Cork Printmakers
One of Ireland's Top Fine Art Printmaking Resources For National & International Artists.

Cork Printmakers HQ, Wandesford Quay

Screen Printing


Who are Cork Printmakers?
Helping Artists
- Facilities & Equipment
- Exhibitions
- Membership Options
- International Residency for Visiting Artists
- Emerging Artist Bursaries
Helping the Community
- Adult Printmaking Courses
- Schools Program
- Special Projects
- Professional Development Courses For Teachers
Helping Art Collectors and Investors

Lithographic Equipment

At Work in the Studio


For centuries, fine art printmaking has played second fiddle to the fine arts of painting and sculpture. Initially seen as merely a means of replicating paintings, it wasn't until the invention of photography that printmaking was freed from this utilitarian purpose and allowed to develop creatively. Thus it wasn't until the 20th century that printmaking came to be valued as an independent fine art.

This, despite the fact that painters such as Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), Rembrandt (1606-69) and Goya (1746-1828) took printmaking extremely seriously, injecting it with great artistry, while 18th century English landscape artists like Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88), John Sell Cotman (1782-1842) and Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) employed it for original designs.

Even so, despite its rich history and wider contemporary appreciation, fine art printmaking remains one of the most underrated mediums, whose long term development and success depends in no small measure on the exemplary work of top-class organizations like Cork Printmakers.

Cork Printmakers provide facilities
for the following types of printmaking:
RELIEF printing methods, where raised
areas of the printing plate are inked and
printed. Examples include: Woodcuts,
where hand tools and power tools are
used to cut a design into a block of
wood which is then inked & transferred
to paper; Linocut, where the image or
design is cut into a linoleum block;
Collography, the result of materials
glued to a base, usually metal or card.
After sealing with varnish and dried it
is inked and printed like an etching.
INTAGLIO methods, characterised by the
inking and printing of incised images
on a metal plate. Examples include:
Etching, where a print is taken from a
sheet of metal, usually copper, zinc or
steel; Aquatint, a method of etching
which produces a more subtle tonal
range; Spitbite, involving painting
strong acid directly onto the aquatint
ground of an etching plate - a process
initially regulated by the application
of saliva; Photo Etching, where photo
sensitive film is used as an alternative
to acid; Engraving, where a metal plate
is incised with a fine chisel with a
lozenge-shaped tip (burin); Drypoint,
like engraving except it leaves traces
of metal to produce a distinct velvety
appearance; Mezzotint, where the entire
metal plate is finely scoured with a
rocker prior to creating the image.
PLANOGRAPHIC, a method of printing
from a flat surface containing both
inked and un-inked areas are on the
same plane. Examples include:
Lithography, where a design is drawn
on zinc or aluminum plates with a
greasy ink or crayon; after washing
only the image remains, which is then
transferred to paper; Monoprint, where
a design is drawn directly onto a plate
using a slow drying paint or ink, after
which it is then printed by press or by
hand; Stencil, where the printed image
is created using a cutout design;
Screen Printing (Serigraph/Silkscreen)
where ink or paint is forced through a
stencil onto a stretched mesh made of
synthetic nylon or silk; Digital Printing
where images are created on a computer
and printed directly onto paper, using
inkjet or laser printers.

Who are Cork Printmakers?

Cork Printmakers is a membership-based artist resource, located in Cork city, Ireland, which offers all the equipment, and materials necessary to create a body of work in the medium of fine art printmaking.

The most successful operation of its kind outside Dublin, it provides a professional, open access, workshop with facilities in etching, photo-intaglio, screen-printing, lithography and relief printing. The organization now supports more than 90 artist members based in Ireland, the UK and America, and connects with printmakers and different arts environments from all over the world. It also provides an International Residency for visiting printmakers, as well as bursaries for emerging artists.

In addition, in keeping with its aim of promoting print-media art to the widest possible audience, both locally and nationally, Cork Printmakers runs a significant education and community arts program within the Munster region.

