The taste of ink: Where to try printmaking in the UK

By Kate McNab | 31 May 2016

From bold and graphic letterpress, to painterly and sketch-like drypoint - an incredible range of outcomes, limited only by your imagination, can be achieved through the many varied printmaking methods.


photograph of hand holding roller covered in pink ink
Applying ink to a board shape© Dan Robertson
If you’d like to have a go, the you’ll find that your local museums, galleries and art centres often run accessible printmaking workshops such as lino and screen printing, but a print studio is the perfect place to explore more ambitious techniques and materials and begin to work independently.

We’ve put together a selection of our recommended venues in the Culture24 network running printmaking classes, workshops and courses – have a look below to see where you can go to try it out:


East Midlands:

For the past 30 years, Leicester Print Workshop has been the home of fine art printmaking in the East Midlands, teaching printmaking skills to the people of Leicester. The impressive facilities, wide range of courses for beginners and intermediates, along with open access membership for the more experienced artist makes the workshop a true destination for the print lover. Their new, recently-opened location also boasts an exhibition space, hosting shows of work by members, as well as UK and international artists.


East of England:

What better place to learn the art of printmaking than the former home of a founding member of the Royal Academy? Over in Suffolk, Gainsborough’s House is now a tribute to the artist’s life and art, hosting a museum and print studio. The house offers courses in relief, intaglio and screen printing, and also offers open-access membership for those wishing to follow a more independent path.

In Cambridge, St Barnabas Press offers a range of 1 to 5 day courses in various techniques, led by professional printers. On top of this, they also offer foundation courses, summer schools and open-access membership.

photograph of linocut print of fox, with lino block and roller
© Kate McNab
London:

The world’s oldest purpose built public art gallery, London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery runs a programme of practical art workshops for both adults and young people. The workshops often include printmaking, drawing inspiration from the gallery’s collection and exhibitions.

If you’re looking for a haven of print in the capital look no further than London Print Studio. As the name suggests, they know their stuff when it comes to all things ink. A dedicated space, the fully-equipped workshop comprises state of the art traditional and digital equipment and knowledgeable tutors, running courses in many printmaking methods.


North East:

In the heart of Newcastle's Ouseburn Valley, Northern Print champions contemporary printmaking. The centre boasts a welcoming open-access printmaking studio with technicians on hand to support you, and a gallery full of inspiring contemporary prints to get the creative juices flowing.


North West:

The Brewery Arts Centre in Cumbria is one of the leading arts centres in the UK. As well as a packed and diverse programme of cinema, theatre, dance and literature events they also run a pretty impressive programme of adult education events. Printmaking often features, and you can try your hand at monoprint, relief printing and etching.

photograph of phrase set in letterpress
Letterpress type setting© Dan Robertson
Liverpool’s centre for contemporary arts, Bluecoat is dedicated to providing a creative hub for people to embrace arts and crafts in a friendly and relaxing environment. The centre also has a dedicated print studio, offering workshops for beginners and intermediates, and regular print clubs, if you prefer to work more independently.


Northern Ireland:

For nearly 40 years Belfast Print Workshop has been providing a space for artists to indulge their passion for print. The workshop is dedicated to its members, and supports the artists with residencies, exhibitions and other opportunities. The workshop offers everything from a 3-hour membership for those new to print and wishing to test the water, up to a whole year for the more seasoned artist. On top of this, they also run a selection of courses on traditional printmaking methods, and more experimental techniques.

Not far down the road lies another top-class destination for contemporary printmaking, Seacourt. The centre for contemporary printmaking caters to all ages and abilities, and is universally accessible with supportive tutors and enviable facilities.


Scotland:

Photograph of print studio at Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop and Gallery
The studio at Edinburgh Printmakers© Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop and Gallery
In the capital, Edinburgh Printmakers offer very competitive membership rates, in a well-equipped, bright, spacious warehouse. Completing one of their many varied weekend or evening courses also acts as an access course and grants you associate membership, so you’ll have a good head start on your journey to becoming a printmaker. Also on the horizon is a new £11m space at Castle Mill Works, coming in 2018, which will increase their already fantastic facilities.

