India and Magda from Orkney Art Club explain how they made good use of their 'Together Again' microgrant from Creative Lives . . .

Our project, Printmaking Around Orkney brought together members of the community from Rousay, Shapinsay and Westray for our very first printmaking programme. The workshops involved using professional equipment to deliver collagraph, monotype and lino printing artist-led printmaking workshops, encouraging creative confidence in young people and families.

To deliver our workshops, we needed a printmaking press. Originally, we were using an incredibly heavy printmaking press, which was kindly loaned from Soulisquoy Printmakers. We bought it to a couple of sessions in Rousay and quickly realised it wasn’t going to work as well as we had planned. The press was extremely difficult to manoeuvre, even with two pairs of hands, and meant we had to travel by car.

We realised, very quickly, that we needed a smaller, more portable press. The grant from Creative Lives allowed us to buy our own second-hand printmaking press. The press was small enough to be portable, but sturdy enough to produce professional artworks.

Although, when the press came, it needed a fair bit of work. So, we used local engineering firm, JEST Engineering to create a detachable handle, which would easily allow us to pack away the press. More importantly, it meant we were able to deliver pop-up workshops on the inner and outer isles using high-quality equipment, easily transporting our press on the ferry.

The press was a hit, becoming our participants' favourite part of the workshops. Here’s what they had to say:

“I gave up art at school 30 years ago because I wasn’t ‘any good’, so having the opportunity to try new things is brilliant”

“New skills, clear instructions but freedom to make something you like rather than everyone doing exactly the same, nice to work alongside my daughter on our own projects and see her creativity too.”

“My children were so motivated and encouraged!”