This includes an extensive range of printmaking courses, an award-winning artists-in-schools program designed to encourage the art of printmaking among children aged eight and above, as well as numerous community arts projects and partnerships with other Cork based bodies in the area of education and conservation.

For up-to-date details, visit their website:


Cork Printmakers was founded in 1991 with a remit to supply Cork-based artist printmakers with workshop facilities, as the only available printmaking studios at the time were located in Dublin. Workshop premises were duly established in Thompson House on MacCurtain Street, and the 2,000 sq ft venue was equipped with a darkroom, acid room, and office, while a professional workshop was set up for screen printing, etching, relief and lithography. However, as membership expanded rapidly over the following months, it began to expose inadequacies such as poor ventilation, lack of natural light and cramped working conditions, triggering a search for more spacious facilities. After a long period of negotiation with the Arts Council, Cork City Council and the then Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage, approval was obtained for the purchase and renovation of the Wandesford Quay premises - a listed building dating back to the 1840s. Originally a grain store for a nearby distillery, it occupied a site previously used as a burial ground, and before that, as a 13th-century Dominican friary. Under the supervision of architect Jack Coughlan, interference with the structure was kept to a minimum, permitting many of its characteristic features such as floor, window opening and the unusual system of cast iron beams and columns located in the annex area, to be retained. The renovation was finished in 1999 and Cork Printmakers have been in situ ever since.

For info about the cultural heritage
of Connacht, Leinster, Munster and
Ulster, see: Ireland Visual Arts.
For more about the infrastructure
of culture in Ireland, see:
Irish Art Organizations.
For a review of selected venues,
see: Irish art Galleries.

For details of the evolution of
metalwork, painting and sculpture
see: History of Irish Art.

For answers to queries about
most aspects of the visual arts,
see: Irish Art Questions.

For details of specific artforms,
see: Irish Painting
also: Irish Sculpture.
For the most valuable artworks,
see: Most Expensive Irish Paintings.

For reviews of landscapes,
see: Irish Landscape Artists
also: Irish Genre Painters
also: Irish Portrait Artists.

For a selection of exciting modern
artists: Contemporary Irish Artists.
For our Editor's view of the most
outstanding living artists, see:
Best Irish Artists.


Helping Artists

(1) Facilities and Equipment

Cork Printmakers is located at Wandesford Quay, alongside Backwater Artists Group and the Fenton Art Gallery. Its workshop can handle the full spectrum of traditional printing processes and possesses a range of equipment as follows:

- Rochat Etching Press – 81cm x 165cm (32" x 65")
- Polymetaal JW100 Etching Press - 100cm x 200cm (39.5" x 78.7")
- Polymetaal JSV Etching Press - 80cm x 130cm (31.5" x 51.2")
- Starwheel Etching Press – 33cm x 76cm (13" x 30")
- Rochat Hotplate - 77cm x 64cm (30.3" x 25.2")
- Rollers, various sizes
- Aquatint Room
- Vertical Ferric Acid Bath
- Horizontal Nitric Acid Baths

- Block Printing Press – 38cm x 66cm (15" x 26")
- (Polymetaal JW100 Etching Press can also be used for relief work)
- Rollers, various sizes

Screen Printing
- Natgraph Exposure Unit – 152.4cm x 101.6cm (60" x 40")
- Trumax Printing Bed – 152.4cm x 101.6cm (60" x 40")
- Darkroom and Wash Out Room
- Screens & Squeegees, various sizes

- Takach Lithography Press – 152.4cm x 84.5cm (60" x 33.5")
- Stones and Plates, various sizes
- Rollers, various sizes
- Hydraulic Lift

- HP5500 Designjet Full Colour Printer 106.7cm (42")
- IMac G5 & G4
- Epson B&W Laser Printer A3
- Epson Colour Inkjet Printer A2
- External CD RW & Zip Drive
- Flatbed Scanner A4
- 3.2 Megapixel Digital Camera
- Slide & Data Projectors
- Broadband Internet Connection

Other Equipment
- Guillotine (91.4cm) 36"
- Drying Racks
- Light Box 81.3cm x 132.1cm (32" x 52")
- B&W Photocopier A3
- Materials Shop, supplying plates, paper, ink, grounds, litho crayons, etc.

