New Scottish Original Printmakers Group Launches with Gracefield Exhibition 

A newly formed group promoting the work of some of the leading original printmakers from Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire is being launched with a Christmas exhibition in Dumfries. 

A wide range of work by over 20 members of South West Scotland Printmakers (SWSP) will be on show in a free exhibition in Gallery 2 at Gracefield Arts Centre, Edinburgh Road, Dumfries, which opened this weekend and will run into the new year.

Visitors will be able to see and buy work from artists such as Sarah Keast from Moniaive, Colin Blanchard from near Lockerbie, Sarah Stewart from Wigtown, and Pamela Grace from Kirkpatrick Durham and Emma Varley from Dumfries.

Sarah Keast and Pamela Grace take very different approaches to landscape. Colin, a former lecturer in both printmaking and wildlife management, is well-known for creating work that celebrates birds and animals. Emma explores the use of colour in her abstract prints, while Sarah Stewart works with a wide variety graphic imagery and found objects.

Much printmaking uses traditional processes like etching on metal plates or carving blocks of lino or wood. Others use more modern processes like screen print or collagraph and some work with a combination of different hand printing techniques to produce images that have unique and exciting qualities.

Although original prints are often made in limited editions, each is individually created by the artist, requiring specialist skills and equipment. This means they can be an affordable way to have original and unusual artworks in your own home.

Colin, founder member of the group, said: “There are some wonderful printmakers working in this part of Scotland; making a huge variety of different prints with a wide range of inspiration.  
“For our launch event we wanted to bring together some of their work right away, so people could see and enjoy the range and diversity of creative artists who are making truly original prints. In the longer term our aim is to help promote and strengthen printmaking all across the region.”  

Printmaking is a highly skilled and distinctive artform that Gracefield is delighted to raise awareness of through the exhibition.

Dawn Henderby, Gracefield art officer added: “It is wonderful to support the art of printmaking – there are a lot of technical skills required by the makers and original prints have a distinct hand-made quality.  
“They differ from reproduction prints, like a Giclee, which although usually made from an artist’s own original drawn or painted image are made in limited runs on an ink-jet printer. Original prints are never exactly the same, even in an edition, with the subtleties of ink application or pressure of the press creating a unique artwork.”  

SWSP, which was set up in November, aims to:

  • create opportunities for members to exhibit and sell their work
  • provide networking, information exchange and learning opportunities
  • support access to and development of print workshop facilities for the growing number of people who are interested in the artform.

The group also wants to help new and younger artists to learn the skills required and explore the many and varied possibilities of making prints.

  • Sarah Keast will be doing a printmaking demonstration from 11am to 2pm on Saturday, 12 December.