Monday, 2 July 2012

Do You Punctuate?

Retro Dial by Bec Gilray of Do You Punctuate
A while ago Artist in Business featured different artists and creatives who were business-minded and we have decided to revise this feature. We would like to introduce you to Bec Gilray of Do You Punctuate? A Letter press artist based in Otley, West Yorkshire UK.

"I started 'Do You Punctuate?' last October when I stumbled upon studio space at the Courthouse in Otley. The Courthouse is an arts and community centre that has art spaces for local practising artists and crafters. 

Studio, Otley Courthouse
"I realised I needed bigger premises when my dining room was being taken over by printing presses and boxes of type and ink! So I researched commercial spaces but it became apparent that they were going to be quite expensive. It was an email to the Courthouse enquiring about their studio spaces that lead to me moving in fairly quickly and getting set up within a couple of weeks. 
"Once it became known that I was there, people from everywhere (it seemed!) started giving me equipment, bits of type they had in their sheds, helping move furniture, I had a plan chest given to me, paper and ink. If it was print related I was given it! It was fantastic because people are genuinely curious as to what happens in my studio and I'm always glad to show them. 

"I love the studio because the light is stunning and with the windows being so big I get to people watch when I'm having a cuppa. I've tried to keep the furniture and feel in keeping with the time period of the courthouse, so I have eclectic studio furniture that is a mixture of Edwardian and some 50's inspired pieces. I'm quite nostalgic and I love vintage styles but I try to combine it with contemporary ideas to keep my work fresh but with a twist.

"I've been a printer for a few years now and I specialised at university in typography. It was during my MA that I started to buy more printing presses and really develop a passion for letterpress printing. The presses I own are a bookbinding press, an Adana 8x5 and a Charlton and Cropper Improved Peerless press. The Peerless has just recently been restored by my Uncle and I am really excited about the possibilities of printing that this new press has opened for me. 

"I open once a month for an open studio day, this coincides with the Courthouse's Designer Craft fairs and I give demonstrations of the printing press and have my printed goods for sale. I mostly print stationery but I do prints from time to time. I do a lot of commissions for people and I love applying my style to their ideas to create something unique and different. I also enjoy creating my own work and I use old newspapers and adverts as inspiration for creating new print ideas that is transformed into cards and stationery. 
"In the future I aim to have people come and explore letterpress printing by running workshops, I feel my studio is such a lovely space that it's a shame not to share it with other creatives as well".  Bec Gilray, Do You Punctuate?
You can follow Becs on Facebook or visit her on-line shops at Not on The High Street and Big Cartel

We ask our artists to share one business tip and here is Bec's:
"Get a really good accountant(!) and find local crafters who can lend support and help. It's hard working on your own at times so it's good to know that other professional crafts people are in the same boat. Being part of the Craft soup which is a Facebook group for fellow Yorkshire craft people, has been invaluable to me in both a personal and professional context".

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