Run by expert artist printmakers, the Glasgow Print Studio workshop is the perfect place to hone your printing skills. Running all manner of classes for beginners, intermediates and offering membership for those more skilled in their chosen medium, the workshop is an internationally-acclaimed centre of excellence for fine art printing.

In Aberdeen, Peacock Visual Arts aims to be the main contemporary art centre in Aberdeen and is home to an open access print workshop, courses, classes and one-on-one tuition in the art of printmaking. It also boasts a shop, selling prints by local, regional and international artists.

Offering evening and weekend classes in a variety of traditional printmaking techniques, Highland Print Studio is a great value space for experienced and inexperienced printmakers alike.

Ecologically-built Moray Art Centre is a welcoming art centre in the picturesque Findhorn Bay.  Designed to bring arts access and education to all in a motivating atmosphere, the centre runs a selection of drawing, craft and printmaking classes, as well as an exhibition programme of local and international artists.


South East:

Photograph of exterior of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft
Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft© Richard Moss
Nestled in the South Downs National Park is Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, a small museum with collection of huge importance. Don’t let its size fool you, when scores of artists and crafters flocked to this unassuming village in the 20th century, they established it as one of the most important places for visual arts and crafts in Britain. They have an active programme of creative talks and workshops, and typography is often on the cards as infamous type designer Eric Gill, creator of Gill Sans, was one of the influential characters to call Ditchling his home.

Monk’s House, the 17th-century country retreat of Leonard and Virginia Woolf's, organise art workshops, including relief and screen printing, encouraging students to gain inspiration from the cottage’s beautiful garden and interiors.


South West:

Part of the Spike Island group in Bristol, Spike Print Studio is a creative and spacious studio, providing training and facilities to beginners and professionals alike. As well as a variety of courses and an open access workshop they also pioneer Print Club Bristol – an initiative to get the public interested in original print works, offering advice and interest free finance for purchasing prints.

A whole host of arts and crafts courses are on offer at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester. Everything from stone carving to needlefelt, creative writing to watercolour landscapes are covered by the experienced staff and tutors. For printmaking, they run several relief workshops, as well as monoprinting.


Wales:

Swansea Print Workshop supports community participation in the arts through their artist-run studio. By providing facilities, advice and tuition to professionals and the public alike, the have created a hub for fine art printmaking in the area. They run the usual beginner and intermediate workshops as well as a series of ‘Do it Yourself’ classes, which teach budding artists the skills they need to undertake printmaking methods independently at home.

photograph of trays full of metal letterpress type
Trays of letterpress printing type© Dan Robertson
Over in the capital, Cardiff Print Workshop set out to promote print as an original artform through longer, specialist courses. They’ve a selection of different intaglio and relief courses, which run over several weeks.


West Midlands:

In the West Midlands, Birmingham Printmakers is a large, welcoming space run by enthusiastic volunteers. The studio takes part in exhibitions, giving their members opportunities to showcase their work, and runs frequent workshops and courses for the public.

Also in Birmingham, the RBSA supports and promotes engagement with the visual arts. The artist-led charity offers workshops and demonstrations as well as an exhibition programme showcasing work by contemporary artists and its members. They run all manner of visual arts classes, including various printmaking methods.


Yorkshire:

In Scarborough, Crescent Arts Centre’s aim is to create a wider audience for contemporary visual arts. They have an active programme of arts events, including exhibitions, installations and performances, and run workshops led by their friendly artist-tutors.

Over in Mirfield, West Yorkshire Print Workshop runs a regular programme of specialist printmaking courses for both adults and young people. With plenty of classes for beginners, it’s the perfect place to embark on your printmaking journey and the on-site gallery is sure to inspire.



Ready to have a go? View all of our printmaking events here.

Find more creative courses, exhibitions and events in Culture24's Places to Go section. Not sure printmaking's your thing? Check out our guide to where to try pottery and ceramics.


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