Here at Ironbridge Fine Arts we understand the importance of hearing feedback. So I sat down with Art teacher and printmaker James Millichamp to discover why he loves printmaking and using his Gunning Etching press.
Why did you choose to purchase a Gunning Etching press?
“At Shrewsbury High School, we chose a Gunning Etching Press because they are the best in the world, they are locally made by artists, for artists, and because they are incredibly sturdy and super good value.”
What’s your favourite feature on the Gunning Etching press?
“We have two favourite features of our Press – is that cheating?
1. The wheel is so good; it is easy to use and allows for smooth transition through the press, ideal for students to use.
2. The mat with measurements on the bed to align work makes centralizing and locating prints so much easier – again a real help for students!”
How did you or your organization get into printmaking?
“At SHS we love traditional fine art methods as well as cutting edge technologies; they go hand in hand together so effectively. Printmaking offers a truly distinct and unique mode of expression which is so satisfying, and for young people it is an essential ingredient of their experience of the visual arts.”
What do your staff/students print on your Gunning Etching press?
“We use our Gunning Etching Press to print lino, drypoint, and collagraphs. We were fortunate enough to complete some etching and aquatint with Jenny Gunning and we have been able to print from these steel plates too. The press is so versatile and will work with any print matrix. Our A Level students to our Juniors have loved using it.”
Does your Gunning etching press have a nickname?
“The Gunning Etching Press here at Shrewsbury High School is called the Papillon Printing Press. We ran a competition for students to name the press, and Poppy won the inaugural print from our Gunning Press.”
“The name that I think would suit the new printing press is the Papillon Printing Press… after the female printmaker Marie Anne Papillon who was one of the first female printmakers, and unlike the other female printmakers and artists of her time (1760s) she wasn’t wealthy or powerful- you normally weren’t able to do printmaking at that time if you weren’t an aristocrat.
She was also a feminist and reflected it in her printmaking. For example, she did lots of prints of powerful women instead of men which was the majority of prints created at the time and depicted women in power instead of men which was a very controversial idea at the time.”
What would you say to someone thinking about purchasing a Gunning etching press?
“As an educator and artist, I cannot recommend a Gunning Etching Press strongly enough. It is versatile, robust and so beautifully engineered.”
Is there anything you would like our readers to know?
“Having a resource like our Gunning Etching Press and to be able to work with young artists and involve them in the wonderful world of printmaking is truly a joy! Thank you to everyone at Ironbridge Fine Arts. Dave who demonstrated the many options for printing with the press was so inspirational and knowledgeable – thank you!!”
If you have read to the bottom of this blog you are entitled to a free gift, please email Jenny@IronbridgefineArts.co.uk with your preferred printing Relief or Intaglio to claim. Postage of £6.99 will still apply.