(2) Exhibitions

As well as providing a spacious well-equipped workshop, Cork Printmakers also showcases members' artwork to the public, on a regular basis. It does this in two ways: first, by holding regular exhibitions of its members' prints in galleries and other art venues, both nationally and internationally; second, by maintaining a permanent exhibition of members' fine art prints in the print salesroom at Wandesford Quay, where new work is hung every two months.

(3) Membership Options

Full Membership (€400)

This is ideal for experienced printmakers who want to use the workshop facilities on a regular basis. Full membership offers:

• 24 hour unsupervised access to the workshop
• Works may be exhibited in the print salesroom
• Can submit to curated national and international exhibitions
• Free subscription to newsletter

Short Term Membership (€75 per month)

This is ideal for experienced visiting artists who want to use the workshop facilities for less than six months of the year. Short Term Membership offers:

• 24 hour unsupervised access to the workshop

Associate Membership (€60 per annum plus usage fees**)

This is suitable for printmakers who may need technical advice or assistance, and/or for experienced printmakers who only want to use workshop facilities occasionally. Associate Membership offers:

• Supervised access to the workshop, from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday
• Works may be exhibited in print salesroom
• Can submit to curated national and international exhibitions
• Free subscription to newsletter

** Usage Fees: Daily Usage: €10.00; Weekly Usage: €32.00


(4) International Residency for Visiting Artists

Open to artists of all nationalities working through print media, this residency at Cork Printmakers provides 24/7 access to the workshop, for up to six weeks. Residents are responsible for their own travel arrangements, local accommodation, expenses and materials. Successful applicants are required to give a talk to others members about their work and also give a printmaking demonstration.

To apply, please complete the Cork Printmakers International Residency for Visiting Artists application form obtainable from and return it to "Cork Printmakers, (International Residency for Visiting Artists), Wandesford Quay, Clarke's Bridge, Cork, Ireland." For further information please email: or telephone 00 353 (0)21 432 2422.

(5) Emerging Artist Bursaries

Each year, Cork Printmakers offers a number of Emerging Artist Bursaries to graduate students from the Crawford College of Art and Design, and Limerick School of Art and Design. These awards are designed to support young artists at the start of their artistic career and provide free use of workshop facilities at Cork Printmakers for 12 or 6 months. In addition, an annual Continuing Professional Development Bursary is available to a graduate from Waterford Institute of Technology.

For further information please visit or email: or telephone: 021 432 2422.

Helping the Community

(1) Adult Printmaking Courses

As part of its award-winning education program, Cork Printmakers runs a year round program of workshops for both beginners and experienced printmakers. Subject areas include: etching, photo-etching, screen-printing, and lithography, among others.

Booking is easy: simply telephone: 021 432 2422 during office hours, or email: giving your name, phone number and chosen course. Alternatively, simply visit:, download the "Adult Education Booking Form June - Sept 09", complete and post to: Cork Printmakers, Wandesford Quay, Clarke's Bridge, Cork, with your deposit or full cost of the course. Discounts are available if booking more than one course.

5-Day Courses

Screenprinting Summer Camp for Young Adults
With Marianne Keating

Covers differing ways of working with screen printing, from the drawn image through mono-screen printing, to working with the photographic image through photo-screen printing. Also covers textile printing, and how to print designs on t-shirts and bags. Maximum class size is 5 students, guaranteeing personal teaching time for each student.

