Warringah Printmakers Studio
I was invited to visit Warringah Printmakers Studio, in Sydney, by Susan Baran, their President, and Sandra Williams, Treasurer, on Wednesday 18th Feb. It was a very warm day so I was glad to get out of the Sydney traffic into this wonderfully light and airy studio. I arrived just before Susan was due to teach one of her regular classes at the studio. It is based in Manly Vale and is located within the Manly Vale Community Centre complex but has its own dedicated space. I forgot to get a shot of the exterior (which can be seen here on their website), so we’ll start with a shot down the length of the studio:
showing Sandra and Susan busy setting up.
The studio has four etching presses, one of them electrical:
with two of them (I think) of Australian manufacture. The studio covers all relief and intaglio methods of printmaking. They practice ‘safer printmaking’, eschewing the harsher acids and clean-up materials, and using Van Son rubber-based inks.
The group is wholly volunteer-run with an organising committee and operates as an open access studio. The studio can be booked by members when a course is not running and is open from 7:30am to 10:00pm. They have about 200 members, both full and associate: anyone attending a course must join as an associate member, at least, for insurance purposes. They are wholly self-funding with only the occasional grant, often from the council and usually tied to a particular project. Here, the ‘office’ and a wall of members’ prints:
Facilities include the usual cupboards, benches and sinks:
as well as a UV unit, used for photopolymer etching and, in the backroom, a printer and stored materials:
The group has a different approach to printmaking courses than I’ve encountered elsewhere with a significant amount of studio use going to classes which run for a full term while workshops – one off instruction, often by a visiting printmaker – tends to happen once a month or less.The website lists current and future classes and workshops.
I was impressed with the number of projects that the group has been involved in, often running to 3 or 4 per year and sometimes involving exchanges with other printmaking groups such as Ireland’s Lorg Fine Art Printmakers with whom they produced the Irish Connection project in 2012. The website lists upcoming exhibitions and past projects. I was pleased to be given a number of catalogues from these projects, all of commendably high quality, and all destined for LPW’s library.
Thanks so much to Sandra and Susan for inviting me to visit Warringah and for taking the time to show me around and chat (and to Sandra for coffee and returning to bring me my phone which I’d dropped in her car – another of my ‘senior moments’).