So I trailed across to Sheffield at the weekend to see its print fair, being held in the Millennium Galleries - which, probably not so very coincidentally, is showing an exhibition of work by local contemporary printmakers at the moment (inevitably there was considerable overlap with the fair). I looked round that too, while I was there, but have inconveniently forgotten names I wanted to mention (not everyone was at the fair). Never mind, though - I'd like to see the wood engraving exhibition at the Graves Gallery, which I wrongly decided was shut on saturdays and so didn't even attempt to search out (yup, usual excellent prep), and on my short visit this weekend I don't feel I saw enough of Sheffield so I shall have to make a return trip before very long. It's odd - I feel sure I've been to the centre before yet I have no memory of it at all except some vague recollection that I didn't have time to see ... something. My life increasingly feels like this - I have no expectation of a brightly alert old age.
The fair was rather good - an entirely different set up from Ulverston's Printfest, where artists mostly had screens and no tables unless (I assume) they brought their own. Here it was more like the set up for a book fair, with a table as the basic unit for nearly all of the exhibitors. Although I knew a small number of people there, including the lovely Jane Elliot, aka Leaf City Press, a co-founder of Sheffield Print Club and a part of the gang who made this fair happen,
the majority of the printmakers were new to me. I didn't do a count but I felt that most of the printmaking there involved silkscreens, though by no means all. It was a good spread, with etching, letterpress, relief and digital as well, not to mention textiles, artists' books and some fun geometric print constructs, the latter from the Common Press (not because it is common but because it's on a Common - alas I have completely forgotten where, except that it was a village in Derbyshire). For photos of the fair itself, there's a good selection of photos by Simon Day here.
Some favourite prints were relief ones from Helen Roddie. Much of her work is around the theme of verge and hedgerow, so within spitting distance of Angie Lewin's work, but I definitely prefer these - they seem so very much more rooted in the earth. I suppose they are quite stylized but I really like that, and they manage to remind me of Albrecht Dürer - what could possibly be bad about that!
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.