I am back home after a weekend of print, printing, talking about print, talking about printing, printers, talking about printers, buying and selling printed stuff, and listening to some inspirational printerly people. Yes, the Leeds Print Festival was a huge success, and it is taking a fair bit of time to recover!
PHOTO BY CLAIRE JENKS
I was part of the Print’s Not Dead event on Friday night with Nick and Sarah from The Print Project in Bradford – we were giving demonstrations and getting people involved in making their own prints - me with hand rolled lino prints, and they were giving it large in letterpress with a lovely Adana 8×5.
Lots of people took home prints they made themselves – many went home with ink on their fingers and probably their clothes! I would like to thank everyone who came out and joined in – rumour has it that there were over 800 people through the doors!
It was great to talk to people who were genuinely interested in print – loads of intelligent questions were asked, and I really got a feeling that everyone who managed to get to the table were inspired (or even re-inspired – there were a huge amount of people who came and said “this takes me back” and plenty more who just came to sniff the lino!) I genuinely hope that the experience got someone back into it!
Of course, there were one or two ‘small sherries’ consumed following (and during!) the friday evening event, and with a head buzzing with print talk and beer I retired very late for some well-earned snoring time.
PHOTO BY GRAPHIQUE FANTASTIQUE
Saturday was entirely given over to the Print Fair, and the continuous flow of people through the doors proved that print still means something to people. This was the first time I have ever done anything like this – I will admit here that I was more nervous about this than the evening before! It was not too long before I made my first sale, and then things just kept on going!
I had lots of great comments about my work, and I am genuinely grateful to everybody who bought something; from my tiny little letterpressed notebooks to my editioned etchings, from greetings cards to framed monoprints - your decision to part with your hard-earned cash during these difficult times is not taken for granted, and for me it has validated all the effort I have made to produce things that have a real value. Thankyou and I hope that you enjoy your prints and books.
For those of you who couldn’t make the LPF, you too have the opportunity to browse my merchandise and purchase from The Department of Something Else - more items have already been added this week!
Sunday was the day for talks. With Paul and Anand from Generation Press, Si Scott & Anthony Burrill on the list, this was bound to be a major part of the event and I don’t think anyone was disappointed. The Leeds Gallery was set out with wall-to-wall seating (the third major change of use I saw!) and well before the doors opened there was a very healthy queue that stretched around the building – and it was pretty nippy out there too!
Paul and Anand from Generation Press opened the days talks and began with hereditary account of how they came to be there – which filled me with a satisfying sense of well-being, knowing that the concept of following in ones parents footsteps is still a do-able and admirable thing. I had genuinely thought that this no longer happened, and now see just how vital that this ‘passing on’ is if we are to continue to progress. Please note my use of ‘passing on’ and not ‘passing down’ which to me infers more of a maintenance than a continuation. This is always an opportunity for growth, not in size or profitability as such, but in growth of experience, in quality, in variety, in scope, promise and imagination. Paul mentioned that there were people with forty more years experience than him employed in the business when he took over and he has since introduced the twenty-something year-old Anand as their ‘Adopted Northerner’ who had established himself within the company in a few short years as someone who added youth, exploration and vigour to their ranks, and had been allowed to encourage a more experimental approach in an industry that has long been revered for its traditions. Bloody marvellous is what I say!
Si Scott followed, and made fine job of it, despite incredibly difficult circumstances. If you do not know who Si Scott is you are probably familiar with his incredibly detailed swirling imagery and type. Amazing work. A real graphic artist.
But alas, the day was growing longer and the weather was deteriorating and I decided to leave before Antony Burrills talk which I really regret now. I can only put it down to bad karma that I then had a really shit journey home (four and a half bloody hours!) and I wished I had stayed.
But still, LPF 2012 was a huge success – loads of Twittering and blogging has already been done and whispers of 2013 are already being heard across the Yorkshire Dales…
Many thanks to Amber, Aaron, Dutch, Anna and the rest of the LPF team, as well as those great folks at The Leeds Gallery and the 164 Cafe too. Most of all, thanks to everyone who visited, printed, bought and sold, listened and were enthused by the event. See you next time round I hope!