Making an impression
Laura Cartledge gets hands on and finds printmaking can add a personal touch to any occasion.
Christmas and traditions go together like mince and pies.
However, while a lot of the ingredients stay the same – chances are there will be a tree and turkey – each family will put its own stamp on the season.
A place that allows people to do just that is Bognor Regis’ Handprinted.
Among the studio and shop’s list of crafty courses is the chance to screen print your own Christmas cards.
“We want to make printing accessible for all,” explains owner Shirley Scott, while Holly Newnham who works with her adds: “People think you need a lot of stuff and you can do it that way, but you don’t have to.”
From block printing bags to lampshade making, all of Handprinted’s workshops work to prove how simple and rewarding the process can be – while Shirley’s own love for the art form began with card making.
“In 2003 I was teaching and my cards, which were being sold online, were called Handprinted because the designs used a lot of handprints,” she reveals.
“It wasn’t until 2009 it became full-time and in 2011 I moved into a premises in Chichester.”
Having started printing on her dining room table, Shirley understands the difference a dedicated working space can make – something she can now offer to others since relocating to Arun Business Park in July.
“If you are doing it at home there is always something else to do like cooking the dinner or sorting the washing,” she agrees.
“But to go to a studio – which are so few and far between – is a real treat and it would be a bit greedy of us to just keep it for ourselves.”
The hope is that the facilities will attract both artists and amateurs to come, create, share inspiration and skills.
“Wanting to have people here is a selfish thing for me – I want to see what they are making,” jokes Shirley, who admits she doesn’t print as much as she would like.
Meanwhile Holly finds she ‘flits between different things’.
“Sometimes I want to do something precise,” she explains, “and other days I want to be more free.”
The fact the staff are printmakers themselves is what sets Handprinted apart from the standard art supplies shops.
“Chances are it will have gone wrong for
us before so we know how to fix it,” laughs Holly.
“I think the nice thing about having the studio and the shop is we can show people how to use the stuff.
“That is the difference really, we know, we will have used it. It is nice to be a specialist place in that way.”
Being a small business means Handprinted is able to tailor classes to individual needs – whether it is a hen party who want to design and make bespoke wedding invites or a group of colleagues looking for a different take on team building.
Even the possibilities when it comes to Christmas cards are endless.
You could use your children’s drawings, company logo or, in my case, a robin dressed as one of Santa’s little helpers…
The screen printing process:
Here’s a video demonstration of screenprinting from Handprinted: