The Norwich stationery designer making a big impression

Norwich-based printmaker Haychley Webb

Norwich-based printmaker Haychley Webb - Credit: Haychley Webb

Haychley Webb is a traditional linocut printmaker based in Norwich. She runs her own small business, Stellabox, and also designs greeting cards and wooden stamps. Her prints are inspired by nature, history and folklore, with a little magic thrown in for good measure. We find out more.

Haychley Webb's print The Crow

Haychley used her finest carving tools to create a feathered effect for the tree details on the print, The Crow - Credit: Haychley Webb

How and when did you discover printing and what do you like about it?
I’ve been making linocuts for nearly four years now. I stumbled across it completely by accident.

I was looking for a medium to express myself that wasn’t digital and didn’t involve paint and voila, I discovered linocut printing.

I’m completely self-taught and I’ve learned from watching other printmakers online and reading books on the subject. 

The whole printmaking process from design to carving to printing is so fulfilling to me.

I can’t see the thrill of linocut fading anytime soon.

I think what I like most is the freedom to create whatever you want. If you can imagine it, you can carve it.

My personal philosophy around printmaking is to hopefully inspire others to take up this wonderful medium.

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You just never know what someone could create inspired by watching your printmaking processes and that thought is so exciting to me.

Haychley Webb's hand printed Christmas cards based upon a larger print called Forage

Haychley's hand printed Christmas cards based upon a larger print called Forage - Credit: Haychley Webb

Can you tell us a bit about the printing process?
For me, it usually starts on my iPad.

I like to draw my designs digitally, working up and developing ideas, usually over several weeks.

When I’m happy with a design, I print it using a desktop printer and transfer the design into a lino block (the grey hessian-backed type usually) using tracing paper.

Next is my therapeutic time when I spend many hours hunched over my lino block carving the design using fine Swiss tools with a history podcast playing in the background and the pitter-patter of my cat’s feet on the windowsill at the end of my desk.

Once a design is carved, it’s inked up for the first time and I have a magical few seconds peeling back the paper of a test print to see how my design looks printed for the first time.

I often document these peel reveals on my Instagram in little videos.

Most of my linocuts are printed by hand using a wooden spoon or a baren (by rubbing the back of the paper) but I do have also have a small printing press.

The digital version of Haychley's folklore inspired print, Red Sky in the Morning

The digital version of Haychley's folklore inspired print, Red Sky in the Morning - Credit: Haychley Webb

What is currently inspiring your work?
I definitely feel like being at home a lot more has made me take a better look at the area and environment around me.

It’s made me appreciate the little things in life more and I guess in a way has made me a lot more curious about folklore as an escapism for what’s happening in the world today.

I’ve found myself drawn to the wide open spaces in the Norfolk Broads away from the anxieties that crowds and people can bring at the moment.

I’m currently working on two prints inspired by Norfolk.

Both of them are currently in digital form and will be made into linocut prints over the coming weeks.

The first is quite a traditional scene of The Broads with a windmill in the background and a heron fishing in the foreground surrounded by ears of wheat.

The digital version of Haychley's print of the Norfolk Broads that she is currently carving

The digital version of Haychley's print of the Norfolk Broads that she is currently carving - Credit: Haychley Webb

The second ties into my love of folklore and was inspired by a photograph of a gorgeous pheasant I took at RSPB Strumpshaw.

It has the phrase ‘Red Sky in the Morning’ on it and will have a twin hopefully later in the year with the other half of the rhyme on.

One of my favourite prints to date has been my St Ethelbert’s Gate print that I created last year.

You might recognise it from the entrance to Norwich Cathedral.

It was one of the first things I fell in love with about Norwich when I moved here 10 years ago and it encompasses a pinch of history with a big dash of Norwich and a swirl of magic.

Peeling back the Japanese HoSho paper on Haychley Webb's St Ethelbert’s Gate print

Peeling back the Japanese HoSho paper on Haychley's St Ethelbert’s Gate print for the first time - Credit: Haychley Webb

Has Covid-19 changed the way you work and if so, how?
I’d participated in several local markets around Norfolk before the pandemic and it was so lovely being able to meet people and talk about my prints in person.

That’s all changed in the last year, of course, but I’ve really tried to make the best of things and to use this time to refocus and adapt.

I started an online interview series in the summer called Meet the Printmaker.

I virtually interview printmakers from all around the world and discover all about their craft and their daily life as a printmaker.

I’ve been fortunate to interview printmakers from Chile and The Netherlands and many places in between. 

People have been so supportive and encouraging of the series, I couldn’t have asked for a better response.

I have interviews lined up for the next few months at least, I’m delighted to say.

This has been such a blessing for me personally to be able to really get to know others in the printmaking community and have all these fascinating insights into the practise in one place.

The small business community spirit has been incredible over the last year, too. 

A few months ago, I made a stamp for a small local business and haven’t looked back.

I now regularly hand carve rubber stamps of logos and designs for fellow small businesses to use on their packaging and other things to promote themselves. 

I’ve had such wonderful feedback and images sent to me where new small businesses have been able to use the stamp I’ve carved for them to bring a handmade touch to their branding.

It’s a great feeling to think I’ve brought a little extra confidence to someone’s small business at this time, too.

An inked up lino block

The inked up lino block for Haychley's St Ethelbert’s Gate print from the entrance of Norwich Cathedral - Credit: Haychley Webb

Where can we buy your designs from?
Most of my prints and cards are available to buy from my Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/stellaboxdesigns). 

Haychley can be contacted via Instagram or www.stellabox.co.uk  where you can follow the Meet the Printmaker series and blog. Or say hello on Instagram at /stellaboxdesigns