A day spend in non-stop measuring and nailing and hanging, culminating in the launch of the complete 20:20 exhibition, in the Cow Lane Studios Gallery, Salford (attached to Hot Bed Press). If I say it as shouldn't, all those prints hung together look pretty good. I took no photos today (when? when on earth???) but I will tomorrow.
And at the same time Hot Bed Press is holding its annual pre-christmas Under the Bed sale, where all the printmakers offload those prints that they consider didn't quite make the grade, or that they are bored with, or that have just been around too long. Prices are limited (£3 to £50) and there are always fantastic discoveries to be made. I've bought a christmas present - for someone else, obviously, and ... some other stuff, which, you never know, might be for someone else. Or not. I'm helping out tomorrow, when we're open 11am-4pm. Come visit.
I had hoped to take a photo of serried ranks of print boxes - 475 of them in all, I think (the number was fluid from time to time) - but there was never an occasion when they were all stacked together and looking overwhelming. Well, maybe there was, but I was probably too involved at that point to notice.
However, after four pretty solid days of effort by various bands of volunteers, the initial stage of getting all the prints sorted and boxed is finished. Even the boxes are mostly boxed. There are odds and ends still to go, apparently, so no doubt it'll be half way through next week before they troop off to be posted, but the bulk of the work is done. Phew.
Spent time this afternoon at Anthony Ratcliffe's exhibition 'Shoreline and Watershed' - just me, very peaceful there, which matched his lonely woodcuts rather well. I'm not so keen on the larger and more coloured images, but I like those with a limited palette, obviously including simply black and white. I was also pleased to see his artists' books and his (at least, I think it was his) quiet poetry, of which I was previously unaware.
The whole room was filled with tables, dragged in from all over, to serve as supports for hundreds of piles of prints. Numbers were checked, the most last minute of last minute print packages arrived from far flung studios and were hastily found space, boxes were prepared - and all of that took longer than you might think. After that there was an afternoon of concentration as the individual print boxes started to fill. Muttered counting filled the air, along with careful riffling through paper - there have to be the correct number of prints in each box, and it is irritatingly easy to pick up two of a print, instead of one. It's a fantastic spread - digital prints, mezzotints, cyanotypes, lino cuts, wood engravings, etchings, collagraphs, silk screen prints and any number of other print methods that I've never heard of before and can't remember, all jostling up against each other and looking good. A lot fewer chickens and chairs this year - in fact fewer 'themes' of any kind, though that can surely only be the workings of chance.
So. The work has begun but there is a very long way to go yet.
Thousands of prints from many hundreds of people, belonging to print workshops across the British Isles, have all arrived at Hot Bed Press and are waiting to be sorted this week into boxed sets of twenty for each individual, before being sent out again. I was away for the sort last year, but shall offer to put in a day this time. It's a bit overwhelming, actually, in a sweetshop sort of a way - so much colour, so much choice. It would be wonderful to go greedily round picking this one, this one, ooooo got to have this one, but not surprisingly that isn't how it works. I'm looking forward as much as anything to seeing just how much space they all take up, pre-sort, this time round!
Of course, I did mine on the rather-too-late side (and (also of course) wasn't entirely satisfied with the end result - should I have stopped printing at an earlier stage? Too late now). Seven print sessions over, I think, eight days, and then I had to put paper as a temporary barrier between the finished prints in case, touch dry though they seemed, they still wanted to stick together - I didn't have spare time to wait for them to be convincingly dried out. I do hope they didn't stick, though - that would be a bit of a disaster! I'll find out this week, I guess.
I make prints and book arts, though nowhere near as often as I'd like - no good reason, just an inability to get on with things. I occasionally go on about landscape (with which I am mildly obsessed) and various of its elements, and I like to pass comment on exhibitions I visit.