel signs.
Describe your studio or workspace?
I converted a 900 sq ft garage into a print studio where 6 others and myself work. It’s a lovely bright and airy space with a high ceiling. It’s a great place to spend my time. The other people in the studio work in a similar field so although I run Rolfe&Wills alone, I feel like they are my colleagues.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
It would have to be Louise Bourgeois... During my fine art days, she was a huge inspiration to me and I love her work. Up until she died she did ‘Sunday Salons’ in her New York apartment – you could book a slot and have a group critique. I thought about it just never had the guts!
How would you describe your creative process?
An idea generally pings into my head. I jot it down and sit of it (not literally) for a few weeks or months. Things move fast though, so I often have to adapt it a bit to bring it up to date. I’ll do a few drawings and eventually transfer it to the computer to adapt it for printing. About 90% of printing is in the preparation, getting the images ready and the screens exposed. Finally you get to print, one colour is applied and let dry. Then another colour is layer on top, and sometimes a third. You can create 6 colours with three layers of print, so it can get quite complex.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have a ring which was my grandmothers’. It is made up of her and my Grandad's initials. It’s beautiful, unusual and completely unique – I love it!
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut?
Not having ideas isn’t really a problem, a creative rut for me would be more about motivation. It normally comes when I’m tired and have been working too hard, a nice trip to Somerset will fix that.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I’d definitely like to be sat where I am now, in my studio. Maybe have a part time employee to do all the admin! I guess I’d like to have a strong online presence as well as stocking a variety of independent shops.
Thank you Alice! It's been lovely to catch up with you again. Your work is always to cheerful, we love it! You can find Alice's gorgeous screen printed homewares in our Paper Scissors Stone shop.
Paper Scissors Stone
Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm
Sun: 11am - 5pm