The 20th century saw printing arrive a little more in the pop culture art scene. It was affordable and produced bold and reliable results. However, it was never an artists focus, with it still taking a back seat to painting and sculpture. However, in the UK the Keplra Studio was opened in 1957 by Chris Prater and his wife, Rose. Initially started as a screen-printing studio, Prater gained an international reputation.
As artists started to rely on printmaking as an integral part of their portfolio, new technologies and methods improved the methods surrounding printmaking. Traditional techniques were supplanted, modified and sometimes even facilitate by the photocopier, the fax, and the inkjet printer.
At the same time, some artists have continued to explore the untapped potential of more traditional methods, whether it be by printing on surfaces other than paper, by working on an unprecedented scale or simply by working in a way which expands the definitions of 'print'. Although many feared the arrivals on new techniques would cause a hindrance to printing, the traditional methods are used in conjunction with the digital and technical processes.
Printmaking is often a collaborative activity and workshops and studios have played a crucial role in the development of artists' ideas around print. The community-based London Printworks Trust is just one of the organisations that has generated a range of imaginative print projects, collaborations, interventions and co-operative ventures. It uses it's status very much as a social engagement tool, with education at the core of its values.
Printmaking has been exploited by artists as a means of getting their art into the public domain, in an affordable and accessible way. The combination of marketing with the art world, another modern development, has meant for carrier bags as artworks in their own right, has become extremely popular for an exhibition. Andy Warhol started this with his paper carriers printed with his iconic soup-can image.
In every case, these artist-designed labels represent a fascinating synthesis of art and design, with popular culture, marketing, and consumption, as well as embodying the youth-orientated character of Beck's sponsorship campaigns.
All these innovations prompt the question: what is a print? The term now encompasses everything from the stenciled guerrilla graphics of graffiti artists such as Banksy, to museum-sponsored billboards, appropriated or found material which is then modified, a cake iced with a laser-jet printed image, printed MDF floors, wallpapers and soft furnishings designed for installations.
In recent years printmaking has co-opted painting and sculpture, dress and domestic furnishings, commerce, and cyberspace. Dynamic and democratic, the world of printmaking now includes the billboard and the badge, the masterpiece and the multiple, the priceless and the giveaway. Prints are a vital and vibrant link between the museum and the marketplace, the elite, and the everyday.
If you're interested to learn more about printmaking, why not take a class? We've narrowed down to our top 8 best printmaking classes in the UK.
The Top 8 Best Printmaking Classes in London are:
- T-Shirt Printing Workshop with 3rd Rail Space
- Woodcut Printmaking with Booker Print House
- Cyanotype Printmaking with Magda Kuca
- Lino Printing & More with Lavender Print School
- Lino Printing Workshop With Kim Minuti
- Print On Fabric With Metallic Foils With Gabriela Szulman
- Monoprint/Monotype With East London Printmakers
- Self-Directed Screenprint Course With BainBridge Print
1.T-Shirt Printing Workshop with 3rd Rail Space
The perfect introduction to t-shirt screen printing, this beginner workshop is ideal for anyone interested in learning the complete screen printing process or simply looking to print some t-shirts with their own design for a special occasion.
3rd Rail Print Space is London's biggest open access screen printing studio specialising in paper, fabric and t-shirt printing. Aside from running regular workshops and courses they also have a growing family of amazingly talented print members who use their open access facilities to print for clients, work on personal projects or get involved with the regular exhibitions and live print events.
2. Woodcut Printmaking with Booker Print House
A unique offering to the best printmaking classes in the UK, this class is about learning the use of traditional Japanese hand tools, the process of inking wood blocks, printing on different types of handmade printing paper and developing a new understanding of various techniques in woodcut art. All of which enable you to make numerous fine art prints to take away at the end of of the session! Alex Booker runs Booker Print House from his studio in Limehouse, East London.
3. Cyanotype Printmaking with Magda Kuca
This two and half hour workshop will introduce participants to the basics of the cyanotype printmaking process discovered in 1842 using watercolour paper, cyanotype paint and UV light to create their own botanical images. Cyanotype process allows one to create beautiful floral prussian blue prints.
The beauty of this class needs to be seen to be believed, making it one of the most interesting of the best printmaking classes in the UK. Magda Kuca is a Polish photographer currently based in London utilizing historical photographic technique of wet plate collodion. Her works has been subject of several solo and group exhibition around the world.
4. Lino & Drypoint Printmaking with Lavender Print School
One for the beginners in the best printmaking classes in the UK, this intro to printmaking class you will venture into the world of both drypoint and lino printmaking techniques. It's the perfect class for creative enthusiasts or people brushing up on rusty skills. You will be introduced to two types of printmaking techniques, of which you can then choose your favourite to try on the day.
Lavender Print School was founded by artist Izzy Moreau, who believes that, in this age of technology, it is important to escape sometimes into the hands-on world of traditional arts and crafts. Unlike some of the bigger schools, Lavender Print School is flexible with what it teaches and when so that students can come along at times that suit them during weekdays, evenings and weekends.
5. Lino Printing Workshop With Kim Minuti
Do you yearn to take some creative time for yourself? Book a lino-print workshop with Kim today and take a step on a printmaking journey that Kim guarantees you won't regret! Kim has been an art teacher for 20 years with a background in screen-print and she is currently teaching weekly classes to adults alongside her own printmaking practice.
Kim's home studio is based in leafy green Forest Hill and the space is wonderfully light and peaceful with a huge window looking out on mature trees and gardens.
This workshop will use the exciting technique of lino-cut & you will learn how to create a design/composition & how to transfer this to your lino as well as using the tools safely to cut your block. This will lead into the wonderfully messy bit where you ink your block & begin making a series of prints. You will have the options to experiment with different colours of both inks & papers, to achieve different results.
6. Print On Fabric With Metallic Foils With Gabriela Szulman
This is one of the best online printmaking classes in London with Gabriela Szulman. Foiled fabrics are washable, long-lasting and very easy to hand print at home. It's also a stunning way to embellish your sewing and embroidery work. You will be supplied with a set of coloured foils and Gabriela will show how to apply these creatively using ready-made stencils as well as your own.
The workshop is equally suitable for complete beginners as well as for more experienced creative people who may want to add an extra technique to their existing repertoire, particularly those who are into clothes-making or textile art. By the end of the session you will have your own reference samples showing the different application methods.
7. Monoprint/Monotype With East London Printmakers
Monotype prints are entirely unique and created through a process of oily inks being pressed and transferred from a flat surface onto paper.
This particular process is very favourable to those who prefer a more painterly effect to their prints, as gestural and textural marks can be achieved through the use of a wide variety of tools which can either remove or apply the ink to your plate. Through these tools, you will explore the boundaries of mark making with Monotypes.
Monotype / Monoprinting is a very flexible and liberating process and is not only a great introduction to Printmaking but can also be applied to other relief and intaglio techniques, to add texture, depth and tone.
8. Self-Directed Screenprint Course With Bainbridge Print
In this Print Making class you pursue your own projects with the technical support of Estefania Araujo who will be on hand - throughout the whole session every session - to offer advice, tips and to help problem solve when things don’t go quite as planned!
This is a chance to expand your printmaking knowledge and build your confidence with the techniques involved in a supportive and professional environment, where you’ll have the freedom to ask questions and try new things. All levels are welcome, although some printmaking experience is needed on this 6-week course.
Need more advice?
Whether you're looking to learn how to the basics of printmaking, or would like to expand your artistic knowledge with something more specific, our list of the best printmaking classes will certainly help you to get a little closer to your goal.
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