Liverpool Print Fair 2017
Bluecoat, 8th April 2017
Words, Leyla Gurr
Digital technology within the arts has taken leaps and bounds in recent decades, providing the market with mass production at high quality for a tenth of the price of an original piece. My own flat is full to bursting with work like this that I love to look at. But of everything on my walls it’s the hand drawn and printed pieces I adore most.
There’s something that much more charming about hanging work that you know an artist’s hands have touched. Getting up close to a picture, spotting the smallest of imperfections that make that piece your own. Like owning a kindle for the convenience but still craving the feel of real paper in your hands; analogue is just better sometimes.
So it was with great joy that I jumped out of bed on Saturday morning and dragged my still asleep other half down to Bluecoat for the Liverpool Print Fair. A space for local artists to peddle their handmade wares for the day and a chance for people to get hands on with a number of printing processes via classes put on by Bluecoat itself.
Being the hottest day of the year so far lent a lovely air of British summertime to the proceedings as we strolled up to the impressive 300 year old facade of the building. We were directed around to the right and immediately handed a tote bag each of free goodies, some badges and small prints of some of the work on offer that day.
We circled the smaller of two rooms first and I chatted to some of the artists and picked up some business cards, it was lovely to see so much hand-printed work in one space. A highlight for me would have to be the work of Toucan Tango, a local print duo with an ethical spin. They collaborate proudly with charities and bands around the UK and only produce work on 100% recycled card. They also had a wonderful range on display, not just print work but everything from coasters to pin badges. Their pricing is fantastically reasonable for handmade work and their website is well worth a look.
One artist that I stopped to chat to was Ella Osborne, who was selling work for the first time at Bluecoat. She had a wonderful selection of prints on offer and had made a point of laying out baskets of badges for children with a little pocket money to spend. She sells predominately through the folksy website online and is another artist that is definitely worth supporting.
The second room was a little more crowded than the first. If the fair could have benefited from anything it would have been more space. There were more artists on display here than could fit. My favourite definitely being OR8 Design, whose use of vintage photography and geometric shapes had me wishing I had more wall space at home.
From a practical point of view Bluecoat had provided that one thing craft fairs often lack – card machines. I should imagine that the ability to accept card transactions boosted the economy of the day greatly. The downside of a lack of space was evident only when the crowd reached capacity. Had the weather forecast that day been more accurate, a number of stalls could have benefited from the space in the courtyard outside.
The print classes on offer were short versions of the already impressive selection of workshops Bluecoat has on offer every week, and much cheaper. A good way to get involved if you had booked ahead.
All in all a great event for local artists and customers alike and a good chance to try something new for a lot of people. It would be great if they could make this a more regular thing, I for one would definitely save some pennies for it every month if that were the case.