- Suitability: Teenagers aged 16–18 years

Photo Intaglio with Eimearjean McCormack
Photo intaglio is a particulary creative etching process, which permits the artist to produce photographic as well as more traditional hand-drawn artwork. A small series of prints can be created, which in turn can form a unique artist book using simple binding structures. Again, maximum class size is 5 students.

- Suitability: Beginners & Refreshers

Weekend Courses

Waterbased Photo-Screenprinting with Paul La Rocque
Students use a computer to manipulate images and create colour separations. Photographic screenprinting stencil techniques are then used to produce a small edition of full-colour prints. Maximum class size is 5 students.

- Suitability: Beginners & Refreshers

Monoprint, Drypoint & Carborundum with Noelle Noonan
Monoprint is a painterly method, in which ink is applied directly onto acetate. Creative marks are made by rolling, scratching, and wiping away areas before printing. In Drypoint, a range of lines and marks can be created using different tools, while Carborundum enables the build up of dense textures and colours. Maximum class size is 8 students.

- Suitability: Beginners & Refreshers

Mono Screenprinting with Ken Parker
A non-toxic monoprinting technique using silkscreens. Can be combined with established print methods or practised as a stand-alone method. Maximum class size is 6 students.

- Suitability: Beginners & Refreshers

Papermaking & Casting with Dominic Fee
Students learn how to process recycled materials into paper pulp, and become familiar with dyes and pigments, pulp painting, collage, embedding materials during sheet formation, pressing and drying. The paper produced may be employed for a variety of creative purposes, including printmaking. Maximum class size is 8 students.

- Suitability: Beginners & Refreshers

Mezzotint with John Aherne
A fascinating introduction to one of the least known techniques of fine art printmaking. A copper plate is scoured with a curved, notched blade until the surface is completely pitted. To obtain tones a scraper or burnisher is employed to flatten the raised texture of the plate surface. Maximum class size is 8 students.

- Suitability: Beginners & Refreshers

Workshop Tutors

Marianne Keating - a graduate in Fine Art Printmaking from Limerick School of Art and Design, Marianne has extensive teaching experience and is currently a part-time technician at Cork Printmakers.

Eimearjean McCormack - a graduate in Fine Art Printmaking from G.M.I.T in 2004, where she gained the coveted student of the year award, two years in succession, she also gained a Masters in printmaking from Camberwell College of Art, London. Eimearjean currently works as a print technician at G.M.I.T, Cluain Mhuire Campus.

Paul La Rocque - is a practising artist who graduated in Fine Art Printmaking from Crawford College of Art and Design. In addition, Paul has a Masters in Applied Arts from the University of Ulster and an MSC in Multi-Media from UCC.

Noelle Noonan - is a practising artist and a part-time lecturer at the Limerick School of Art and Design. Noelle studied painting at the Crawford College of Art and Design and gained an MA in Fine Art Printmaking at Brighton University, England.

Ken Parker - is a practising artist with a BA and MA from the University of Ulster. He currently manages the West Cork Art School, where he teaches printmaking and sculpure.

Dominic Fee - is a practising artist and part-time lecturer at Galway-Mayo IT and Crawford College of Art & Design. Dominic learned printmaking and ceramics at Galway RTC and gained a Fine Art Degree from Limerick School of Art and Design.

John Aherne - is a practising artist and currently teaches secondary level in Cork. A graduate in Fine Art Printmaking from Limerick College of Art and Design in 2002, John holds a diploma in Art Education from the same college.

(2) Schools Program

AWARD WINNING - Cork Printmakers "Artists in Schools" program was initiated in 1995, as part of its commitment to building an awareness and appreciation of printmaking in the local community. In 1996, it received an AIB Better Ireland Award in recognition of its success. Since then, it has brought an extensive range of printmaking workshops and demonstrations to primary and secondary level schools, as well as public libraries, community arts projects, third level colleges, art galleries and Youth Reach Projects throughout the Munster region.

