EBSQ Spotlight on Hand-pulled Traditional Printmaking: Paul Helm

This month’s featured gallery is Hand-pulled Traditional Printmaking. No two prints are ever the same, even if pulled from the same plate. Each print, regardless of technique, is an entirely individual piece of art. It is this aspect combined with the variety of print-making techniques that have made printmaking a versatile and popular art process for thousands of years. Whether dry point, block print, collagraph or lithograph, creating hand pulled prints is often a labor intensive but unique and interesting way of creating art. Throughout August, we are going to take a few moments to catch up with some of our artists that work to create hand-pulled prints.

Paul Helm

Purcell - Paul Helm
Purcell - Paul Helm

Traditional printmaking is a dying art.
Here in the UK art schools are gradually replacing their big old presses with computers –  no thanks to the paranoia of health and safety. I have nothing against computer graphics – I am a big fan, but my real love is hand-pulled printmaking whether it be etching, woodcuts, lino, silkscreen, collagraph or monoprints.

Computers are clinical, clean, controllable and correctable, admirable qualities. My hand-pulled printmaking is smelly, dirty, unpredictable and unforgiving – I love it. I like getting my hands dirty, I like the smells of the inks and solvents, I like the physical force required to produce a print, I like the time and patience it takes. I get a real kick from peeling the paper off the printing plate and seeing the result. So often the result is a surprise, sometimes pleasant and exciting, sometimes disappointing. I often get unexpected effects that I would never have got with a computer.

So if you are a control freak and don’t like dirt and smells – traditional printmaking is not for you. I like to mix the high-tech with the low-tech so a balance between computer graphics and traditional printmaking is a great combination for me – Paul Helm

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One thought on “EBSQ Spotlight on Hand-pulled Traditional Printmaking: Paul Helm

  1. I’ve always been envious of Printmakers. While living in the UK I had a chance to learn a bit of this art with the Poole Printmakers. I’m not very good at it, but it is fun!

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