Printfest in Schools

Learning about printmaking

We aim to inspire young people with printmaking, encouraging the use of printmaking techniques and an appreciation of printmaking by others.

A printmaking brief for 2023 was provided to Primary and Secondary Schools to spark ideas for projects and artwork which was displayed at The Coro during Printfest 2023.

Secondary and Primary school printmaking showreel from 2023

Comments from schools and school children in response to the Printfest weekend:

“I just wanted to say how fantastic Print Fest was this year, and seeing the students work presented so professionally was incredible. So thank you” UVHS

“My project for Printfest was great, once I was looking at my artwork in the gallery, it shone right in front of my eyes and I enjoyed it throughout the experience” Student from Lakes School

“I like how Printfest gives young artists an opportunity to be seen” Student from Lakes School

“The children get the opportunity to work to a brief and have their work displayed in a gallery. It gave our children a sense of achievement” teacher from Ramsden Infants School

“The children loved printing! It is very sensory and suited their needs” Teacher from Sandgate School

“It was great for the students to have their work exhibited outside of school. It raises their aspirations as well as their motivation levels” Teacher from Settlebeck School

“Lovely to have so many students involved. I really like that you do free teacher places on the courses” exhibiting Artist

“Great to see. Keep it going. Art in school is vital.” exhibiting Artist

“I am impressed by the variety of work produced and with the way it has been hung” Hilary Paynter, Printmaker of the Year

“I am trying to pick someone who has a slightly different voice, has a bit of individuality coming through, anyone can make a print, but how do you move out of the milieu, how do you make it powerful? Not pretty but powerful?” Gail Mason, Printmakers’ Printmaker and schools’ Judge

Instructional videos

Please feel free to use these during lessons, pausing the instructions as you go along ~ Click the image to view the videos in YouTube.

Relief Printing with Polyblock ~ Anyone can use this instructional video for learning how to create some simple printmaking techniques that can be done in any space.

Monoprinting with stencils part I Anyone can use this instructional video for learning how to create some simple printmaking techniques that can be done in any space.

Above is a selection of the prints created by the school children in response to the brief

The YOUNG Printmaker of the Year Award winners
~ Shannon
~ Ulverston Victoria High Secondary School
~ Peter ~ Broughton-in-Furness CE Primary School

A new award in 2023 because of the amazing creative input form over 600 school children who took part in responding to the brief developed with artist Gail Mason, who was voted Printmakers’ Printmaker in 2022. Gail selected the winners and made several commendations for both individual students and for their schools. Lorraine Thompson and Esther Benson of the Printfest Team made presentations of the award certificates during school assembly at these two schools.

Primary and Secondary

Primary and Secondary school pupils in the local area fully embraced our project. Using a range of printmaking techniques and a variety of creative responses to the brief, students produced an impressive collection of work. The work of over 600 children was on display over the Printfest weekend, up the stairwell, in the Super Room, in the Main Hall corridor or projected on a loop in the Supper Room.

The 2024 brief

Theme: Turning a sketch into a Print

Sally Adkins was voted as ‘Printmaker’s Printmaker’ at this year’s Printfest weekend.

Sally makes sketches whilst out in the landscape and in all weathers to capture the feel and mood of a place. These drawings inspire her prints; she doesn’t copy them, they just remind her of how it felt to be outside in nature. The print technique she uses is called etching and she works mainly in black and white.

She says “I sketch to capture the sense of place, the weather, the way the light falls, my visceral response to where I am. The sketchbook becomes a prompt, a memory of marks. My etching / print develops from that memory but takes on a life and path of its own.”

Graham Firth, another prize winner at Printfest 2023, sketches his surroundings in more urban settings and also turns his sketches into prints. Graham works mainly in multi colour lino prints.

Choose work you think is appropriate for the age group you are working with. We would like to ask school pupils to respond to the idea of Turning a Sketch into a Print. Any hand-made printing technique can be used.

Your Brief:

Explore the work of Sally and Graham, talk about how they use sketches to inspire their prints. Try making your own sketches and drawings on your chosen theme.

Develop ideas for print, this may include planning how to use colour. Develop your use of a printmaking technique to produce your final idea.

Print using printmaking techniques to produce your response to the artists and your theme.

The outcome

• Show work at Printfest 2024.
• Admission to Printfest is free for all children and students


Printfest has been able to offer 4 hour workshops, split into two sessions, to some local Primary Schools, with the aim of introducing children and teachers to printmaking techniques that can easily be taught in the classroom. The print work produced by the children in these workshops was on display with the school work over the Printfest weekend. There were also two places on each of the workshops at Printfest, for teachers, offering the opportunity for new skills and ideas to be taken away and shared in the classroom. We are grateful for the help in funding by Cumbria Community Foundation.

For further information about getting involved please email: or

Artists’ work examples:
above – Sally Adkins – ‘Flashes of light fall in the form of rain’
below – Graham Firth, working sketch and finished colour print, ‘Checkout’

Huge thanks to these amazing sponsors Essdee and James Cropper for materials for the schools project:

Love this blog on the Essdee website! click the image to read Printfest in Schools – Essdee Art & Craft

Essdee wrote: “Essdee are proud to be involved with Printfest for the third year and have been especially excited to have supported the Printfest in Schools project this year. We have been excited to partner with Printfest to help encourage young people to learn about printmaking and enjoyed attending the exhibition and have been really impressed with the work that the children have produced.”

We also love this page of the Essdee website – its been a joy to collaborate with them on the Printfest in Schools programme. Thank you Katy.

Printfest in Schools, July 2023

Primary and Secondary school printmaking showreel from 2022