‘Ambitious’ work at the Festival of Print 2023

The Festival of Print features over 90 artists. Pic: Patrick Harrington

“Diverse and contemporary” prints from over 90 artists are on display at the 25th annual Festival of Print, the flagship exhibition from the East London Printmakers studio in Mile End.

The festival at The Art Pavilion, Mile End, exhibits the work of “grassroots” artists who learn and create at the ELP studio. The not-for-profit, artist-run studio provides affordable printmaking facilities, broadening accessibility of the craft.

The annual display marks the “first building blocks” of artists’ journeys by allowing their work to be exhibited.

The Art Pavillion. Pic: Patrick Harrington
Helen Elizabeth’s series of prints. Pic: Natasha Marshall

The studio encouraged artists to submit “ambitious” work this year. One example of this is from Helen Elizabeth, who created a series of prints produced by allowing the branches of trees to “draw” on canvases as they moved with the wind.

Each year, a box set of around 50 original prints is also curated and displayed at the festival. The set is ultimately held in the print archive at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

One of the studio key-holders Rachael Ashley told Eastlondonlines: “The idea started with a group of artists in a pub. Printing can require lots of equipment to get started, so they thought it would be a good idea to get together and create an affordable studio. It’s still all about community spirit.”

There are a range of opportunities at the studio. Pic: Patrick Harrington

The ELP studio offers facilities for screen, fabric and relief printing, as well as photo etching. The studio holds courses for all levels of experience, as well as open-access sessions where artists can work under the guidance of experienced technicians.

Natasha Marshall joined the studio last year. She is taking a Mokulito printing course – a Japanese technique that uses wood to print onto another surface, allowing the grain to produce a unique texture.

Marshall said her experience with the studio has been “amazing.” She added: “All the courses make it really accessible.”

The exhibition is running until December 10.

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