PRINTFEST attracted more than 1,600 visitors in 2018, and was shortlisted for Cumbria Tourism’s event of the year.

It was a super successful gathering with a record £63,000 worth of sales during its two day opening.

The build up to this year’s spectacular is well under way with workshops run by tutors from Cumbria Printmakers all sold out within two days of being advertised. However, for those disappointed, full day courses are being organised by Print Share after this year’s event at Little Barn, Meeting House Lane, Ulverston. Those can be booked during Printfest.

Printfest - founded in 2001 by Judy Evans and Ronkey Bullard, with the help of Chris Benefield, who owned The Tinners’ Rabbit in Ulverston - has grown into the UK’s foremost artist-led printmaking festival.

Running this time around on Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5, at Ulverston’s Coronation Hall, the event will feature the work of 49 artists, selected from 82 who applied.

Apparently, more than half of the successful artists are new to Printfest.

Organising team chairman Sally Bamber says that with 50 per cent of the artists exhibiting this year being new to Printfest, they bring new work, new discussions, new methods of working that celebrate the use of ink on paper: “Also this year we are excited to be implementing a new lighting system that will enhance the viewing experience for everyone. Printfest is grateful to The Hadfield Trust, CGP Trust and Cumbria County Council for their support for this.”

This year’s Printmaker of the Year is Sadie Tierney, an established printmaker and painter based in Portsmouth. She was spotted when two of her works featured at the Royal Academy’s summer show last year. Sadie has spent ten days travelling the Lake District seeking inspiration for a specially commissioned piece to be unveiled at the festival. She says it’s wonderful to be selected: “I live in a flat city in the south. The Lake District is so different with its height, mountains and beauty.” Sadie is particularly exploring how artists of the 18th century interpreted the Picturesque movement, pioneered by William Gilpin.

Also featured will be this year’s Printmakers’ Printmaker, Flora McLachlan, who was voted in by her peers in 2018.