The artist Iona Howard (born 1964, The Lizard, Cornwall) specialises in carborundum and drypoint prints that are handmade and hand printed in her studio near Cambridge.
Iona’s prints use figuration and abstraction to portray the landscape of places she knows well. The sources can come from working en plein air or expressing landscape filtered through memory. The physicality of her approach to the printing process combined with a contemplative exploration of surface makes the subject spontaneous and vibrant whilst capturing an intimate connection with the landscape.
Iona is captivated by the ancient semi-natural landscapes typical of her native west Cornwall where a blurred line exists between nature and human activity; the field boundaries of West Penwith are some of the world’s oldest artefacts still in use. Her father, John Carlyon, was a sculptor who worked in Cornish serpentine, a rock unique to the Lizard peninsula and these innate connections with the landscape continue to inform her work.
She has lived on the Fen Edge near Cambridge for the last twenty years and the focus of her work is the meeting point of land, horizon and sky, their flatness altering the perception of distance. Her prints have gradually evolved from monochromatic studies by introducing colour to reflect the Fens’ ever-changing mood and light.
In recent years Iona’s prints have been selected for the Society of Women Artists Annual Open Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers International Original Print Exhibition amongst others.
Iona was awarded an MA in Fine Art Printmaking at Cambridge School of Art in 2009, and has previously studied at the Royal College of Art, Winchester School of Art and Falmouth School of Art.
Iona Howard’s printing process
She predominantly uses carborundum in her printing process, a technique where a mix of a binder and carborundum grit is applied onto the surface of a plate and inked up. It provides highly embossed, velvety textures and rich, dense tones. To contrast the carborundum, drypoint is added to produce an incised line, which is characteristically thin, linear and precise. Colour is introduced by layering carborundum plates or though monoprint. Printing to the edge of the paper leaves the composition as unconstrained as the landscapes from which she finds inspiration.