Hot Bed Press is the largest open access print workshop in the region. We provide specialist printmaking equipment and expertise in printmaking and book arts. There are facilities for screenprinting, etching, relief printing and letterpress and a whole lot more besides.
We are open 5 days a week, with Technicians on-hand throughout the week supported by Studio Volunteers. It costs just £3.00 an hour to use our facilities and to benefit from our expertise, support and attention.
Established in 1994 Hot Bed Press moved into the Casket Works in 2006. We have continually expanded since being here and now occupy 2 floors, (with 13 studios on the top floor), and have knocked through to expand our etching facilities. This Victorian warehouse gives us spacious industrial surroundings befitting the creative work that goes on here.
We always welcome new members; whether they are beginners or experienced printmakers. Membership has grown from 35 members in 2006 to over 230 in 2014.
In the past 5 years we have gone from running 12 courses to running over 50 courses a year, [almost all of which are oversubscribed]. We pride ourselves in leading the way amongst our peers and we regularly see other print workshops mimicking some of our courses, and mirroring the new directions we take the courses in. Imitation is the best form of flattery… or so they say.
More about us…
We are entirely self-financing. We received some funding from Arts Council in 2006 towards employing a Development Manager, (who has now become the Artistic Director), and also got a development grant from Salford Urban Regeneration Company in 2010 to upgrade and refit the top floor for studios, (they have been 100% full since launching). We are however very proud not to be relying on regular core funding and have become a leading example to other arts organisations & print workshops in how to run a successful resilient arts business and innovative approaches to income generation.
We believe in bringing in new innovations in printmaking such as gum arabic transfer techniques, copper sulphate, hydroplate, photo-carborundum and vasleine etch. However we don’t throw out the ‘old’. We incorporate new methods within tried and tested print processes with the intention of bringing in a hybrid approach that gives the best of both worlds. At Hot Bed Press we have incorporated recent innovations in printmaking into normal studio practice, such as the use of vegetable oil, new degreasants and mordants for etching, solarplate etc. We will continue to improve and innovate on health and safety and environmental issues and to enhance creative printmaking practises making us a centre for excellence in the North West.
Our screenprinting is waterbased with a darkroom facility for coating and exposing screens. In our etching area we have nitric acid for steel and zinc plates as well as ferric chloride and now also copper sulphate. Our aquatint is ‘traditional’ resin. We believe in safe handling rather than the catch all phrase of ‘non-toxic’ which can lead to less stringent adherence to health & safety.
Look out also for the annual open studios events we run as well as the Manchester Artists’ Book Fair we organise annually at MMU Holden Gallery in Manchester every October and the ever growing 20:20 Print Exchange which involves hundreds of artists from across the UK creating editions of prints, (all 20cm x 20cm), to exchange. To date over 15,000 prints have been made and exchanged since the exchange started up in 2009.
We would love you to come and look around. Despite our rapid growth and reputation for high standard teaching and expertise we pride ourselves above all on being a friendly and open lot. Come and see for yourself and soak in the atmosphere.
Sean Rorke – Artistic Director