I arrived at Highland Print Studio (HPS) to hear the chatter of students on the first floor and the receptionist on the phone organising a group from UHI into a block booking. Drying racks on each floor were bursting with layers of colourful, inspiring pieces of artwork. The walls exhibited pieces from talented artists and in the window were stacks of prints available to purchase. To say this studio was busy would be an understatement.
The students who were working upstairs were from a local high school and half way through a six week course. They had already designed their own pictures and were now finishing cutting out their designs onto lino squares. Luckily for me, Rian Weafer, age 16 from Milburn Academy, had just finished his lino cutting and was heading to the machines to learn relief printing using his lino square. I was able to watch as John from HPS who was leading this course showed Rian step by step what to do and then let Rian take over. Not only did John teach in a calm, relaxed way, he had a brilliant sense of humour which really engaged the class. Check out the picture enclosed of Rian’s print, inspired by his friend Summer who wanted him to draw a mushroom and a frog!
What’s on offer?
In addition to relief printing HPS also have the facilities for etching, screen printing, polymer photogravure, stone lithography and photoplate lithography. At the very top of the building, on the third floor they have their very own digital suite which offers quality printing for photographs, and this can be done on their large printer handling widths of up to 1100mm.
Who can use the studio?
Everyone from professionals to complete beginners can enjoy Highland Print Studio. Artists can book on an ad hoc basis or for weeks at a time. As I witnessed first-hand the team at HPS engage with schools and community groups to inspire people to get creative. If you don’t have any experience in printing but want to learn, they also run courses in the evenings and at weekends which are accessible to all.
Thanks to the team for showing me round and to the students for letting me tag onto their class. I’m already planning my own screen printing class with friends!