One of the great benefits of being a printmaker, as opposed to a painter, say, is that we often come together to work in an open press situation and therefore readily form part of a practicing community. During my course, I have used several presses and attended three or four workshops which have not only provided me with new skills and insights but also a network of fellow printmakers.
I was reintroduced to printmaking a few years ago at a workshop at our local museum which has a Rochat press situated in a restored Edwardian studio. Now a group of printmakers regularly meets up to use the press and explore new techniques and I was delighted to be invited to join them in their annual exhibition, even though I only occasionally use the press. I enjoy exhibiting because it gives me an opportunity to get my work out there and I find it very pleasant socially. It makes me raise the bar on the professional standard of my work, especially as several other members of this group are professional artists.
The exhibition is in the foyer of a local library which is very reasonable to hire and has a decent public foot fall. We were each invited to exhibite 10 framed prints with others in a browser. The work had to be for sale and so I was unable to include many recent prints since the best of these will be sent off for assessment and I only wanted to exhibit my best work. I therefore submitted some older prints and some done during this course, where I had a decent edition and could retain some.
I framed the prints myself. I attended a professional training course because the cost of framing for exhibitions is so high if the frames are bespoke for the works. I don’t like work which has been shoehorned into a cheap off-the-shelf frame of the wrong size. It also gives me absolute control and means I can have a ‘house style’ consistent over time. All my prints are framed in natural wood, limed white.
In advance of the exhibition, I planned my hang by drawing out my alloted space of the floor and working out positioning. However, at the real hanging, my space was completely different in both size and shape, and a new arrangement had to be arrived at on the fly.
As part of my contribution to the organisation, I prepared sheets on the history of the studio and press, and a description of the various printmaking techniques. In particular, I wanted to explain how a fine art print is different to a giclee or photographic print.
I have found participating in this and other local exhibitions really rewarding. It is great to see my work hung and being looked at.