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The Cut, The Scratch & The Squeeze

As a practicing artist specialising in printmaking, I have just been offered a fantastic opportunity to curate an exhibition at an established art gallery next year. My previous professional experience as communications director for the national contemporary crafts body in the UK, the Crafts Council, meant I worked with curators to promote and interpret their exhibitions programme to the media and the public - but I've never curated an art show myself.

My starting point in planning has been the title - the cut, the scratch & the squeeze - which is a reference to the different techniques involved in printmaking. So 'the cut' refers to cutting out the marks and lines in a lino cut; 'the scratch' to the fact that etchings are created by scratching into the 'ground' the artist applies to the metal plate, which can be zinc, copper or steel, and 'the squeeze' refers to the action of squeezing the printing medium through a fine mesh screen in screen printing or the squeeze of the press to print a plate lithograph or etching.

Printmaking seems to be a less well-understood art form than say, painting. Original prints are just as painstakingly arrived at, as say, an oil or acrylic on canvas. But the concept of reproducing the image again obviously sets it apart from an original painting, and this tends to be the bit that confuses people. An 'edition' of a print is when an artist makes a set of identical prints from their original plate or set of screens, which are then numbered and signed. The smaller the edition, the more expensive the print is likely to be, although this shouldn't be confused with giclee prints which are a mass-produced conventional printing method which is not undertaken by the artist themselves. These should be much cheaper as they are not handmade works.

However the show will also include other disciplines including painting and applied arts such as ceramics, glass and wood.

I'll be talking to other artists over the coming months to select content for the show and will keep you posted on the date and details when I have them!

In the meantime the team at Shine have started working on a different type of exhibition for our client, Kurz, who will be exhibiting at the NEC in Birmingham in February next year. We had fantastic feedback from our first collaboration in September and have been commissioned to create another foil-tastic showcase for them again. We're very excited to build on this success and create something stunning.

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