Scrum Down Print Forward launch at Newcastle Falcon's Barnard Castle summer camp participants.

Scrum Down Print Forward launch at Newcastle Falcon's Barnard Castle summer camp participants.

Scrum Down Print Forward A Record Breaking Rugby World Cup Print That Is Too Big to Miss!

18 August 2015

Yet again Newcastle’s Northern Print sets out to get the whole world printing with a huge 33 metre long linocut print in celebration of the Rugby World Cup 2015. Taking inspiration from the phrase used to launch the world’s most prized rugby tournament ‘Too Big to Miss’ the project ‘Scrum Down Print Forward’ promises to be an audacious international printmaking project of epic proportions.

Working in partnership with NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Newcastle Falcons Community Foundation, ‘Scrum Down Print Forward’ forms part of NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s Conversion Festival– a nine-day cultural celebration of rugby, which takes place from Saturday 3 – Sunday 11 October in Rugby World Cup 2015 Host City, Newcastle upon Tyne. 

Northern Print aims to see over 1000 participants drawing and cutting a series of 3 metre lino sections in all eleven World Cup 2015 Host Cities. Additionally, artists from all twenty competing nations will each be creating smaller rugby ball shaped lino panels to be inserted into the main design. Distribution of the 20 lino rugby balls started this week bound for artists and studios in countries as diverse as Japan, South Africa, Tonga and Canada.

The starting point for the image was created by award-winning artist and illustrator Sara Ogilvie. Sara’s main design will be cut into the lino sections with other images and details added by artists, children, rugby teams and community groups over the coming weeks before being re-assembled in Newcastle upon Tyne for a grand printing finale on Sunday 11 October. Unlike most prints made in the privacy of a studio, this one will be so big it’s going to be printed outdoors and it is expected to be quite a spectacle because instead of a printing press, the pressure will be applied by a heavy roller used or scrum practice and team of rugby players.

Anna Wilkinson; Director of Northern Print describes the project,

“Really it’s all about teamwork. The brief we gave Sara was to celebrate rugby and to capture the idea of teamwork. Teamwork is one of the core values of rugby that seems to sit so well with how printmaking and print studios work where a sense of collaboration and mutual support in vital. It’s through working with our partners in other print studios that together we are able to achieve such an ambitious project. We hope that people, whether they are artists, rugby fans, both or neither will join in with the spirit of the project.”

Northern Print first tried printing with a scrum machine and players from Tynedale RFC back in 2013, thought to be a world-first this unusual method was quickly picked up by  Inkmasters in Cairns, Australia, who will rather neatly be creating the Australian contribution to this collaborative artwork.

The project simultaneously works on a grand scale and at a smaller, more personal level.  At one end it’s a huge linocut that’s involved hundreds of people across England, Wales and the world – but on another it’s a very local project with individual contributions, stories and connections between communities.

And if that’s not big enough, it’s hoped that all 33 metres of the finished print will officially be the World’s Longest Linocut.

The project has been funded by Arts Council England and supported by Newcastle Falcons Community Foundation and Newcastle Gateshead Initiative.

Participating UK Partners (representing the 11 host cities):

Northern Print,Newcastle upon Tyne
Double Elephant Print Workshop, Exeter
bip-Art, Brighton
Leicester Print Workshop
Leeds City Art Gallery
Hot Bed Press, Salford
London Print Studio
Printmarket Project, Cardiff
Birmingham Printmakers
Milton Keynes Print Studio
Gloucestershire Printmaking Cooperative,Stroud

Andy Buist from Newcastle Falcons Community Foundation said:

“The Scrum Down Print is going to be a great project and shows off another side of how the Rugby World Cup can bring communities together.

Producing a large piece of art by scrummaging a scrum machine over paint and paper, is a fantastic visual activity which will allow all sorts of people to get involved. It will be a real team effort, from the kids and players involved in drawing all the way through to the people doing the pushing of the machine.

By joining up with the other cities as well, again encapsulates how the RWC is a great way of promoting working together. We are looking forward to seeing this all take place and, of course, the final artwork!”

Carol Bell - Head of Culture and Major Events at NewcastleGateshead Initiative and producer of Conversion Festival said:

 “We’re very proud to have Scrum Down Print Forward as part of Conversion. The festival is all about celebrating the game of rugby, the visiting nations and Newcastle’s role as Host City – something this project really embraces.

“Conversion was developed with Newcastle City Council to create a festival atmosphere around Rugby World Cup 2015 in Newcastle. We want the experience of hosting the tournament to be memorable for everyone, whether you’re attending a game or not.”

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