Cork Public Museum

20 June – 29 September 2024

Cork Printmakers are delighted to present Movable Type, an exhibition of new artworks in letterpress at Cork Public Museum.

The exhibition features original artworks in letterpress by 24 artists from Cork Printmakers and MTU Crawford College of Art and Design.  

The exhibition is a celebration of letterpress printmaking as a historic printing process and its potential to be incorporated into contemporary artistic practices.  

The exhibited artworks utilise a collection of letterpress originally from Colman’s Printers, which was donated by Cork Public Museum to Cork Printmakers & MTU Crawford in 2021, where it has been refurbished and rehoused for use by contemporary print artists and as a tool for active learning for researchers, communities and artists at all stages of their careers. 

The artists have innovatively engaged with the type, both using the type itself or making work inspired by it; with many exploring the themes of archives, language, the environment, personal artefacts and print history. Others explored heritage and history of the letterpress type and its journey through prominent cultural, commercial and educational spaces in Cork.  

“Cork Public Museum are delighted to be working with Cork Printmakers to create this exhibition. I am genuinely thrilled to see the old printing type from Colman’s Printers getting a second lease of life being used by artists and researchers to create new works of printed art. This collaborative project highlights the importance of finding new and innovative ways to re-utilise some of the historical collections that often languish unloved in museum storerooms. Now the legacy of Coleman’s Printers will survive through the future work done at Cork Printmakers and MTU Crawford College of Art & Design.” – Dan Breen Director, Cork Public Museum 

“This letterpress project and collaboration between Cork Public Museum, Cork Printmakers and Crawford College is a true example of the far-reaching benefits of collaboration. From restoring the type to engaging in intensive training in letterpress printing through to the making and exhibiting of artworks. We also acknowledge the importance of the three organisation within Cork’s rich art, cultural and printing heritage.” – Peter Mc Morris, Director, Cork Printmakers  

Letterpress printing is a relief printing technique where the wooden or lead type is inked up and a direct impression of the raised surface is made onto a sheet of paper. Popularised by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid 15th century and used in commercial printing until mid-20th Century the process has seen a revival and use among visual artists and designers. Artists  incorporate the technique alongside more contemporary techniques such as photopolymer printmaking and screenprinting. 

Exhibiting artists: 

Artists Angela Gardner, Anita Geaney, Brian Barry, Catherine Hehir, Colette Lewis, Collette Nolan, Deirdre Mc Kenna, Elize de Beer, Fiona Kelly, Frances Leach, Helle Helsner, Helen Devitt, Jo Kelley, Liudmila Kalinka, Marilyn Lennon, Nic Flanagan, Nikki Tait, Paul La Rocque, Peter Nash, Róisín O’Sullivan, Róisín Moloney, Sarah O’Driscoll, Shane O’Driscoll, Tom Doig 

Opening times:  

10am – 4pm Tuesday – Friday. 

11am-4pm Saturday  

Location: Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Mardyke, Cork, T12 V0AA