Edinburgh Printmakers Entrance Gates

Permanent Commission 2019

The entrance to Edinburgh Printmakers in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh which opened in April 2019.  Photo credit: Jules Lister

The entrance to Edinburgh Printmakers in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh which opened in April 2019.

Photo credit: Jules Lister

The gates were commissioned by  Edinburgh Printmakers  as part of their permanent commissions programme at Castle Mills.

The gates were commissioned by Edinburgh Printmakers as part of their permanent commissions programme at Castle Mills.

I designed three sets of bi-folding, powder coated, galvansied steel gates.  Photo credit: Jules Lister

I designed three sets of bi-folding, powder coated, galvansied steel gates.

Photo credit: Jules Lister

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My design for the gates was based on research into the history of the North British Rubber Company (NBRC) factory site. The only remaining building is the old headquarters on the corner of Dundee St, boarded up and derelict until redeveloped by Page Park architects for Edinburgh Printmakers.  I visited the NBRC archives in Ewart Library, Dumfries, and sifted through boxes of printed material from 1920s - 1970s; product catalogues, promotional leaflets, flyers and photos, as well as blueprints of factory floor layouts and machinery diagrams.

My design for the gates was based on research into the history of the North British Rubber Company (NBRC) factory site. The only remaining building is the old headquarters on the corner of Dundee St, boarded up and derelict until redeveloped by Page Park architects for Edinburgh Printmakers.

I visited the NBRC archives in Ewart Library, Dumfries, and sifted through boxes of printed material from 1920s - 1970s; product catalogues, promotional leaflets, flyers and photos, as well as blueprints of factory floor layouts and machinery diagrams.

The photos and illustrations of workers tending the machines reminded me of printmakers at their printing presses. Calenders were used to flatten the raw material of rubber into sheets using a series of huge rollers. These cylindrical rolling shapes also appear in traditional and contemporary printmaking practice; in printing presses used in intaglio and relief printing. The repetitive action of rolling is also used in inking up a roller for relief printing, and rolling ink onto a lithography stone or plate. Many of the finished products coming out of the factory were packed, transported and presented in rolls – sheeting, mats, flooring – in the same way etching blankets and some papers are stored in the print workshop.

The photos and illustrations of workers tending the machines reminded me of printmakers at their printing presses. Calenders were used to flatten the raw material of rubber into sheets using a series of huge rollers. These cylindrical rolling shapes also appear in traditional and contemporary printmaking practice; in printing presses used in intaglio and relief printing. The repetitive action of rolling is also used in inking up a roller for relief printing, and rolling ink onto a lithography stone or plate. Many of the finished products coming out of the factory were packed, transported and presented in rolls – sheeting, mats, flooring – in the same way etching blankets and some papers are stored in the print workshop.

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Deveoplment of ideas: sketchbook drawings

Deveoplment of ideas: sketchbook drawings

The gates were expertly fabricated and installed by Sculpture & Design Ltd. The Castle Mills building was beautifully redeveloped by Page Park Architects.

The gates were expertly fabricated and installed by Sculpture & Design Ltd. The Castle Mills building was beautifully redeveloped by Page Park Architects.

I made an edition of 20 screenprints as part of the commission. Available from  Edinburgh Printmakers shop .

I made an edition of 20 screenprints as part of the commission. Available from Edinburgh Printmakers shop.

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This programme of public realm commissions is part of a broader Heritage Activities Programme that is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and supported by The Gannochy Trust, The Robertson Trust, and The Garfield Weston Foundation. 

The Entrance Gates commission is kindly supported by The Ironmonger’s Company.

Edinburgh Printmakers would like to acknowledge the generous contribution our local community has made in supporting this ambitious programme.

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