My Place - Anna Wilkinson

ANNA Wilkinson studied fine art printmaking at Central St Martins in London, gaining a first-class honours degree in 1992.

ANNA Wilkinson studied fine art printmaking at Central St Martins in London, gaining a first-class honours degree in 1992.

Since then she has worked as an artist exhibiting in many galleries in the region and in London.

Anna began working at Northern Print when it first opened on Fish Quay in North Shields in 1994 and became director in 1999.

She has represented Northern Print during two exhibitions by regional artists in Nagoya, Japan, and is the person responsible for Northern Print’s successful move to Ouseburn, Newcastle in 2006.

Anna is married to Tim and they have two sons aged four and 11 months.

Where do you live?

The Tyne Valley

How long have you lived there?

Nearly five years.

What’s your dream home?

The one I live in. Though it might be nice to finish the work one day and maybe even have some door handles!

How do you get around (walk, car, public transport, private jet)?

Because I live in the country, I use the car more than I would like to. Our boys love travelling by train.

What is your favourite part of the North-East?

Northern Print moved to Ouseburn a year ago. After spending many years working on the Fish Quay in North Shields, it’s great getting to know a new place. There’s so much here already and it’s still growing.

What is your favourite building in the region?

Northern Print’s new gallery and studio in Ouseburn, it makes me feel good every time I arrive at work. A lot of people worked very hard to bring it into being and it was a really special experience to be involved in a building project from the initial fund-raising and design through to the opening party. The gallery is especially beautiful.

What is the best holiday you’ve ever had?

The most recent ‘best holiday’ I’ve had was spent in Kintyre in a little house right on the beach. All very simple, but relaxing and memorable.

What’s the favourite thing in your home?

There are lots of pictures in my house and they are reminders of people, places and times. I guess there are two which are probably my favourite things. One is by my dad, it is quite a large and really brief ink drawing of a hillside in Spain, he did it when we were on holiday there a few years ago. The other is by a Japanese printmaker who came to Northern Print in 2001 – it is the most amazingly intensely rich red that glows the moment you step in through the front door.

If you could have one luxury, what would it be?

A sauna in the garden.

What are you working on at the moment?

We’ve got an exhibition opening this week so we’re all very busy with that. The work is by artists who have used the studio during our first year in Ouseburn and it’s a real celebration of everything that has been achieved here so far.

Who or what is the love of your life?

Tim and our boys, of course, and I love printmaking – I grew up in a house with an etching studio and went on to study printmaking at college. I don’t get to make any of my own work any more but I do get a buzz from seeing others. I love the whole materials and process thing; ink, rollers, paper…

Where is your favourite place in the North-East?

The orchard in Aydon Castle, I’ve had some really happy picnics there.

What is your favourite shop?

Stobos for fruit and veg, Liberty’s for luxuries and I like buying presents in RE in Corbridge.

What is your favourite restaurant?

Taste of Persia near the Centre for Life.

Favourite pub?

Café Royal in Edinburgh.

Favourite meal?

One I’ve cooked and shared with family or friends.

Are you any good at cooking and do you spend much time in your kitchen?

I love cooking and I love my kitchen. It has a view of the trees and birds in the garden, some pictures and photographs. I like spending time in the kitchen cooking but I also enjoy sitting at the table with a pot of coffee or a glass of wine and just talking, reading or thinking. I spent last weekend baking for my son’s fourth birthday – cakes and dinosaur biscuits with as much icing and food colouring as possible.

What’s the last play or film you saw?

The last play I went to see was Thumbelina at Northern Stage. The last film I went to see was Atonement.

What book are you reading at the moment?

I usually read the newspaper in bed – until I fall asleep.

What are you listening to on your iPod or CD player?

I only seem to listen to music in the car at the moment and that’s a bit of a lucky dip depending on who else is in the car and what cds have been left there.

What is your favourite TV programme?

I haven’t got one.

What are you proudest of?

Professionally, I’m incredibly proud of everything we have achieved at Northern Print. So many people have worked so hard and believed in what we wanted to do. Personally, I’m really proud of my little boy because he learnt to walk today.

When and where were you happiest?

Now.

Do you have any wisdom to share?

Not really.

What does the future hold?

I’m going to Tallin next week to see an international print triennale. It’s a huge event showing contemporary printmaking from across the world. It would be fantastic to do something on this scale in Newcastle as there really is nothing like it here in the UK. After that it’s the Ouseburn Open Studios weekend then I guess we’re on to Christmas and all that brings. As for 2008 – who knows?

Northern Print celebrates a year in their Ouseburn home, Newcastle, with a special exhibition of prints entitled A Year in Print which opened yesterday and runs until January 12, 2008. To find out more, visit www.northernprint.org.uk or call (0191) 261-7000.

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