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 a Technician on-hand for 26 hours in the week as well support for members by voluntary Studio Volunteers throughout the week.
We always welcome new members; whether they are beginners or experienced printmakers. Membership has grown from 35 members in 2006 to 230 in 2014.
Established in 1994 Hot Bed Press moved into the Casket Works in 2006. We have continually expanded over the past 7 years 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.
In the past 5 years we have gone from running 12 courses to running 50 courses, [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.
More about us…
We are entirely self-financing. We received some funding from Arts Council in 2006 to employ 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 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 practise, 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 in 2013 boasted 597 artists from 40 print workshops creating over 14,500 prints. The show is currently touring the UK having moved on from West Yorkshire Print Workshop to Glooucestershire Print Co-op (26th Feb – 17th March), and on to The Art House, Wakefield, The Print Shed, Hereford and moves on to Hope House Prints in Leeds and then The Bluecoat in Liverpool.
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
p.s. Watch out for not one but two shows happening in Warrington in 2014; the first at Bank Quay House will run from April to may and is a collaboration with The Regional centre for Printmaking, Wrexham. Representing Hot Bed Press will be year 2 students from Hot bed Press’s Complete Printmaker course.
Later on in the year from July to September we will having a large show of members’ work in the relaunched gallery at Warrington Museum & Art gallery and will be running a special summer school of print activities there too!