2 HOURS OF FUN - Each workshop is run by a professional printmaker and provides an entertaining and creative experience in a classroom environment. Typically, each workshop consists of a two-hour session, although some techniques (eg. plaster printing and collography) need a double session. The idea maximum class size is 25 students (15 for Silkscreen Monoprinting): larger groups should be divided into two. All necessary equipment is provided by Cork Printmakers.

ADAPTABLE, SAFE - Workshops can also be tailored to suit themes and subjects appropriate to your school curriculum. Please note that Cork Printmakers operates a clear Child Protection Policy, which follows Arts Council and Department of Health & Children guidelines.

School Workshop Options

See below for a list of printmaking workshops available. For enquiries, please phone Irene Fitzgerald on 021 432 2422 or email:

Primary School Workshops
• Drypoint (2 hour session)
• Linocut (2 hour session)
• Monoprinting (2 hour session)
• Plaster Printing (2 x 2 hour sessions)
• Silkscreen Monoprinting (2 hour session)

Secondary School Workshops
• Drypoint & Chine Collé (2 hour session)
• Linocut & Chine Collé (2 hour session)
• Reduction Linocut (2 x 2 hour sessions)
• Silkscreen Monoprinting (2 hour session)
• Collograph (2 x 2 hour sessions)
• Plaster Printing (2 x 2 hour sessions)


To book a workshop, please visit, print the "Artists in Schools" booking form, complete and post to: Cork Printmakers, Wandesford Quay, Clarke's Bridge, Cork.

For more information prior to booking, please contact Irene Fitzgerald on:
021 432 2422 or email:

(3) Special Projects

As part of its commitment to Cork art, Cork Printmakers also runs a number of special educational projects in collaboration with other Cork based bodies in the area of education and conservation.

For example, in March 2009, in conjunction with Cork City Council Arts Office, Cork's St. Patrick's Festival, Blackrock Castle Observatory and NASA Astronaut Dan Tani, Cork Printmakers organized a special project entitled "Capture the Cosmos". Children from four schools across Cork City were able to explore the world of astronomy, see the Universe, and then express their new found knowledge creatively, through artist-led printmaking workshops. Money raised through the sale of artworks donated by each participant raised funds for UNAWE (Universal Awareness of Young Children).

In addition, since 2003, Cork Printmakers has collaborated with Fota Wildlife Park and Bridging the Gap, University College Cork, to raise money for the conservation of endangered species around the world through its annual schools projects. Students learn about an endangered animal or habitat and then explore their new understanding by creating prints, which are then exhibited in an art gallery in Cork City. To date, almost €8,000 has been raised for rhinos, turtles and tigers.

(4) Professional Development Courses for Teachers

As part of its art education program, Cork Printmakers also offers workshops specifically designed for to extend the skills of teachers in both Primary and Secondary Level schools. Where necessary, these courses can be tailored specifically to the needs of the teacher's class or group. For more information about these workshops, or to discuss your individual needs, please contact Frances O' Connor on: 021 432 2422 or email:

Helping Art Collectors & Investors

For the benefit of contemporary art buyers, Cork Printmakers maintains an extensive selection of original fine art prints for sale in its print showroom, which features some of the finest work from emerging and established artists in Ireland today. Staff are happy to assist anyone wishing to view or purchase work, from a single print to a series of prints for the office or home. A framing service is provided, and, in addition, a number of instalment options are available to help spread the purchase cost. Collectors can also browse the online gallery at

Art collectors may visit our print salesroom without prior notice, anytime between 9.30am - 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Contact Details

Cork Printmakers
Wandesford Quay
Crosses Green
Phone: 00 353 (0)21-4322422

• For more about artist organizations in Ireland, see: Homepage.
• For a list of the most renowned painters and sculptors from Ireland, see: Irish Artists.
• For more about visual arts in Cork, see: Cork Art News.
• For an explanation of printing terms, see: Printmaking Glossary.

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