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Bringing traditional skills to a new generation

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Published on 15 January 2020

Fine Art student Lydia Henley and Senior Technician Hannah Gawne at the Print Club Exhibition
Fine Art student Lydia Henley and Senior Technician Hannah Gawne at the Print Club Exhibition

The Print Club exhibition is at the University of Sunderland’s Showcase Gallery until 22 January.  The exhibition is a platform for the work of the University’s Print Club, which has seen students from fine art, photography and even engineering, studying the technical and artistic possibilities of traditional printmaking.

The Print Club is the brainchild of Hannah Gawne, Senior Technician in Textiles and Printmaking at the University. 

She says: "We started last year offering students the chance to do traditional printmaking. They get a lot of very good printmaking teaching in their course, and I found there was a real passion for it, which they wanted to take further.

“In turn the students have taken the techniques they’ve learnt back into the classroom, and also into professional practice, such as producing their own business cards.

“The Print club is primarily focussed on art and design students, but we’ve also had some students from engineering.  It’s been good for them to step into a different discipline for a while, and also they come into a creative space with a different mindset, which has helped the arts students too.”

Hannah applied to the University’s Silver Fund to help launch the Print Club. Staff and students can apply for Silver Fund grants to enhance and enrich student experience. Hannah won funding for new equipment including lino cutters, exhibition equipment, sketchbooks, and wooden type.  “Wooden type is a press technique that had died out, so we didn’t have our own collection,” Hannah explained.  “We’ve been able to bring that back to life again in the Print Club.” 

Lydia Henley, 25, from Sunderland is in the second year of her Fine Art degree and is a member of the Print Club.  She says: “In the first year of my degree we had some lessons with Hannah in the print room, and I just fell in love with it.

“Hannah is so helpful and inspirational with all of her knowledge of the print machinery, the different printmaking techniques, and how you can make it useful for your practice as an artist.

“Printmaking isn’t just about creating nice cards, you can print on wood, metal, make t-shirts, there are so many things you can with it.

“I see my future in printmaking.  It’s the one thing I’ve really thought that I can make a career out of this.  I paint, make sculptures and performance work, but I really do feel that I can take printmaking outside of the walls of university and use it in the real world.” 

The Print Club exhibition is at the Showcase Gallery, Priestman Building, Green Terrace until 22 January.