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Sarah Bissell, The Gutter Press
interview
09/03/19


TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR CREATIVE BACKGROUND

Hello, I’m Sarah Bissell a.k.a. The Gutter Press. I started The Gutter Press at the end of 2016 after buying a risograph printer and setting up a studio in Edinburgh. I’m in my third studio since then but I’ve found a lovely home in Murieston Lane Studios recently and I hope to settle here for a good while.

I graduated from DJCAD in 2010 with a BA Hons in illustration and quickly got a job full time as a screen printer for a production company in my hometown Dundee. After 4 years I got itchy feet so I moved to Edinburgh and undertook an MA in illustration at Edinburgh College of Art. Having a taste for production I decided to start my own production company after I graduated and I kept a look out for equipment available, while also undertaking a residency at the ECA which was great as I got to teach some workshops and help with projects while I was there. Since then I’ve been invited back to teach workshops and I hope to build on the teaching side in the future.

CAN YOU GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO YOUR PRACTICE AND WHAT YOU DO?

I design and make artwork for products and exhibitions as well as printing artwork for my lovely customers. My own work is collage based with a constructivist look to it and I make stationery and prints which are on sale online and in shops around Edinburgh.

I love making prints for clients and bringing their designs to life. I also welcome clients to come to my studio and chat about what they’d like/help with the process to get the effect they’d like. My set printing days are tuesday, wednesday and thursday and I can do some folding and binding depending on requirements.

I love risograph because it is the great mix of printmaking and fast paced creativity. The colours are also great but the main selling point for me is the environmentally friendliness of the ink and consumables. I try to only use recycled paper and keep any waste to a minimum.

DO YOU HAVE ANY EXCITING PROJECTS OR EVENTS ON THE HORIZON?

Recently I was invited down to the Royal College of Art to teach some MA students bookbinding techniques and I’d like to expand on that and teach more often in the future.

At the end of June I am taking part in a group exhibition at Whitespace gallery in Edinburgh. I will be exhibiting prints and books alongside seven other artists who I met through the ECA. The show is called Between Lands, and will showcase our work in the disciplines of textiles, illustration and fine art. Keep an eye out for it and pop by for a look.

I’m also taking part in an exhibition in London to do with the Moon. I love anything space themed so when I heard there was a festival to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landings I jumped at the chance to get involved. I will be one of seven female artists creating work based on the moon theme and it will be exhibited this July in Brixton Beneficiary Gallery. It’s early days but I’m excited to be a part of it.


WHAT MAKES EDINBURGH A GOOD BASE FOR CREATIVES?

Edinburgh has lots of exhibitions and events of different sizes and styles which are great to visit and take part in. I particularly love a wander around the modern art gallery and the Fruitmarket gallery. It’s more like a large village than a city and when the festival hits the amount of activity is amazing. It’s also in a great position of being half way between Glasgow and my hometown Dundee which is great for trips to either.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE THINKING OF PURSUING A CAREER IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES?

Find something you love and have a flair for and just throw yourself into it. So many people get ‘imposter syndrome’ and doubt if they’re ready for things but great things happen when you push yourself and take risks. Say yes to new opportunities and just make sure to take care of yourself along the way.


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT CREATIVE EDINBURGH?

Creative Edinburgh is a great backer of local creatives. I regularly attend Creative Mornings held by them which is great when you are freelance and might not see many other artists in a normal working week. I was also lucky enough to have been paired up with a mentor in 2017 by them which gave me the vital extra drive I needed to get the business off the ground. I’m very grateful for their support.

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