Down a narrow cobbled lane off the Castlegate probably isn’t the first place you’d go looking for one of the North-east’s cultural treasures, but that’s where you’ll find Peacock Visual Arts.
Championing contemporary printmaking for over forty years, evolving into one of the North-east’s leading arts organisations. Back in the 1970’s Peacock Printmakers was founded by a small band of artists, lecturers and keen students to provide open access to fine art printing machinery and expertise.
Today, it’s a hugely welcoming place to learn a variety of printmaking techniques through high quality courses, workshops and personal instruction at really affordable prices – especially given that the instructors spend the rest of their time producing prints for some of the UK’s top artists.
The lower floor of the labyrinthine building is dominated by hand operated printing presses for lithography, relief printing and etching plates, while upstairs you’ll find screenprinting equipment. There’s also specialist kit for photo etching and monoprinting. After registration, which costs £10, a studio session costs just £5 for up to four hours, meaning you can take the time to master the processes and experiment. Individual tuition can be arranged for £30 per hour to get you started.
If you’d rather learn in a group setting, there are regular day long and weekend courses in everything from creative book binding to dry point etching and screen printing. Classes can also be arranged for small groups on an ad-hoc basis.
Over the road, there’s a dedicated gallery space, with a full programme of selling exhibitions throughout the year. If you’re looking to buy a print, there’s a shop area where the staff are happy to show you other work if you don’t see anything you love on display.