The SQUEAK of inky rollers is filling Cumbrian classrooms as children get to grips with printmaking ahead of this year’s Printfest.

Printfest has been held in Ulverston’s Coronation Hall since 2001 and is dedicated to the exhibition and sale of contemporary hand-made prints by some of the most renowned printmakers in the UK and beyond. More than 90 artists applied to take part this year, a record number.

The Mail: Tommy Patterson having a go at printing with textured wallpaperTommy Patterson having a go at printing with textured wallpaper (Image: Printfest)

Schools workshops began this week at Burlington Primary School in Kirkby-in-Furness to create pictures that will be displayed alongside work from some of the UK’s leading printmakers when the exhibition returns to The Coro in Ulverston on April 27. 

The Mail: Jacob Benson gets a good reaction to his map print from friend Harry Irving Jacob Benson gets a good reaction to his map print from friend Harry Irving (Image: Printfest)

"Last year 22 schools took part and there are even more joining us this year,” said Printfest chair Sally Bamber. “The children loved visiting over the Printfest weekend and seeing their own work displayed."

Art teacher Esther Benson of The Lakes School is leading the sessions: “Most people do potato printing and that’s where it stops but there are so many ways to print. It’s now my favourite way to make art.

The Mail: Wilf Riley enjoying some printing with bubble wrapWilf Riley enjoying some printing with bubble wrap (Image: Printfest)

“We hope to inspire young people by showing them different ways to make prints and introducing them to work by some amazing printmakers.”

Fourteen children took part in Wednesday’s workshop, making collages inspired by the fells seen from the Kirkby school.

“It’s really good!” said eight-year-old Blake. “I love all the different textures and colours. It’s surprising what you can make.”

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“I’ve been printing with wallpaper to make some leaves,” explained seven-year-old Oscar Poniznik. “I think it’s really good teaching from Esther and really good painting from me!”

Other schools and community groups are joining in by running sessions themselves using resources put together by Printfest on this year’s theme of Printed Landscapes.

Free places are also being offered to teachers to join-in workshops at Printfest, organised by Penny Hunt of John Ruskin School, with more sessions to follow at Barrow 6th Form College later in the year. 

“We hope to give more teachers the skills and confidence to do more printmaking in the classroom,” said Mrs Benson.