Fine art print studio to be a template for sustainability

A NEW fine art print studio is just opening in Kilkenny city and is already set to make its mark.

A NEW fine art print studio is just opening in Kilkenny city and is already set to make its mark.

Located at 42 Parliament Street, Blackstack Studio is set to welcome a world-renowned printmaker for a week of workshops and demonstrations, an exhibition of works opening later this month, and demonstrations and workshops during the Kilkenny Arts Festival.

The aim of Blackstack is to promote the art of printmaking and support artists by providing intaglio and screenprint facilities in the South East.

Part of a growing network of ‘green’ studios worldwide, Kilkenny’s new print studio will use environmentally sustainable printmaking methods.

It will also provide outreach and education programmes such as workshops, lectures and demonstrations to bring the art of printmaking into the heart of the community. Developed in partnership with Kilkenny County Council Arts Office, the studio also has the support of the Crafts Council of Ireland.

In collaboration with the Arts Office, Blackstack Studio’s first major event brings to Kilkenny the world-renowned printmaker Friedhard Kiekeben, a professor of printmaking at Columbia College. He is a leading innovator in the development of non-toxic printmaking and author of www.nontoxicprint.com, a vital resource for printmakers concerned with environmental and safe practice.

During his week-long stay, Kiekeben will provide mentoring for the studio members, workshops and a public talk aimed at encouraging printing that is safer for both the artist and the environment. Public workshops will be open to studio members and the wider community.

Kiekeben begins his visit with a free public talk titled ‘Converting to non-toxic practice in printmaking’. This will be hosted by the Arts Office in 76 John Street on July 19 at 11am.

The public talk will be followed by a short print demonstration at Blackstack Studio, an opportunity to see a master printmaker at work. This event will be of interest to both novice and experienced printmakers. Kiekeben will also run public workshops from July 23-25. This is a great opportunity to learn from a leading printmaker who has been at the forefront of non toxic printmaking developments since the 1990s.

The rest of the week, Kiekeben will mentor the members of Blackstack in non-toxic printmaking providing masterclasses to help members up-skill and continue to work in a non-toxic way. This week is also supported by the Crafts Council of Ireland.

Celebrating the launch of Blackstack Studio, ‘We’re all in this together’ is the inaugural exhibition featuring work by the five founding members. The exhibition will open to the public from July 23, running throughout the Kilkenny Arts Festival and continuing until August 19.

The show will demonstrate the range and possibilities of print as a contemporary art form, showcasing an eclectic array of works by Maeve Coulter, Sylvia Hemmingway, Emma Hogan, Alé Mercado and Aiseling Noone. From a diversity of disciplines, ranging from fine art, graphics, and illustration to textiles, this exhibition is brought together by a shared love for printmaking.

During the Kilkenny Arts Festival from August 5-14, the studio will also invite the public for print demonstrations and short workshops. See Blackstack Studio on Facebook or go to www.kilkennycoco.ie/eng/Services/Arts/News for more information.

To book onto one of Kiekeben’s workshops, a place on the talk or at the demo, contact Niamh Finn at the Kilkenny Arts Office on 056 7794138 or niamh.finn@kilkennycoco.ie.