A Fylde artist has found the key to success after picking up an old typewriter at a car boot sale.
Ann Worsnip’s rare speciality of typewriter art has not only captured the imagination of family, friends and customers galore – she is shortly to follow a first-ever exhibition of her work with her debut visit to a trade fair.
Her images of landmarks such as Lytham Hall, the town’s windmill and the beach huts at St Annes are currently on display at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool until March – and on the exhibition’s very first night, she sold three of her works.
Demand has been particularly brisk for her images on greetings cards, which she produces under the name ‘Oi Doris’ – and that will be the focus of her trade fair visit in the New Year.
“The reaction to the typewriter art has been amazing,” said Ann, who lives in Fairhaven with husband Steve and two of their three sons. “I have always had a love of art and interior design in particularly and earned a degree in fine art but have always been rubbish at drawing free hand.
“I was working at a school in Blackpool as an art technician when I came across a chap who had Cerebral Palsy and made his art on a typewriter. It was stunnuing work and really inspired me.
“ I decided to make some Christmas presents in his style and typed portraits of my nephew’s children. I had a typewriter that I picked up from a car boot sale at AKS in the summer and I haven’t stopped since.
“My son asked me to type his vintage Mini, my husband Steve requested a bike and then friends started to ask for commissions.
“I then thought I may have something that people were interested in and my first ‘let’s make art’ project was Lytham Hall.
“That took me three days of solid typing and I was very excited when I had finished it.
“Next, was the Windmill and that took three attempts to get right – I just couldn’t get the sails straight. After the St Annes beach huts had caught my eye, the pier was also planned but I still haven’t had chance to type it.”
A major breakthrough for Ann, 49, was taking part in the Lytham Arts Festival, when her screen print of St Annes beach huts was hosted by Amity on Henry Street, where her work can still be seen.
Her works have also beeen shown at Mooch, St Annes and Ann said: “At first, I realised people didn’t ‘get’ how I made the images, so I constantly had to explain. I love the response when they do realise, they take a step closer to look at the letters and then I get a ‘wow’.”
And as for where ‘Oi Doris’ comes from – it dates back to when Ann visited a screen printing studio in Blackpool, run by artist and radio presenter Robin Ross.
“He picked up on my broad Rochdale accent and throughout the day, kept calling “oi Doris” when he wanted my attention,” she smiled. “It stuck from there.”