Making Printmaking Mainstream in Edmonton

In an era of digital, paper gifts are unique.

The Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists (SNAP) offers classes, equipment and studio space to artists.

Mass-produced gifts are often as forgettable as they are exhausting to acquire. As a result, more folks are escaping the madness by shopping local or making unique gifts by hand, and the trend is on the upswing.

The Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists (SNAP) is part of the movement to make printmaking mainstream in Edmonton. SNAP is a not-for-profit, artist-run centre that celebrates contemporary and traditional forms of print-making by providing classes, equipment and studio space to amateur and established artists alike. Those eager to start making their own graphic art can attend SNAP’s drop-in events or sign up for classes or one-on-one sessions. While technology like the letterpress has been around for centuries, Amanda McKenzie, Printshop and Programs Coordinator at SNAP, reports growing enthusiasm for the craft.

“Especially in the last few years, people are getting excited about upcycling and making things themselves.”

It doesn’t get more personal than a handmade card, but if you haven’t yet had time to hone your printmaking skills, an array of paper goods designed by local artists are available for purchase at the SNAP Gallery. The most insatiable print lovers might also consider a SNAPline membership. The magazine is published three times annually and has attracted the attention of local, national and international artists. The best part is that each instalment includes exclusive commissioned prints, coordinating with the issue’s theme. “The only potential downside,” says McKenzie, “is how quickly you’ll run out of wall space.”

If you and your friends have endless walls to fill, The Prints and the Paper on 124th street offers a curated shopping experience and an impressive repertoire of giftable graphic art. When Sandy Muldrew began the venture in 2016, he had a vision for an eclectic shop that would inject energy into the neighbourhood. His selection of letter-pressed cards is a crowd-pleaser, and he also provides custom framing, which is a great option for those looking to display their latest SNAP Gallery finds.

“Customers are pleasantly surprised when they walk in,” says Muldrew. “The idea is that you can find something fun and unexpected.”

This article appears in the December 2019 issue of Avenue Edmonton.

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