The final exhibition of members work at Edinburgh Printmakers before its move to its HLF funded building at Castle Mills, Fountainbridge Edinburgh.

Dec 2018


by  David Faithfull Curator and Visual Artist

“Water gnaws at mountains and fills valleys. If it could, it would reduce the earth to a perfect sphere”

(Leonardo da Vinci, Codex Atlanticus, 185v early 1500’s)

Our relationship with water is universal and nowhere more so than here in Scotland. From the rains and mists that beat and shroud our landscape to the waves and storms that lash our shores, this elemental force is ingrained in our national character. Over the millennia, we have learnt to tame this life force in all its myriad of uses, re-directing it through pipes, drains, canals, industries and creative tributaries.

And nowhere is this watery spirit of enterprise, discovery and adventure more evident than through the eclectic work of the local, national and international, printmakers and artists who have beavered away on all the different presses in this building over the last 33 years. 

From its inception as a municipal Washhouse through to its current purpose as the much loved studio and galleries for Edinburgh Printmakers, water has been central to the workshop’s activity and innovation. Through the initial laundry washes to the medium that is fundamental to lithography and screen-printing, it has permeated the building and the actions within its walls. With their upcoming relocation to Fountainbridge by the Union Canal, another chapter of EP’s colourful and watery history draws to a close and a new one bursts forth.

The DELUGE exhibition Edinburgh Printmakers in Autumn 2018 is the final exciting and celebratory chapter of three decades of creative energy, industry and ingenuity at 23 Union Street before our Exodus across town to the newly developed Castle Mill Works.

To celebrate this auspicious event, EP members past and present were invited to consider water in all its manifestations, uses and symbolism, responding to this aqueous element, in whatever form of their choosing, through the printmaking process, its particular Scottish flavour and water’s universal power and symbolism.

There were no limits as to how members have interpreted the theme. Imaginations were cast to mountain brooks and lowland burns, highland lochs and forest pools, across oceans and seas, upwards into the cloudscapes and meteorological mantle that veils our planet and down in submersibles into the depths of the firths and sea lochs that surround our varied coastlines.

 Members have found inspiration from Biblical Arks and the patterns of the workshop roof, they have buried unexposed 35mm film in Sphagnum moss and bottled Andalucian memories within Finnegans Wake. As botanists they have followed local water courses collecting flora, folded paper boats, recalled the watery rituals of bath time and crossed submarines with gramophones as the reverberating echoes of distant foghorns across the Forth.

And whilst only some of the work references ancient apocalyptic floods or contemporary reflections on Climate Change, pollution and rising sea levels, the influence in all the work acknowledges to some degree Water’s perpetual Cycle of change of condensation, precipitation, transpiration, runoff, infiltration, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, transpiration..... an endless life cycle of growth and rejuvenation.