Now celebrating its 23rd year, The Norwich Print Fair has grown to become one of the best loved and largest independent selling shows of its kind in East Anglia.
How we got started
The Norwich Print Fair’s popularity has grown immensely since Martin Mitchell organised the first exhibition in 1995. This initial show included work from eight printmakers.
Printmakers now number over 60, with approximately 30 exhibiting in the annual September fair at St Margaret’s Church Gallery, Norwich, at which the group aims to include a percentage of new artists each year.
The Norwich Print Fair was founded to showcase the talent and craft that goes into contemporary printmaking. It champions traditional methods such as mezzotint, etching, linocutting and wood engraving, and showcases new techniques – using materials such as photopolymer resins. From its inception, it has sought to inform and inspire audiences regarding the processes behind the creation of original prints.
More than just an Exhibition
The two Saturdays during the exhibition are ‘Open Portfolio’ days, where all of the artists are present, displaying extra work, sketchbooks and printing plates to illustrate their varying techniques. The atmosphere is informal and friendly and everyone is happy to answer questions – no matter how technical!
The middle Sunday is ’Printmakers in Action’, with a rare chance for the public to observe artists at work, producing original prints. Discover how the various plates are made and printed, from screenprints to linocuts, mezzotints, etchings and collagraphs. With the chance to see the prints emerging from the presses, this day is a real treat.
Mini Print Raffle
Throughout the exhibition, The Norwich Print Fair runs our very successful Mini Print Raffle, for the chance to win specially created works by the artists. Tickets are £1 each, and are available from the venue throughout the Fair. The prizes are little gems and we have had many delighted winners over the years. The draw always takes place on the last Saturday at 3pm.
The Show is held at St Margaret’s Church in Norwich, which has been refurbished as an exhibition space. It has proved to be a valuable venue over the years because of its ability to support an event of this size.
What is an Original Print ?
To many, the term ‘original print’ sounds like a contradiction in terms. How can a print – by its nature a multiple image – be ‘original’? An original print is an image created from hand-cut or drawn printing blocks, plates or stencils, which are used to produce a limited number of hand-pulled prints. The number produced is determined by the artist, or by the actual printing process itself. For example, an etching plate may take weeks to etch, followed by forty minutes of inking and wiping before being able to print each individual image, to form part of an edition. Alternatively a monoprint, by its nature, can only be printed once, making it unique.
1998: The Fair held its first exhibition outside East Anglia at The University Club in Oxford.
2005: The Fair held it’s first taster exhibition at the Forum in Norwich, and since then has had 9 successful ‘Print Fair Elements’ shows, which aim to showcase some of our most popular printmakers in the heart of the city.
2006 and 2009: The Fair took part in Welborne Arts Festival, where Print Fair artists gave extremely popular printmaking demonstrations to the public.
2015: The Norwich Print Fair was delighted to win the Hy Kurzner ‘Arts Entrepreneur’ Award
Sponsored by Valerie Kurzner. This award has been created in memory of one of Norfolk’s most loved arts and entertainment entrepreneurs, Hy Kurzner. Hy was responsible for creating a thriving arts scene in Norwich from the late 70s through to the early 90s, particularly in the Tombland area of the city with his jazz venue Boswells, nightclub Hys and restaurant Pizza One Pancake Too. This award was to be given to an artist, venue or arts organisation that has been ‘entrepreneurial’ in establishing a new and successful artistic enterprise in Norfolk.
2015: A new book was publisehd by Mascot Media, entitled ‘Fine Print’, that celebrates 20 years of The Norwich Print Fair. Around 250 original prints reproduced, from 55 member artists past and present, over 144 pages on high quality paper in a paperback measuring 220mm square. Price will be a snip at £15.95. As well as a potted history of Print Fair and a summary of the key printmaking techniques, each artist introduces themselves and their work. Angie Lewin, HJ Jackson, Rob Barnes, Martin Mitchell, Neil Bousfield, Louise Bird – all the great and the good are featured. The book is usually available to purchase from the show and also from www.mascotmedia.co.uk
2010: The Norwich Print Fair held an exhibition at Bankside Gallery, London as well as an Exhibition at Wymondham Arts Centre.