People of all ages joined in with this community project to make printed postcards from Bridlington. It was part of the Artwaves festival, the idea being to bring people together and celebrate Bridlington and East Yorkshire.
The ‘Wolds Wonders’ started it off. This lively theatre group based in Pocklington were the first to take part. The community sessions in Pocklington were followed up with drop in activities for everybody at the Artwaves festival at Bridlington Spa.
Designs for printed postcards
We started with conversations about where people lived and what was most important about the place.
Then everybody made a drawing for a postcard design, showing something they liked about East Yorkshire.
You will notice from the photos that many people improvised quite a bit around this theme……
Constructing a printing plate
Our drawings on paper were easy to see when we laid the clear acetate printing plates on top of them.
We cut shapes from sticky back funky foam and stuck these on to the acetate plates.
The drawing provided a guide and we added more things to it as we went along.
Funky foam makes a great relief plate, it is squashy enough to print without distorting and the texture takes the ink beautifully.
The plain postcards were already coloured by rolling ink over them in big bold shapes. We used bright seaside and landscape colours to provide a nice atmospheric background. People chose their backgrounds to go with the design they’d done.
Printing the postcards
Water based lino printing ink from intaglio printmaker is perfect for this type of printing – it doesn’t dry to quickly, gives a nice strong colour and washes off with water, ideal for enthusiastic printmakers of all ages.
We rolled it onto plastic floor tiles (using Hawthorn rollers of course!) and charged the roller up before rolling ink on to the funky foam plate.
With the prepared background card laid ready on the table the inky plate is carefully turned over and placed on it.
Because the plate is transparent you can line your design up with shapes in the background if you want.
A bit of pressure from hands (and fists) makes sure the image is printed on to the card.
You could also use a rolling pin to press it down evenly.
All printmakers know the joy and surprise every time your print is revealed – it is lovely to share this with people and see their reactions when they see their print for the first time.
An activity for everyone
Sometimes people feel drop-in art activities are ‘for the children’ but lots of adults spent ages carefully designing and cutting their printing blocks, and many family groups enjoyed the activity together.
Spread the joy
The joy of printing is that you can easily make several copies, so everyone had at least one postcard to take home and one to send to someone.
They also left one at the festival for a community exhibition of postcards celebrating East Yorkshire.
Have a go yourself
This is a great technique and very accessible and engaging for all ages and abilities.
You can cut the foam into shapes beforehand if people are not able to use scissors.
Try using cardboard for the plates if you don’t have acetate.
You may not have rollers and ink, in that case fairly thick paint applied with brushes will also produce a print.
If you have children with you this summer holiday they why not have a go?
It is fun to send postcards to people, and even better to receive a hand printed postcard through the letterbox.