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PrintUp Workshops Get the Press Rolling

A series of printmaking workshops commenced at Cootamundra’s Arts Centre recently, which staff expect will unleash a wave of local creativity. Master Printmaker Andrew Totman conducted PrintUP workshops to give locals the technical skills to use the printing press that was donated to The Arts Centre in 2014.

The workshops, made possible by a Regional Arts NSW Country Arts Support Program grant received by The Arts Centre this year, will enable the community to take advantage of this asset.  The Arts Centre Operations Manager Elise Magrath said the recent workshop gave a diverse group of 15 participants the skills to use the press safely alongside an introduction to the history of printmaking.

“We have a cross-section of the community here, from a 14-year-old high school student to artist April Glaser-Hinder, who is in her 80s,” Ms Magrath said.

While most participants had little or no experience with studio printmaking, Mr Totman, who is Head of Fine Arts at the TAFE NSW Riverina Institute said everyone has likely done some form of printing in the past, even if it was just potato prints at school.  Nonetheless, Mr Totman’s workshops target a gap in more advanced printing know-how among users of The Arts Centre, who had lacked the skills to access the press.  Local artists and teachers will take part in a second workshop on June 4 and 5. This two-day masterclass will enable participants to share printmaking skills with school groups and the wider community.

“We want to attract teachers and artists who may act as potential printmaking workshop facilitators in the future. People who undertake the masterclass will then be able to facilitate other user groups in the studio,” Ms Magrath said.

The printing press was donated to The Arts Centre by renowned artist Janet Dawson following her husband Michael Boddy’s death in 2014. Downsizing from the Balgalal Creek farming property where she lived with her husband for over 35 years to a small cottage in Binalong prompted Ms Dawson to donate a collection of art books to The Arts Centre, as well as the geared 22HD printing press made by Melbourne Etching Supplies.

Local artist and PrintUp participant Beverly Moxon said the press and workshop series would be a significant contribution to the arts scene that would stimulate local printmaking.

“Not only will the skills learnt in these workshops enable me to further my own art practice, but I will also be able to help others to use our press in the future,” Ms Moxon said.

Story written by Belinda Moxon, originally published in the Cootamundra Herald 30 March 2016.