20:20 Print Exchange – “It’s like Christmas!”

Yesterday evening, we were able to open our boxes of 20:20 prints at Hot Bed Press. “It’s just like Christmas!” said one of the eager participants.

Each printer had produced editions of 25 prints, each 20 cm by 20 cm. Apart from the edition and substrate sizes, there were no restrictions. Screenprints, etchings, relief prints, colourful abstracts, black and white detailed engravings, they were all there. Each printer then receives a box containing one of their own prints and 19 random prints from other workshops.

Members of Hot Bed Press, opening their boxes of prints.

The 20:20 Print Exchange started in 2009 with ten printers from Hot Bed in Salford and ten members of Red Hot Press in Southampton. The following year there were twelve workshops and this year, the fourth, there were 392 artists from 30 workshops. That’s 9,800 prints! It is the largest print exchange for printmaking studios in the UK and Ireland. (The 30 workshops did not include Swansea, but a sustained campaign by myself will ensure that Rosie Scribblah gets the crew down there involved next year.)

Each workshop also receives boxes. One print from each artist is also kept for a travelling exhibition. All these prints were hung on the walls last night and very impressive they were indeed! (Sorry for the poor quality of the photos. I was using available light in an area lit by random spot lights and fluorescent lights.)

Hanging the penultimate print of Northern Print Studio, Newcastle

The prints produced at Hot Bed Press

Leinster Print Studio

Ropewalk, Lincoln (left) and Seacourt Print Studio, Bangor (right)

After we’d looked at our boxes of prints, we had our Under the Bed Sale where we sell off ends of editions, odd prints, proofs – often with different colours as the artist tries different things – and other random work. It’s run on a pile-it-high-sell-it-cheap basis. I picked up some very nice pieces.

Looking for Bargains at the Under the Bed Sale …

…. then paying up!

Meanwhile people could wander round this year’s exhibition.

Members of Neo:artists from Bolton (who will be showing the exhibition in early December), chatting with HBP Artistic Director (and organiser of the exchange) Sean Rorke

No doubt you will be wanting a proper look at the prints. Thanks to Andy Magee’s many long hours with a scanner, they are all here on HBP’s flickr site, with my print (‘Coexist’ on Page 14). Definitely worth a look (all 42 pages!)


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
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11 Responses to 20:20 Print Exchange – “It’s like Christmas!”

  1. The 20:20 Print Exchange is new to me – what a terrific concept and wow! such gorgeous prints!

    • It is one of the highlights of the year at HBP. I’ve only described the ‘opening night’ above. As you can imagine 9800 prints do not unpack, sort and repack themselves. A lot of hardworking volunteers, organised by Sean, spend nearly a week organising things. And a brief look at the flickr site will hint at Andy’s workload.

  2. I love printmaking and to participate in something like this would be amazing. Your photos show it to be a fabulous collective exercise, thanks for sharing!

    • Are you a member of a print studio/workshop in the UK or Ireland? If so, and if they are not involved yet, get them involved next year. One of the problems is that Sean sends out invitations but if they don’t reach the ‘right person’ (i.e. a responsive, interested person who doesn’t dismiss it as more junk mail or who thinks ‘that looks like a lot of work’) that invitation may get lost.

  3. quirkyartist says:

    Oh how wonderful to take part in something like this.

  4. Karen says:

    I’m always impressed by the range of styles, was a good night and enjoyed the print sale too – great post 🙂

  5. seascapesaus says:

    It would feel like Christmas – what lovely surprises! All round high. I salute the workers, printers n all! On my way to check out Flickr!

  6. haha I’ll do my best 🙂

  7. clinock says:

    Very, very impressive John…

  8. Pingback: Linocut Workshop | woman walking slowly

  9. Pingback: 20:20 Print Exchange On Tour | notes to the milkman

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