Blog by artist/printmaker Dawn Cole
The beginning of a new project and I feel I should stress this is not the end of Clarice, but a project that I will be working on alongside my work with Clarice’s archive.
Start the Press. Where to begin? Maybe begin with now, work back and see where it takes me.
Start the Press is a collaboration between me and artist/writer Dan Thompson. We joined forces last year after it became apparent that we had both been collecting information, stories, objects and ephemera relating to Thanet Press; the printworks at Union Crescent, Margate, each were determined to make sure the site was saved from demolition and keen to develop a creative project around it’s history and our growing archives.
Dan Thompson has written a great potted history of the site here
We have recently received sponsorship from Jameson’s Whisky to develop our project and although we are currently just beginning to explore our ideas we know we will be collecting oral histories from past workers, running some community workshops, hosting an exhibition and somewhere along the way making stuff. That probably sounds a bit vague, but at the moment there is a desire to see where the project takes us and that suits my practise perfectly. I love work where i don’t have to state what the finished ‘thing’ will be. I work in a way that explores possibilities and allows them to take me by the hand and lead me in directions I had no notion I would go in.
My interest in Thanet Press began in 2011 when the site closed. That year I did a project entitled ‘Mind Your p’s and q’s’ as a part of the Pushing Print festival and began recording oral histories and collecting material. However, my associations with the site and specifically the printers Eyre and Spottiswoode who owned the site from 1947 -1985 begin with my Dad, Eric John Edwards, known as John
As I begin this project, working with this archive which is so firmly tied to my family, my childhood, to the people who worked at Thanet Press and to Margate and it’s history I will be sharing some of the research Dan and I do, things we have collected, stories we uncover. I will also share my work as I get to grips with new processes and begin to develop a body of work in response to the project, and along the way I will share some of my childhood memories. There’s also a war connection….of course.