Big Steam Print Auction

Angie-Lewin-exhb-print-adj2The Big Steam Print events that took place in the summer may be well and truly over, but here’s your opportunity to buy a piece of print history. Many of our Big Steam Print artists have kindly given us permission to auction the original prints created on one of the five event days via eBay. The first batch of prints is now live (see details below), and will continue to be auctioned in small batches over the coming weeks. All proceeds will go to the museum, meaning we can continue to provide keep providing our programme of fun, free, events.

The varying sized linocut and woodcut works were printed on GF Smith 320gsm paper and will be listed for auction at the end of October. With prints from artists including Jonny Hannah, Louise Hayward, Mark Hearld, Anita Klein, Angie Lewin, Linocut Boy, Freddie Robbins, Rob Ryan and Jo Sweeting this is a great opportunity not to be missed.

Prints currently for sale:
‘What strange creatures must be free…’ by Jonny Hannah
‘Brentford Towers from Kew Bridge Station’ by Louise Hayward
‘more more love hours’ by Freddie Robbins
‘Green Man’ by Ben Coode-Adams
‘Augmented Growth’ by Ellen Hanceri

You can arrange to come into the museum during open hours to view the prints by calling us on 01273 844744 to book an appointment, or email enquiries@ditchlingmuseumartcraft.org.uk. You can also download our catalogue below to find out which prints will be going up for sale.

Download the Big Steam Print Auction catalogue
 (7MB).

In the meantime, watch out for further details of when the prints will appear for auction.

Big Steam Print: The Movie

Over the weekend of 23-24 April 2016, print artists created their biggest prints yet at the London Transport Museum’s depot in Acton using a 12.5-tonne steamroller. They’ll be doing it all again on 22 May at The Level in Brighton, and on 18 June at Ditchling Village Fair.

The Big Steam Print was organised by the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft as part of The Village of Type, a programme of events to celebrate the centenary of Edward Johnston’s typeface for London Underground.

Interview with Angie Lewin

angielewinprintHow important is your environment when creating your work?
My environment is vital as my work is inspired by plant forms in their native landscape. I walk each day, often making sketches and taking photographs for reference. I’ll also collect natural elements to use as inspiration in the studio. There are a number of locations that I visit repeatedly over the years, making the same, familiar walks. The west coast of Scotland, Speyside in the north east and the north Norfolk coast continue to be the most important landscapes for me in terms of their influence on my work.

Do the seasons influence your work and mood when creating new pieces?
Yes. I’m very drawn to late summer and autumn when flowering plants have ‘gone over’ and their skeletal structure is becoming evident. I also love the bleakness of bare stems and branches and vibrant berries against the windswept winter landscape. In spring I’m inspired by fresh shoots and the starry white of wild garlic flowers. The lushness of summer foliage is less of an inspiration as the plant structures are less defined.

Who or what are your influences?
The work of Ravilious and Bawden both as artists and as designers as I also enjoy having these two strands to my work – my limited-edition prints, watercolours and collages which I exhibit alongside my design work for [fabric and wallpaper company] St Jude’s and other commissions for products and book illustration. I also look at the work of a wide range of printmakers including Piper, Sutherland, Gertrude Hermes, Enid Marx and Barnett Freedman.

Do you have a favourite piece of work?
My favourite piece pretty much changes from day to day. I think, at the moment, my linocut Sollas Sands is important to me as it depicts where the machair vegetation meets the vast expanse of white sand of the beach at Sollas on North Uist. I visited this beautiful island for the first time last year and am returning this summer to spend more time working there. This print has a different quality as I tried to capture the unique quality of this place.

Other than a steam roller, what is the strangest printing method you’ve tried?
Hmm, I think I’m a bit traditional. A wooden spoon which I inherited from my mother was used to burnish my engravings and linocuts for many years before I could invest in a press. I still use a combination of the press and spoon as I like the quality that results.

Are you looking forward to working to a large scale for the Big Steam Print?
Very much. I already enjoy exploiting the contrast in scale between my wood engravings and a screen prints, though creating a linocut on such a large scale will be a real challenge.

Do you know what design you will be printing yet?
I have an image in mind, but I’m not quite ready to divulge.

You use a variety of printmaking techniques, from linocuts to litho. Do you have a favourite?
I develop my prints from my sketchbook and each drawing seems to suit a certain print process. This means that I don’t have a true favourite. Ironically, considering I’m about to make my biggest linocut print ever, I am currently very interested in wood engraving.

Describe the last piece of art you bought, what was it and who was it by?
A watercolour by Emily Sutton of a gondola boatyard in Venice. We had a sneak preview of this while Emily was working on it and couldn’t resist the finished work. It captures the location so spontaneously and acts as a reminder the time we spent in the city.

Eight Interesting Facts About Letterpress

letterpress_blocks2Interested in finding out more about the rich history of letterpress? Always wondered where the phrase “mind your Ps and Qs” comes from? Then this guide is for you …

 

 

 

  1. Letterpress is a form of relief printing that originated in the 15th century and was the primary form of printing and communication for more than 500 years.
  2. In the west, Johannes Gutenberg is credited with inventing the first printing press in the mid-1400s. His hand press was used to print 180 copies of the Bible, 48 of which remain intact today.
  3. John Bushell introduced letterpress printing to Canada in 1752, in the newspaper format. He started the Halifax Gazette which became Canada’s first newspaper.
  4. Iron presses were introduced in 1800 and could print a larger area with less effort than the wooden presses they replaced.
  5. The origin of the phrase “Mind your Ps and Qs” was advice printers gave to their apprentices so they didn’t mix up their backwards-facing lowercase ps and qs while constructing their type.
  6. Printers organised capital letters in a separate case above the small letters; this practice led to the terms uppercase and lowercase.
  7. Due to uneven cooling, large type could not be cast from metal and was cut from wood instead. Cutting wood type was a slow and mechanised process in the 1820s.
  8. Metal type is formed from an alloy of metal, tin and antimony, and cast from matrices in a mould.