Not far from Oxford Street, the foodie hub of Southampton, you will find an art form being practiced that goes back centuries – and it’s now being delivered in a really funky way thanks to the creative pairing of Sarah Mander and Katherine Anteney.
Here they share the love of work and the city of Southampton.
Print making has been going on at the Red Hot Press for the past 10 years. Sarah and Katherine set up the workshop as a means of continuing their own work and sharing their love of the art form with others. We asked Sarah to tell us how the Red Hot Press began.
“We set up in Southampton because we both live here. We wanted to be in the city centre so it was accessible for people coming to do our classes.
“We have people travelling from across Hampshire, London and elsewhere to do printmaking and we are one of only 80 print workshops in the country,” explained Sarah.
Creating a print is a magical process – can you describe what it feels like when you see it for the first time?
“When you have worked hard on a print and you see it for the first time you do get a buzz – it’s a magical moment,” she said.
“We have always aimed to provide new and exciting techniques at the workshop. We offer non-toxic etching with copper sulphate, were one of the first workshops in the south to teach Photo Transfer, are one of the few centres for bookbinding in the region and have also recently branched out into Photo Etching with great results.”
You are an enthusiastic supporter of the Southampton Open Studios Trail – what makes it so special?
“The Southampton Open Studio Trails is a great opportunity to visit the thriving artists’ studios that are operating in Southampton. Three major Arts Organisations, Red Hot Press, aspace arts and unit11studios open their doors to visitors to allow them tosee the huge range of work that is being made including: printmaking, sculpture, painting, digital art, illustration, film, graphic design and ceramics to name just a few.
“Here at Red Hot Press you will see an exhibition of original prints by members of the workshop. A chance to see the workshop, chat to us about printmaking and see the huge range of courses we offer as well as pick up some beautiful hand-made prints, books, cards and other printed ephemera.”
Southampton is currently developing a Cultural Quarter in Above Bar close to the Civic Offices, the city is set to get more recognition for the creative arts.
The world class visitor attraction will include the City Art Gallery – home to one of the best contemporary art collections outside London – and will include a new auditoria, studio space, creation space, contemporary art gallery and up to seven restaurants.
Do you think this is an important move for the city?
“Hopefully more people will realise there are really interesting things happening in Southampton when the Cultural Quarter is completed. It’s a little bit below the radar at the moment but there are lots of small arts organisations doing great things,” said Sarah.
Courses at the Red Hot Press are for all abilities and Sarah and Katherine say people are drawn from all over the country. Tell us more …
“Most people find us through our website – we had a woman who had moved here from Dublin and she came to find us because she is keen to carry on making prints.
“Our beginners courses are run with small groups (8 max) and we often have people who haven ‘t done any printmaking at all.
“We are unusual in that we also offer a foundation course in print making too – a year long course that is the only one available in the south of England,” she said.
Where are your courses held?
“Our workshop is based in the Corn Exchange, a small Victorian brick building in the centre of the Old Cattle Market in Southampton, and I really enjoy being in this fascinating part of the city.
“We are in an honest part of the city.
And finally … where would you recommend a visitor to Southampton should go to experience something special about the city?
” If I am meeting friends for coffee I like to go to Mettricks in the High Street.
“And close by you have Bugle Street and the French Quarter, where you will find some really interesting buildings including the Tudor House Museum,” she said.
Red Hot Press
The Corn Exchange,
Old Cattle Market,