Meet the Maker - Pirrip Press

Monday, April 28, 2014
Hello!  Hope you had a lovely weekend? To start the week we shall dive straight into another brilliant Meet the Maker interview. This time from the talented duo that call themselves Pirrip Press.  

Pirrip Press took part in last years 'The Print Shop,' the Spike Island / Drawn in Bristol pop-up collaboration. Pirrip Press produce such colourful handprinted goodies, we just had to have their work for this years Paper Scissors Stone shop. Here is a little more about them...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
Both: We’re Alex and Georgie and we are Pirrip Press, a two-woman design & print duo based in Bristol, specialising in silkscreen printing. We make stationery, cards, artwork, books and all sorts of other printed products. We love to print: for us, there’s nothing better than seeing a project come true in print in the studio. We aim to share this enthusiasm by creating beautifully hand-printed work. Our work is quite diverse, but we like colours, shapes, layers and words and often limit ourselves to two or three colours. We like to tell stories, and know that things have more authenticity if there’s research, thought and a narrative of some kind behind them, so there’s always a tale woven in to what we do. Our work is pretty modern; we like simple and bold design and colours, and we like to laugh, so there’s often a lightheartedness and a wry smile present in what we produce. 
Apart from creating things what else do you do? 
Both: We both love our creative work, especially printing, but we also do work in other fields. Georgie teaches illustration on the degree courses at Gloucester, Cardiff and Southampton and also lectures on the illustration MA at Falmouth. Alex does bits and pieces of illustration work as a freelancer and also teaches on day- courses for adults. We both like exploring – walking, visiting new places, museum visits and letting our minds wander through reading. George likes running in the dark and Alex does tap dancing. 

When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
Alex: We both did art-related subjects all through school and made tonnes of (probably useless!) stuff when we were little – pots, posters, scrunchies, necklaces, comics, masks, bags etc., and recently both remembered newspapers or magazines that we had self-published with our siblings or pals when we were about 10. But the first print I remember was a butterfly print, made at my grandma & grandad’s dining room table. Where you make one half of the butterfly with paint and then fold the paper in half to squash (print!) the same pattern on the other side to make the two identical wings of the butterfly. Not sure what print method that is, but they were brilliant and smudgy and bold. 
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
Alex: We were discussing print recently and both realized that one of our favourite things is seeing lots of things all the same, all lined up. So obviously printing and edition and seeing all the identical prints drying on the rack is therefore massively satisfying! Plus its great to have something physical to show at the end of the day for all your ‘work’ - a stack of cards or a new design on a stencil ready to print is very rewarding. 

Where does your inspiration come from?
Georgie: We take inspiration from all sorts of places – books we read, things we see on our travels and anecdotes we remember. There’s usually a nature, science or history link somewhere along the line. There’s lots of youngster’s science books in our studio – they are a really good source of inspiration, and as the information they impart is usually in bite-sized bits for children, they’re easier for our non-scientific minds to comprehend! 
Describe your studio or workspace? 
Georgie: We print at Spike Print Studio, where we are key holders. It’s a brilliant studio and we really enjoy working there. Everyone is friendly and helpful and there’s a real sense of community. It’s great to chat to everyone and see what they’re up to and we all help each other out if we get stuck. 
Alex: We also have a small studio at home, more of an office really. This is where we do our design work and all the prep for our printing. It’s pretty full – a big plan chest, two desks and a big tall stationery / stock cupboard, book shelves and some inspirational prints on the walls. We have a whole run (20ish) of Time Life books with their different coloured spines all lined up in rainbow order. We recently bought a new plant for the office – a bright green fern we knew nothing about. We managed to identify it on the internet where it was described as ‘the diva of the plant world’. We have to feed it ice cubes daily. 

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be? 
Alex: We like lots of old printmakers and illustrators, both of us are Ravillious fans. And we really like the lithographs that Rosemary & Clifford Ellis made in the 50s and onwards, mainly commercial work for TFL and book covers, its really vibrant and beautiful – when colour was still quite new. Bet they’d have a good studio. And probably it would be great to snoop around Paul Rand’s place. 
How would you describe your creative process? 
Georgie: We work in sketchbooks, drawing and painting and fiddling about and then things start to formulate into more solid ideas and images. Then we get the original drawn pages onto the computer and start playing around with layout, adding type, tidying up and testing colours and layers. We have both become quite practiced at separating things into layers in our minds and thinking through overlaps and shapes in our heads. But its always a treat when you get the second layer down for the first time in a print and you can really see it come alive. 

What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
Alex: A big pot my grandma made when she took pottery classes in the 60s and 70s. It’s so handsome. It has been glued back together because it smashed when my auntie fell down the stairs, but it’s still a beauty. 

What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
Alex: Going for a walk or a run is always good. Georgie always says she has lots of ideas when she’s at the gym! I also find looking through photos helps – places I’ve been or holidays and stuff – we take loads of photos so its nice to have a wander through them. 
Which is your favourite local independent shop or eatery in Bristol & why? 
Georgie: The Small Bar is good – they have so many nice local beers, good amount of room for a nice group of pals and we had amazing burgers in there last month too. And a Meat + Bread sandwich made Alex’s mum very happy indeed. 

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
Both: Still in Bristol. Still making things and still running Pirrip Press. We’d like to do a little more of the playful printing and experiments we only do occasionally, and we want to continue with self-publishing one book a year.

Thank you ladies!  Loved snooping around your inspirations, and that plant does sound quite the diva! Ice cubes?

You can discover the amazing work of Pirrip Press for yourself in our Paper Scissors Stone shop.

Paper Scissors Stone
Quakers Friars
Cabot Circus

Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm
Sun:  11am - 5pm

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