THE UK’s foremost artist-led printmaking festival returns next month with more artists, more artworks and more awards up for grabs.

Running over the the weekend of April 29/30 at Ulverston’s Coronation Hall, Printfest is back with a record number of artists from far and wide, including several of Cumbria’s finest such as Marion Kuit, Beverley White, Jamie Barnes and Raymond Higgs.

The line-up brings a balance of new names and returning artists, with a vast range of techniques on show.

Jason Hicklin is the festival’s Printmaker of the Year.

Jason was born in Wolverhampton in 1966 and studied at St Martins College of Art, where he was a student of the renowned printmaker Norman Ackroyd.

After completing a postgraduate course at the Central School of Art in 1991, he combined working as Ackroyd’s studio assistant and editioner with producing his own work.

Jason’s paintings and etchings capture the feel of the weather and its effect on the landscape. All his work starts outdoors as he walks and climbs for days and sometimes nights, usually in extreme weather.

He was elected a member of the Royal Society of Painters and Printmakers in 1993 and has had numerous solo and joint exhibitions, including showing regularly at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the London Contemporary Art Fair.

The festival’s Printmakers’ Printmaker is Fouzia Zafar, who works in print, paint and video, responding to the themes of family histories, migration, absence and the strangeness of memory.

Founded in 2001, Printfest is dedicated to the exhibition and sale of contemporary prints.

Chairman Sally Bamber describes the magic of printmaking as a form of alchemy, a celebration of ink on paper.

“It’s a democratic way to spread an image, to make multiples that make it affordable,” she says. “It’s about each impression being hand-made and unique. It’s about good quality art made available for everyone.”

Prior to the festival there will be a talk presented by Jason Hicklin and Fouzia Zafar on Thursday, April 27 (6pm) in the Coronation Hall’s supper room (booking is essential, with e-tickets emailed out on a first come basis; email

The weekend gathering will be open on Saturday, April 29, from 10am-5pm; the Sunday, April 30, 10am-4pm.

The Visitors’ Choice Award will be announced on Sunday at 3.30pm.

n For full details of the weekend event, visit