Mind the gap, and welcome to the journey!

In the years of my childhood and youth I just loved trains. When I was little we lived in Aachen and I insisted to go and see the steam trains. On Sundays we‘d head for the station and watch the powerful locomotives do their work, reversing out – it was a terminal station. When I was 5, I asked Santa to bring me a model railway for Christmas. He did and I treasured it. The tiny locomotives and carriages, the rails and turnouts are still packed away neatly in a shoe box.

Later, most of my travelling I did using the railway. Touring regions between Cornwall, Yorkshire and Cumbria in England in 1985, I did so on a BritRail-Ticket. When travelling on a train the monotonous klaklong-klaklong-klaklong of the wheels on the track, the passing by of landscapes, cities, villages like in a movie always had its spell on me and my imagination.

So, railway it is for our time travel through the 25-year-history of my printmaking studio. Our train will not depart from platform 9 ¾ but somewhere near.

Hogwarts Express, Scotland

Be it the Transibirian Railway, the Orient Express or the Flying Scotsmann: all those long haul trains have a powerful locomotive pulling a number of carriages, each of which comes with its own furnishing and offering a specific service, like a dining room or a reading room. Our train, The Fork and Broom exPress, is fitted with a gallery, a library and even a wee-little cinema space. Travellers can move freely between carriages and even beyond – time travel comes with its very special features.

We will be on our way for 99 days, and every three to four days one more carriage will be coupled to the train. Each carriage carries one year in the history of the printmaking studio. The main part of the carriage tells the story of what kept the studio busy most for the better part of that year, minor tasks are listed under the heading „Briefly noted“. There is a list of works published that very year, prints, broadsides and artist‘s books. Those art works that are on showcase in the train‘s gallery are linked to that place, so who wishes can go there through the link and have a closer look at the work in question, some even come with a little video. And one can easily go back to the carriage one started from. All carriages transporting one year come with a shelf labelled Contact. Here links can be found to book fairs, publications, museums, fair managers, suppliers of special materials and tools, organisations, societies, event calendars and providers of newsletters. There might even be the odd suggestion for a book to read. At some of the stopovers carriages will be coupled to the train dedicated to a specific theme. These will come with links to the train‘s library, which holds articles on letterpress, printmaking, cultural heritage and metal type, some links go out to collections elsewhere.

We depart for our journey on 15 March , which is Printmakers‘ Day. On this day in 2018 traditional and artistic printmaking techniques were awarded the status of cultural heritage.

We arrive at our destination on 21 June, the day when the exhibition celebrating the 25th anniversary of the studio will open. For this our old barn will then, again, metamorphose into the bespoke gallery space it has been over the past few years at times.

It is time to embark on our journey. Take a seat and make yourself comfortable.

Enjoy travelling with The Fork and Broom exPress – have a pleasant journey!

Annette C. Dißlin

I am grateful beyond words to my dear friend Marianne Midelburg in Australia. Without hesitation she offered to proof read my English texts, asked questions and made suggestions, and by doing so, she played a vital part to improve the texts. She has stayed by my side for weeks until the posts for all 25 years were completed. If there are still mistakes, typos and passages difficult to understand in those texts, these are due to me keeping stubbornly to what I had written in the first place, or simply failing to correct what Marianne had spotted. So all mistakes still in the texts are my fault and they are entirely so.

Stay tuned – the train is on schedule and departing on Printmakers’ Day.

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