Union St Printmakers is set in a private oasis not far from Adelaide’s CBD in the suburb of Stepney. Established by Simone Tippett in 2009, the small school has been quietly nurturing the local printmaking community ever since.
These days, newcomers and a committed group of regulars attend casual classes every Saturday, and full-day intensives for smaller groups are held on Tuesdays. Tippett’s approach to teaching is intuitive. “When people come in, I just try and respond to what they communicate about what they want to do,” Tippett says. “Each session waxes and wanes according to the people who are in it.” Conversation and collaboration are a big part of the classes and Saturday afternoons often end with happy hour. Printmaking is an egalitarian art that provides makers of all ages, backgrounds and expertise a means of expression. Tippett describes the printmaking community of Union St as hardworking, humble and generous, all traits that just as accurately describe her. Tippett is a tireless supporter of the creative community. When not teaching classes or working on her own practice, she spends time curating exhibitions, producing a periodic e-newsletter with news and information for local printmakers, and organising masterclasses with visiting artists. She is a board member of both Guildhouse and the Print Council of Australia, and the South Australian contact for Enjay Presses. If that wasn’t enough, she also enjoys playing with letterpresses and is the founding member of Letterpress Lovelies, a local group that shares their passion for this age–old technique. Tippett’s own practice is informed by her work with the community. Alongside a longstanding love for watery surfaces and the colour blue, she finds working in collaboration makes for richer and more interesting work. It is not surprising then that, despite an accomplished practice, which includes work in this year’s Australian exhibition publication at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Tippett considers teaching her greatest achievement.
Simone Tippett, Poolaroids
Most recently, she has been excited to see members of the Union St Printmakers community initiate their own projects, evidence that her years of hard work and determination in fostering the local community is having meaningful results.
Film by Michael James Rowland, © Cowboy Books
Union St Printmakers is featured on the Well Made website. Well Made is an initiative of Guildhouse. For further information about Well Made, visit wellmade.com.au. The Adelaide Review is a proud media partner of Well Made.