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A Magazine for Sheffield

Sheffield Print Fair: Ink & Paper At The Ready

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Photo by Dan Cooke

Sheffield is a city well-known for its artistic output, and this reputation extends to printmaking, which seems to be experiencing a boom in the city of late. Showcasing it all in one place is nigh-on impossible, but Sheffield Print Fair does an admirable job, as well as bringing in makers from further afield.

Organisers Suzi and James told us more about this year's fair.

What's the aim of SPF and how did it get started?

Sheffield Print Fair began in 2013. Our ultimate aim in organising the annual fair was, and still is, to bring a diverse and engaging selection of print work to the city. When we started the event, we were aware of very few events solely focussed on print, and a means for artists to show and sell their work in the region.

We also run the one-day print fair solely on a charitable basis. All monies raised after costs from application fees and ticket sales are returned to the venue, St Mary's Church and Community Centre, in support of their charitable work in the city and its surrounding areas. A win-win situation all round.

What can we expect at the 2018 fair? How many makers will be there, who are they and what techniques are on show?

Each year's event gets bigger and better than the previous one and this year will be no exception, with 42 selected printmakers from all over the UK and beyond exhibiting. Our exhibitors are curated from applications received by local and national, established and emerging print artists who work with a wide range of techniques, from lino cutting to lithography, in order to give the visiting public at the fair a true insight into the diverse art form that is fine art printmaking. It's always a tough choice too, because the standard of applications we receive is always very high.

Sheffield has a strong printmaking community

Can people get a feel for the printmaking process at the fair?

Absolutely, as there will be live and interactive print demonstrations throughout the day, alongside a free all-day 'have a go' print workshop aimed specifically at children. All the selected print artists are present with their work and more than happy to discuss their inspirations, processes and techniques with visitors.

Tell us about the raffle.

We launched the print fair raffle last year and it was a huge success. The entry price for the fair is just £1 (under 16s free) and this ticket entitles all our visitors to automatic entry to the raffle. The prizes are donated from the chosen exhibitors and we were overwhelmed by their generosity last year. It's a fantastic chance for visitors to win some really cracking printed goodies just for the cost of their entry ticket.

Is printmaking undergoing a renaissance, in Sheffield and the UK more generally?

Sheffield has a strong printmaking community and is benefiting from a real surge in interest of the art form. It's also an affordable way to own and enjoy unique art. There are certainly a lot more print fairs around now too, with great ones nearby in Wakefield, Manchester, Leeds, York and Llandudno.

Sam Walby

Sheffield Print Fair takes place at St Mary's Church on Bramall Lane on Saturday 10 November 2018, 10am to 4pm.

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