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A traditional success for show first-timers

British paper manufacturer St Cuthberts Mill and distributor John Purcell Paper make their debut at The Print Show as part of the Traditional Printmaking Masterclass area.

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St Cuthberts Mill and John Purcell Paper are exhibiting alongside The Letterpress Collective at The Print Show

Based in Wells, St Cuthberts Mill has been producing artist papers since the 1700s using the pure water from the River Axe and is the only UK manufacturer of artist papers and one of a small handful left in the world. 

John Purcell Paper supplies specialist artist papers from the mill to some of the most high-profile artists in the UK, with household names like Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Peter Blake in its clientele. 

South London-based John Purcell Paper also supplies the specialist paper to galleries, art colleges, publishers and book binders across the country. Purcell says: “If you went around The Royal Academy summer show and saw works on paper from that show, it’s almost certain that that paper would’ve come from us.”
John Purcell and Kathy Frood

He adds: “If you were to go around any of the institutions that have got collections like the British Museum, the British Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Maritime Museum or the national galleries in Scotland, if they use paper-based materials to conserve and repair, that’s also us.”

To illustrate the beauty of the papers on the stand at The Print Show, artworks from galleries Jealous, Worton Hall Studios and the Purcell Society Trust are on display, printed on the specialist artist paper. 

Commenting on show, Purcell says it has been a rewarding experience and he has made some good contacts for the future. He adds: “We’ve seen a fair number of commercial printers who, for 99 percent of their business it wouldn’t be our kind of paper, but for the odd jobs that come through they know who we are. In the world of commercial we are the go-to people when someone wants something unusual.” 

If you went around The Royal Academy summer show and saw works on paper from that show, it’s almost certain that that paper would’ve come from us

Kathy Frood of St Cuthberts Mill comments on the show: “It’s been an eye opener actually! The Traditional Print Masterclass area has done incredibly well, hats off to the guys that put it all together it looks absolutely stunning and I’m really pleased to be here actually, I’m really enjoying it.”

Traditional printmaking techniques have seen a revival in recent years with many printers using letterpress as there is a rise in demand for the look and feel achieved with these techniques. Frood says people still value and recognise the beauty of paper. 

Is your business seeing a rise in demand for more traditional printmaking products? Email me at summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or reach out Twitter to have your say.

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