THE North West's biggest printmaking event returns to Ulverston in May, and this year's major commission has already been revealed.

London-based artist Gail Brodholt was announced as Printfest's Printmaker of the Year for 2018 back in November, and swiftly got to work on her piece to be unveiled at the Coronation Hall event.

Her visits to the region before Christmas provided the inspiration, and since the turn of the year she's been bringing A Winter's Tale to life.

"At the end of last year we came up for a few visits to get some ideas for the commissioned piece, and I started work on it shortly after the new year," says Gail.

"It was a beautiful place to visit, and you certainly get a lot of weather at that time of year! You could jump in the car and it would be sunny, and by the time you got anywhere it would be raining. But it was a real privilege to visit.

"We were staying in Ambleside, but there was something about Barrow and Walney Island in particular - a special place and such an atmosphere about it.

"The print is actually finished, and it's a fairly normal, ordinary road that we drove down each day between Windermere and Kendal. It just had a familiar feel to it, even though it was just a normal landscape with a road and houses."

Gail Brodholt's commission for Printfest 2018, A Winter's Tale

Gail will be one of more than 40 highly-regarded printmakers from across the UK exhibiting their work at Printfest over the weekend of May 5 and 6.

And as Printmaker of the Year, she will also be discussing her work created using a traditional linocutting method, joined by Printmakers’ Printmaker Georgina Bown at the pre-festival events.

Gail says: "I'll be doing a talk and showing the print I've been working on. Because my work takes a long time, I won't be able to do demonstrations, but I'll be showing how my print was made with the images that I've taken and my sketchbooks, so people will get an idea.

"I'm really looking forward to it. There are a few artists in the North West where I might know their work, but I've never met them.

"Being an artist is not the most social profession, and there aren't too many occasions where you can meet a lot of artists, so I always look forward to these events.

"Also, it is good to see the work up close, because you never really can tell how good a piece is until you see it in the flesh. That's what these events are all about - seeing the work in situ.

"I'll be bringing my husband and daughter up with me, so they'll be doing some walking while I'm setting up, and we'll be there for around five days in total."

Gail is a leading painter and printmaker of contemporary urban landscapes, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, where she currently holds the post of Honorary Curator.

She has exhibited widely, including recent exhibitions at Eames Fine Art in London, Church St Gallery in Saffron Walden, Gallery Nine in Bath and For Art’s Sake, London, and is the recipient of many prizes for printmaking.

She works from her purpose built printmaking studio in Woolwich, South London, and has recently been the subject of a book by Mascot Media on her work.

Despite her success and reputation on an international level, the call to be Printfest's Printmaker of the Year was an unexpected honour.

She continues: "The organisers contacted me to ask if I would be interested in being put forward to be considered for Printmaker of the Year, which I was obviously more than happy with, but I never really thought anything would come of it. I was never expecting this, and it was a fantastic surprise to be asked.

“Printfest is really well-known, but being based in London, it's a long way for a lot of southern artists. For the North West though, it is one of the big events for sure.

“Of course there are plenty of artists from down south at Printfest, as well as from all over the country, so it will be a good chance to meet a lot of the artists I know about but have never met in person.

"It looks like a wonderful event for people to attend, and the volunteers that run it do a fantastic job to put it on each year."

JOINING Gail Brodholt at Printfest 2018 will be many of the UK's leading printmakers.

Also appearing at the Coronation Hall event - which runs from Thursday May 3 to Sunday 6 - will be: Debby Akam, Sinclair Ashman, Jill Barneby, Jamie Barnes, Monique Borst, Laura Boswell, Georgina Bown, Ann Bridges, Stuart Brocklehurst, Cath Brooke, Adele Burdon, Sarah Cemmick, Henrietta Corbett, Hester Cox, Sarah de Feu, Cathy Duncan, Katie Edwards, Janis Goodman, Jason Hicklin, Sam Knowles, Marion Kuit, Suzie MacKenzie, Sarah Mander, Gail Mason, Flora McLachlan, Julian Milner, Martin Mitchell, Angie Mitchell, Stef Mitchell, Carol Nunan, Mark Pearce, Jane Peart, David Peduzzi, Neil Pittaway, Anthony Ratcliffe, Morna Rhys, Simon Ripley, Sarah Ross-Thompson, Sophie Schärer, Jay Seabrook, Rahil Sheikh, Kelly Stewart, Geri Waddington, Isobel Walker and Frans Wesselman.

For more information about Printfest 2018, visit