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DE makes the front page of Exeter Living!

Posted on Thursday 6th October, 2016

Exeter Living’s front cover image has been created by Steve Manning, one of the members of Double Elephant Print Workshop.

From Double Elephant’s Exeter studio, makers from all over Devon and beyond use old presses to create individual prints, using a variety of traditional techniques.

Next year, Double Elephant will be celebrating their twentieth anniversary. Since setting up, with some donated equipment the organisation has become an integral part of Exeter’s cultural life. From their city centre base, they work across Devon and beyond, offering courses, resources and support to professional printmakers and artists at all levels. Their aim is to encourage creativity and artistic development through a friendly and welcoming approach.

Simon Ripley, one of Double Elephant’s Directors said:
When we started up, we were confident that we were making something long lasting, and now that feels like a great achievement. We’ve worked in so many different places – schools, prisons, community venues and all sorts of venues across the county. We’ve worked with all kinds of audiences too – young people, vulnerable people, enthusiastic amateurs and experienced professionals. One of the exciting things about being 20 is all the people we’ve introduced to printmaking over the years.”

Looking forwards to their 20th anniversary, Double Elephant have brought a new artistic twist to the traditional craft of printmaking. Five contemporary artists have worked alongside experienced printmakers to create The Exeter Portfolio, a boxed set of original prints.

Just thirty boxed sets have been produced, using lino cut, photo etching, collagraph, drypoint, screenprinting, etching and laser cutting techniques. Landscapes, nature, urban scenes and other subjects have inspired the artists, and a specially commissioned poem by the Bard of Exeter is included.

Simon Ripley said:
“As printmakers, we’re used to working with old technology and traditional techniques. As we look forwards to our 20th anniversary, we thought this was a good time to push the boundaries. We wanted to invite other artists to experiment with us and inspire us, bringing a new twist to our traditional craft. It’s been a wonderful experience. The Exeter Portfolio is a highly collectible set of art works reflecting the very best of contemporary printmaking. It’s a beautiful thing that we’re all very proud of.”

For the front cover image, Steve Manning focussed on traditional printmaking techniques. To create the different layers of colour, he made seven lino blocks, each one used to print one or two of the colours from his chosen palette. The lettering was created separately by fellow printmaker Jeremy Speck who specialises in letter press. It’s a time-consuming process, with each block taking around two hours to create, each layer half a day to print and two days to dry the ink between each print session. And of course, there’s the creative stage before all of that starts, with sketching and coming up with the idea.

“I like the technical process”, Steve said, “there are rules, but you can break them and that gives you a certain kind of freedom. One of the good things about working at Double Elephant is being able to exchange ideas with other people. There’s so much talent and experience and people are happy to share that with others.”

Steve’s print is available here.
You can purchase the Exeter Portfolio here. Or to view the Portfolio and for more information contact Simon Ripley on 07857 036433 or email –

Handcrafted by Rock Kitchen Harris