Firestation Print Studio
I visited the Firestation Print Studio on a sunny Wednesday 25th Feb, after figuring out the Melbourne tram system and which route was best for me to use (see transport info on the website here). The building presents a lovely frontage with its warm red brick and bright red arched doors:
The first part of the studio is a large gallery space. Currently showing was members’ 2014 Salon Show:
I was welcomed by Studio Manager, Edith May and her assistant, Charlie.
The studio has been going for 25 years, having been saved from demolition (nice story here). The studio has a lovely open working area:
as well as, out back, a kitchen area and a room for meetings, classes etc:
In addition to Edith as the only paid post, the studio is run by a volunteer management committee – details on the website here – and they have over 100 members. Access is available 24/7 and available to any competent member who has attended three health and safety training sessions (with a refresher each year). Non-printmaker members are also welcome to use the back room for other artistic pursuits. There is a Lino & Print Club and a newly started Book Arts Group (I told Edith about the London Centre for Book Arts as a possible link). Members are involved in a number of projects and exhibitions, the latest being held in the Atrium at Federation Square (just outside the National Gallery of Victoria): details here. The studio also hosts regular classes at various levels. Firestation also supports local students with prizes and other awards: see here.
Upstairs are seven nice sized studios available to lease by artists. Edith showed me two of them, first that of Bronwyn Rees:
and then that of Liz Norris:
I was very impressed with the range of opportunities that Firestation offers its members and the ways that it uses these opportunities for fund raising in order to keep the studio viable. All kudos to the management committee and Edith for their efforts in this vein (see Edith’s wish list for this year here). Edith showed me a book they produced last year showcasing the studio’s artists (and kindly gave me a copy for LPW). This has since been produced as a hand-made book which has been sold to several museums even before being issued).
I want to thank Edith (& Charlie) for making me so very welcome at Firestation Studio and briefing me on all the wonderful work they are doing.