Exploring : the manorhamilton print group

Phoebe on Liz

Liz has been involved in facilitating and encouraging art and other activities in the MPG Logo 1community for many years, working with The Leitrim Sculpture Centre, The Womens Group, local schools as well as many other groups. Although she has wide ranging skills which feed her practice as an independent artist her focus is primarily on printmaking, with work often representing her surroundings and rooted in experimentation across forms in the studio. Liz has seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm and seems capable of enjoying and resolving anything she comes up against. Her experience as a facilitator/workshop leader really allows her bring out the best in people with all levels of ability or skill and puts people at ease. The way in which Liz can make beautiful works with simple techniques and a playful/casual approach is inspiring to watch.

Liz on Phoebe

MPG’s multi talented and inexhaustible Phoebe Dick is a Co-originator of Manorhamilton’s much enjoyed Open Mic sessions and an accomplished musician, singer /songwriter;  Phoebe is also an anti fracking activist, a keen gardener and veg grower; Phoebe is an artist printmaker in both traditional and digital media print, Phoebe makes prints of technical brilliance, beautifully designed with her trademark edgy humour. Always on hand with good advice and sound knowledge of the process, an asset to the print room. She has held residencies and exhibitions in Ireland and internationally; Phoebe is also on the organising committee of the North West’ s newest 5 Glens Arts Festival. Phoebe, Cróna and I manage the MPG, it is a pleasure to work with such talented, friendly and professional women. 🙂

How did The Manorhamilton Print Group come about?

As the Print Studio was developed a group of users who wanted more shared time/collaborative work in the studios started to emerge. Really the Print Group simplyNumber x.JPG comes from this and is still evolving along these lines. Working with the Leitrim Sculpture Centre as “caretakers” of the Print Studio has given us (Liz, Crona and Phoebe) the opportunity to develop a more functional and user friendly studio and to encourage its use by promoting the facility and providing technical support. Within the Print Group we run some “Peer-to-Peer” workshops in various print forms which members can attend or teach and these have helped us expand our membership. In many ways we are still sketching out what the Print Group is and what it’s members would like for it to be.

The first MPG Print Symposium took place at the gallery at LSC recently, how did the idea ‘Evidence of Small Behaviours’ come about?

Many layers of ideas and print related desires came together to form the symposium. Initial dreams of large format and collaborative working led to wide ranging shopping lists and gallery agreements, and the participants actions and intentions ultimately drew the whole thing into focus. Basically we love printing and think more people should do it. We have great facilities here in The Leitrim Sculpture Centre which could be more widely used and we feel the Symposium was a success in bringing the studio out from behind it’s locked gate and there was definitely an element of joy/celebration in that. Being more open to the public forced us to be able to explain/demystify the basics of printmaking to anyone. We hoped that if we provided the materials and equiptment and just enough instruction to start their own investigations that we would be able to infect people with the joy of printmaking virus that we seem to carry!

What aspects of the symposium did you enjoy the most and which activities do you feel the participants enjoyed. 

number 6We loved the buzz! There was a lovely excited and relaxed atmosphere. It was great seeing the gallery busy and bringing people together for learning and discussion. The opportunity to make manageable the challenges of large format and group working. We feel the “Total Immersion” of the symposium helped participants reinforce and build on skills learned during the symposium and that participants who were involved, especially those who attended several days, felt an ownership of the symposium. Although we had a plan of the various techniques we wanted to cover, beyond that we wanted to avoid planning outcomes to allow true collaboration to take place, avoid participants being intimidated by the thought of image generation, and keep everyone singing off the same proverbial hymn sheet, working on the same plate.

Why Print?

Because of the challenges of the process and the affect the various processes have on the visual results. It can be perfectly straightforward or as complicated as you are prepared to tackle and yield beautiful affects across the board. For the potential of multiple reproductions and variations within this repetition. It can be very therapeutic when you’re in a groove and it’s going well, the polishing of a plate, waiting for a line to etch, physically gouging away at a surface. The print itself, once a plate is proofed or printed seems always a surprise (usually pleasant!). Although the techniques/roots are old the results can be arrestingly contemporary and improvements in tools and chemicals used make the processes more user and environmentally friendly without compromising results. Print, as graphic art, means of reproduction, and means of creating art, in todays age can encompass digital photography, online publishing and
3-D printing. The artist-printmaker evolves alongside these developments to continue producing cutting edge limited edition original artworks, and keeps the medium fresh.

What does membership of MPG involve and how would be the easiest way for artists to engage with you?

Print Group members have the opportunity to make prints and connections with other local printmakers or aspiring printmakers. There is the opportunity to teach and learn within our peer-to-peer programme or just spend shared studio time together to get discounted studio hire rates and access to materials and each others expertise. People who would like to get involved should email us atmanorhamiltonprintgroup@outlook.com. and on manorhamiltonprintgroup on Facebook people can see some photos of what’s already happened- you don’t need to be a member of Facebook to see this page.Number 7.jpg

Do you have a favourite printing technique, can you explain why that is?

No there are too many great elements. Fingerprinting-such a great identifier! Intaglio for the gouging, lino for the cutting, screen for the production of a clean stencil, and the satisfaction of editioning across forms.

What next for MPG?

To reproduce the successes to date, more shared studio time and skill sharing. We’re always looking for people that want to be involved, for just coming along and dabbling at their own speed, for one-on-one tuition, for help to turn an idea into an editionable artwork,or to do group workshops in or beyond the print studio. We would like to be able to respond to to what people want from the print group so are in some ways dependent on people letting us know what they want – we have just made a short survey for members/potential members so if people email us at manorhamiltonprintgroup@outlook.com we can send that out to them.



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