With a new home in Castle Mills, Edinburgh Printmakers has made the move to Fountainbridge and opened its doors (and VERY snazzy, custom gates designed by Rachel Duckhouse) to the public this weekend.
From a printmaking studio, gallery and shop occupying an old wash house on Union Street, in the East end of the city, to a state of the art creative home boasting: two galeries, shop, cafe, huge printmaking studio, hirable rooms for meetings, an entire creative industries wing (that includes onsite studios for creatives and a purpose built learning studio) as well as an artists flat. Edinburgh Printmakers has moved on to these seriously impressives new digs, all housed in what was an old rubber factory in Fountainbridge, in the West end of the city.
Looking around the building, it’s incredible. There are beautiful architectural elements from the old rubber factory that have been lovingly restored and juxtaposed with clean lines and white walls, that you would expect to find in a home for art. It’s a seamless union that is so very pretty! The light streams in through the cafe area, which has its own patio, with a garden beyond. Heading outside you an also view a permanent piece by Mark Doyle, whose three works tower above you and are visible from the road. They are an extremely elegant, yet playful nod to all the many rubber objects that have been made at Castle Mills over the years.
Back inside, opposite the cafe there is a mezzanine gallery that wraps around, looking over the shop below. It is currently showcasing prints by Callum Innes. A lovely, light space, Gallery 2 sits en route between cafe ink (even the cafe is artsy!) and the printmaking studio above.
Up in the rafters is the new printmaking studio – it’s HUGE! I’ll pop some photos below but it wont do it justice. With courses starting this weekend, the members only print studio is spectacular. If you’re a printmaker, you’ll love it. If you’re interested in taking a course, you’ll love it. Whoever you are… you’ll love it! It makes me want to get back into printmaking, which i’ve hardly done the past 10 years or so since leaving art school… hopefully that will change now!
A really cool element that has been reinvented at Castle Mills is the view of the printmaking studio. At Union street there was a viewing window in the gallery upstairs. Here, they’ve gone one step further and installed a kaleidoscope that also acts like a periscope – looking up into the studio above, from the cafe.
Heading back down to the ground floor and through the shop you will find Gallery 1. A giant, double height ceiling space that currently houses the opening exhibition at Castle Mills, by Thomas Kilpper. A woodcut that fills the entirety of the space greets you as you enter. Once you get over the trepidation that you are walking on the artwork (which is very unnerving!) you realise the detail and amount of work that has gone into the piece.
Colourful prints taken from the woodcut hang on the far wall, and strung up mirroring the piece below hangs a digital fabric print, created from prints of the work below. A highly skilful installation for the opening of the new Edinburgh Printmakers, that is as engaging and impressive as the building housing this, and all the other creative elements in the rejuvenated rubber factory.
Before you leave (or as soon as you enter!) you should take a look around the new look shop. Filled with a host of creations, books and prints by local artists and makers, it’s such a lovely space – you’ll want to buy everything!
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*All photos taken by Anna Thomson. All images remain sole copyright of Anna Thomson for OiOi Arts.