by Catherine Hiley

Catherine Hiley

While drawing is the starting point for all my work, the more applied process of printmaking and/or bookbinding – working with the materials, with machines, through many stages of production – help me to crystallise my initial ideas. The physical aspects of making the work are a great influence on the work itself and are vital components, e.g. the carving of an image into a copper plate, or watching the etching transformation in an acid bath, or combining all the mess of disparate images and words neatly between the covers of a well-bound book.

Things that fascinate me about both media are the possibility of multiples and the variations within an edition. In printmaking, the processes and the marks different types of print media make are reasons for creating art in this way. Artist’s books more specifically combine easy transport and accessibility with a more secretive and intimate nature. I always try to use the medium which transmits my original intention in the best way possible. It is my intent to create pieces in which the content, form and meaning form a consistent whole.

Influences come from many sources, from personal experiences and observations through history, literature and music to art which I admire, such as Hans Holbein’s portraits, or the play of light and shadow in black and white films from the 1930’s and 1940’s. As someone who likes travelling, and has lived in different countries on different continents, narrative and journeying are important elements of my work. My general themes are probably human beings and the spaces they put themselves in, the relationships they build with one another, transformations they undergo, and the way they perceive themselves.
As a printmaker and book artist, I work with media that have associations with both commercialism and revolution. The far reaching transformations brought about in our society by these two media, separate or combined, and their status throughout history and, more specifically, their rather dubious status in art history, are things that I find intriguing, and I find myself comfortable within that questionable tradition.



Catherine Anne Hiley was born in 1979 to English and Canadian parents in Ascot, UK. In 1986 her family moved to Regensburg, Germany, where Catherine went to school and attended first art lessons at the University of Regensburg. She completed a Foundation Course in Art and Design in London before attending the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee in Berlin, where she learned etching and intaglio printmaking. In 2005 she also completed an exchange semester at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada, where she learned screen-printing and book-binding. She graduated with a diploma in Fine Art / Painting from the KHB in 2007. Catherine has exhibited inGermany and Romania as well as around Britain, and has published illustrations in both fiction and non-fiction books. She has also worked as a letterpress printer and as assistant printer to several artists. Catherine became a member of Edinburgh Printmakers in 2008.