Printmaking is essentially a way of transferring an image or pattern from one surface to another using ink, paint or dyes.
It is one of the earliest and most basic of artforms – a handprint on the wall of a cave, the imprint of a fern in a fossilised rock, prints made using cut potatoes or other fruit and vegetables. Carved wood blocks were used in China almost 2000 years ago to print books and the invention of the printing press in the 15th century made it possible to print multiple copies of printed text. Artists such as Matisse and Picasso used printmaking to great effect.
Mono-printing produces one-off prints that are unique and cannot be reproduced, but other methods of printmaking can be used to print repeat patterns and images time after time.
Printmaking can be very simple, using a single colour and a basic shape or design. It can, however, be used to print complex, multiple layered artwork which requires great skill and dexterity.
Original prints are handprinted by the artist rather than reproductions of a piece of artwork. Buying an original print is a way of connecting with the artist and knowing that you have a completely unique image that has been created through the complex processes involved.
It is also a way of supporting the artist by valuing their work, seeing the world through their eyes and helping them on their creative journey.