We are just waiting for 2 boxes of prints which are on the way from across the UK, but there are big boxes of prints from 36 workshops already in and checked. It has taken an elite team 2 days to open boxes, check numbers and prints and cross check against all the lists of names.
Next up has been the more challenging task of 'twinning'. This is where we match up workshops with other workshops and send each an identical set of prints. In this way we encourage links and increased knowledge of other workshops. This has spawned other exchanges and collaborations in previous years and is part of the ethos of the exchange. Workshops are drawn out of a hat at random and it's lovely to see smaller or newer workshops twinned with bigger, more established print workshops.
Then comes the random sorting of sets of 20 prints. Each workshop that submitted 10 artists will also get a box of 20 random prints. They can use these to sell to raise money for their workshop. Those with 20 or 30 artists will get 40 or 60 prints respectively, on top of the twinned portfolios they receive. It's a way of saying thanks for all the work in getting members to take part and collating all prints.
Hot Bed Press sells off 20:20 prints for £10 each. We have a big 'Under-The-Bed Sale' which this year takes place on Friday 2nd December 6pm - 9pm, and Saturday 3rd December 11am - 5pm. We make available for sale hundreds of past 20:20 prints as we found that the number ones of every edition that come back after touring pile up. We originally intended to archive these but ultimately there are just too many of them. Any money raised goes back into running the exchange as well as new equipment for Hot Bed Press as we continue to grow.
From Friday the larger task of spreading out all the prints and randomly collating into individual artists' boxes starts. We will have teams of up to 10 helpers each day. This will take around a week and then another 2 to 3 days of packaging back up and posting and tracking the parcels as they wing their way to all the workshops, including this year to Australia and Hong Kong.
Sorry - it's been a while since we've tracked the exhibition on its journey around the country. It started at Hot Bed Press, of course, and has since been to Neo: in Bolton, West Yorkshire Print Workshop and Liverpool John Moores University. The prints are now on show at the Sun Pier House as part of the Medway Print Festival in Kent - opening hours are on our 'Tour' page - where they remain until 3rd July.
After that it's back north again, as the show spends August at The Art House in Wakefield. These prints are getting to be pretty well-travelled!
The 20:20 tour has left Lancashire and travelled over the Pennines to West Yorkshire Print Workshop, where it will remain on show until 12th March. If you're in the area and you haven't seen the exhibition yet, we would (of course) recommend you take the opportunity! For more information, try here.
With the Hot Bed Press Christmas closedown, the 20:20 exhibition came down too. Lois did an amazing (and amazingly neat) job packing up all the prints into little parcels, one for each participating studio or print department. They're in that box. The carrier bag is stuffed with all the clips needed to hang them at each venue. And today, both were delivered to - well, see if you can guess!
That's right - Neo:artists of Bolton have taken delivery of 584 prints and many many clips (hopefully the 1168 needed to hang the complete set, but we have to confess that we didn't count them into the bag). They'll be spending a happy few days busy with hammers, nails, spirit levels and the odd sore thumb (surely) before the show opens in its new temporary home on Thursday 7th January. The preview is on Saturday 9th, 2-4pm, and provides something to sip while doing the rounds of the prints making all the appropriate ooo, ah and oh noises. Why not go along to support both Neo: and the 20:20 print exhibition and if you can't make it for the drinks and nibbles on Saturday 9th, the exhibition is in Bolton until the end of January.
The Market Place
Bolton BL1 2AN
(gallery hours 11am-5pm Thursday-Sunday)
The Under the Bed sale is over for another year. We launched the 2015-16 20:20 Print Exchange exhibition tour at the same time, and that remains on display at Hot Bed Press (Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm) until Friday 18th December. You're welcome to come and see all the prints (photographed above before the opening on Friday evening) - just let a member of staff know why you're visiting the workshop and they'll take you through or point you in the right direction.
The first few venues for the tour have now been confirmed and our on the Tour page - look out for more as dates are arranged.
Next Friday and Saturday Hot Bed Press will be holding its christmas Under the Bed Sale, along with the launch of this year's 20:20 Print Exchange. It's always a good do, the sale, with lots of lovely prints to buy at unbelievably reasonable prices, and tying it in with the 20:20 gives people an opportunity to see the size of the exchange. Nearly 600 prints, that sounds a lot - to see nearly 600 prints hanging together makes you realise it's bigger than that! Come along and enjoy with us, before the whole thing gets packed up and goes on tour.
No pictures today because there's nothing left. Everything has been packed up, and the vast majority posted on their way. The final couple of boxes left Hot Bed Press yesterday and were hand delivered this morning, and now nearly all of the workshops have received their packages (although a few boxes to Eire and Iceland might not have finished their journey just yet).
We should be posting details about the first few destinations of this year's tour quite soon, and the 2015 photos will be going live on our flickr site - again, quite soon. Meanwhile, we hope you all enjoy your own selections - and if not all of them are quite to your taste, you can always nudge your neighbour and see if they fancy swapping a couple.
We look forward to doing the whole thing all over again next year!
Above is a little summary of the week, from volunteers helping us fill more than 650 boxes, through those final random pick stages where all the piles of prints gradually reduced to one and then none left, to teetering piles of boxes (and there were more, incidentally, just around the corner), all filled with prints and just about ready to be packed up and posted off. At the beginning of next week, the small boxes will disappear into larger boxes and by midweek they should all be travelling.
We thought at first that there were no themes this year, but that was because the themes that were there are perennials - here's a very small selection from cats and dogs, birds, sea, maps and trees.