Cambridge Original Printmakers Biennale returns to the city from 21 – 29 September with forty three printmakers, who specialise in hand-pulled original prints, exhibiting at the historic Pitt Building on Trumpington Street.
The Biennale was inaugurated in 2014 by three local printmakers who built it into a bigger event in 2016, adding more speakers, workshops and demonstrations as well as producing a catalogue. This year, the exhibition is further expanded to showcase the next generation of printmakers from the city’s two sixth form colleges and the Art Foundation courses at Cambridge Regional College as well as graduates of the MA Printmaking course at Cambridge School of Art.
I met with Steve and Tracey Ashman, both members of the core team which organises this event. They’re working hard to develop the educational aspect of the Biennale with an enriched programme of workshops, demonstrations and talks lined up. They’re also producing a limited edition book featuring the work of all the printmakers exhibiting this year. And in a fascinating marriage of cutting edge technology with traditional printmaking techniques, their 3D Print Project will use a 3D printer to create a plastic template which is inked up and then hand pulled on a press.
Organising the Biennale is no mean feat. Steve and Tracey tell me that planning starts twenty months in advance when the core team comes together, each member bringing a different skill set and taking on different responsibilities. Printmakers, who must live within a thirty five mile radius of Cambridge, submit their work by the end of January, then the images are sent to an independent panel of art world professionals. Their selection process takes time as entries are always oversubscribed but by the end of March, two thirds of submissions have been accepted. The Biennale all comes together in one gloriously hectic day in September as the team sets up the exhibition in the Pitt Building before opening with a private view that evening.
The Cambridge Original Printmakers Biennale is open from 10.30am – 5pm each day and entry is free. Talks are free but there is a charge for workshops. A booking facility for these plus full details of the programme are on the event website.
The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RP
This post is part of my “New in Cambridge” column in September’s issue of Velvet magazine. See more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk