The Hepworth Wakefield Print Fair in early March provided a great excuse to grab some inspiration for my year-long Complete Printmaker course at Salford’s Hot Bed Press.
I was also looking forward to continuing my exploration of Yorkshire’s thriving arts scene and the legacy that the likes of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore have left to the county’s towns.
Location and Facilities
The fair was like Christmas Day for a first-year traditional printmaking student. As I arrived at 11am, cute street food carts from Pizza Fella and Manjit’s Kitchen were setting up outside like mobile works of art in their own right.
Set up in the Calder, a converted mill space opposite the Hepworth Gallery’s main building, the event featured over 40 printmakers, collectives and galleries selling prints between £5 to £3,000.
The first thing that struck me about the Hepworth Wakefield Print Fair was its size. Its definitely one of the bigger print fairs in the region, allowing for great diversity of exhibitors and sellers.
Among these was the Sean Mort Print Shop, whose accessible designs, strong colour schemes and pricing models turned many heads. These included Pick’N’Mix , three framed prints for £25, which is a tempting offer for first-time or hesitant art buyers.
With the maximum footfall spot right next to the door, Print Wagon, the ‘Del Boy of Design’ attracted browsers with its bright circus-themed designs and logo. The stall holders were enticing visitors with interactive lino demos and prints from just £5, which seemed to go down well.
My own college, the Hot Bed Press, was also present, selling some of my fellow students’ work with a smile.
Also close to home, PAPER Gallery and the University of Salford put in an appearance.
Drusilla Cole’s Clarice Cliff-esque designs caught my eye during the day, along with her demo linos displayed for passers-by to appreciate. Always a draw for a printmaking student!
Affordable Prints and Artwork
Next up, I couldn’t help but buy this riso-printed card of a swiss cheese plant from Northern Printmakers.
Apart from the well-chosen colours, it reminded me of my A-level art student days. All students are put through their paces with negative space drawings of these bad boys.
I had a chat to the stall-holder of Northern Printmakers about the designers’ bold colour palettes and passion for risograph.
Risograph is definitely featuring more in northern print fairs. Its great to see how the medium’s apparent limitations can inspire heightened creative thinking.
Another small print I came away with was ‘Ladybower’ by James Bywood, a specialist in landscape imagery. His stall had some affordable options, so I picked up this card with really striking colouring and style.
The wonderful Modernist magazine was also present, so I managed to pick up the latest copy. On the theme of ‘Forgotten’, it was the perfect read for the train journey home.
The Hepworth Wakefield Print Fair is one of the best in the north of England and is worth attending for inspiration, great gifts or simply for the love of print.
Hepworth Wakefield Print Fair 2016 – Exhibitor List and Links
Ali Appleby / Amy Rodchester / Andy English. / Ben Whittington / Beverley White / Bobshaped / Cath Brooke. / Colours May Vary / Drusilla Cole / Geri Waddington / Helen Peyton / Helen Roddie / Hester Cox / Hot Bed Press / Inkylinky / Izzy Williamson. / James Bywood / James Green / Jane Walker / Janis Goodman /
Katie Eyre / Laine Tomkinson / Laura Slater / Lidota Studio / Little Lost Soul / Louella Moon / Nancy Haslam-Chance. / Northern Printmakers / PAPER Gallery / Pica Editions / Print Wagon / Rachel Sim. / Sarah Harris / Sean Mort Print Shop / Spike Island Print Studio / Staithes Studio. / Stoff Studios / Studiotic / The Art House / The Lost Fox / The Modernist Society / The Owlery / Watermark Gallery. / West Yorkshire Print Workshop / Wil Law / Yuck Print House. / Zillah Bell Gallery.