Meet the Maker: Metazoa Print | Living North

Meet the Maker: Metazoa Print


Illustration on wild animals in colourful print
Having graduated only a year ago, Ross Latimer has founded Metazoa Print from his home in Northumberland. We spoke to Ross to find out more about screen printing and his wild inspiration
‘When it comes to printing the images, each colour must be perfectly aligned with the previous layer so that there are no gaps in the ink.’

When did you set up Metazoa Print? 
I set up Metazoa Print at the start of 2019. There was a real lack of jobs in the North East for a young print designer, so I figured, why not create a job for myself? The name Metazoa Print came about because my designs almost always centre around animals of some sort, and ‘Metazoa’ was used by zoologists in the 1800s to classify all known animals.

Did you study design?
I studied design in some form for six years, starting with a foundation degree in fashion at Newcastle College, followed by a BAHons in Design for Textiles (specialising in print) at Heriot Watt University. It was during my four years at Heriot Watt that I learned many design skills, including how to screen print.

Can you tell me about your use of colour?
All of my inspiration comes from animals in some way. Usually I start out with basic black and white drawings so that I can pick out which ones I think will go together and make a good collection, and from there I can refine the drawings and add in backgrounds and colours. When I choose the colours for a design I like to keep them bright so that they help make the drawings stand out, and because I mix all the colours myself there are no limits to the colours that can be achieved.

Can you tell me about your candles?
All my candles are handpoured in the studio using 90 percent natural soy wax mixed with 10 percent fragrance oil. The soy wax gives the candle a longer burn time compared to conventional candles (ours will burn for 60 hours) as well as giving a cleaner burn with less soot, and also a stronger fragrance. Each candle is covered by a design which corresponds to a screen print, so for each screen print released there will be a new fragrance to go alongside it. All the materials used for both the screen printing and the candle making are sourced from across the UK.

What’s your typical day like?
There is no typical day for me! Some will be spent drawing and designing for hours on end to try and achieve the right layout, followed by nights working at the computer to create the colour separations which go on to make up each layer of a screen print. Once the designs are finalised, they can be transferred to the screens ready for printing – this process can take a few days depending on how many colours are in a design, as each colour requires a different screen. Then when it comes to printing the images, each colour must be perfectly aligned with the previous layer so that there are no gaps in the ink. I usually print around 30 images in one batch, doing each one colour by colour, which takes about three days. Making the candles is a much quicker process once the weight of the wax and fragrance has been calculated and measured it is just a case of melting the two together and pouring the mixture into the glass jars one at a time, ready to be labelled when cool.

What are you currently working on? 
I am currently finishing a new collection of designs for summer, which will include three new prints and three new candles. Once the summer range is launched I will go straight into designing the winter/Christmas range, ready for release later in the year.

Published in: July 2019

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