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The Makers: 3rd Rail Print Space

The Makers: 3rd Rail Print Space

Ash Chalk · 10 Apr

The Makers is a series of short films and interviews that aim to tell the story of some of our talented members at Peckham Levels.It may not always be open to the public but Levels 1-4 is a bustle of activity, collaboration, making and creating. 'The Makers' is an exclusive peek behind the scenes to meet the people that make Peckham Levels and to take a look inside their units. We sat down with Holly from 3rd Rail Print Space to talk about their journey.

How did you come to be at 3rd Rail Print Space?

I graduated in 2010 in Leeds and then moved down to London. I worked in design studios, within high street brands like Topshop and that led me to work freelance and assist designers. Then I came upon the open access screen print world and I've been doing this for eight years.

What’s an average day for you? 

I run the day to day. Ian and Rob (they went to University together) are the studio directors. They established 3rd Rail Print Space from our sister company, 3rd Rail Clothing, which has been running for about 10 years. 

When Peckham Levels approached us to open a screen print studio it felt like it was organically the next step for the 3rd Rail hub. To showcase and share all the skills from 3rd Rail Clothing into a comprehensive print hub comprised of t-shirt printers with their own unique brands, hobbyists, fabric printers and paper printers. So, we have big brands, but we also have a lot of individuals. 

We have a workshop programme that enables anyone to come in and learn the process. It gives an insight on the process and if you enjoy it you can become a member.

What's your favourite process? 

I'm a fabric printer. I do a lot of technical consultation but I also develop and design prints for fashion. But I also love developing workshops, That's my real passion, to teach and showcase and develop. 

What first got you interested in screen printing? 

I've always been very tactile, I like creating things with my hands and screen printing is all manual. It's all creating and investigating with different fibres so it's very hands on. I have patience with certain things because it is a long process - it's like 80% set up and 20% printing. 

Why is it important for 3rd Rail to be in a community space? 

There’s lots of businesses and artists we’ve collaborated with in here that wouldn't have come across screen printing if they hadn’t seen us. There’s a variety of characters coming into Peckham Levels to just explore the space and collaborate and they're discovering screen printing without having planned it. For example, during the Open Studios, a group of photography students came to visit Bright Rooms, then they come across us and learnt how to develop their photos into screen prints. 

Why is it important for 3rd Rail to be in a community space? 

There’s lots of businesses and artists we’ve collaborated with in here that wouldn't have come across screen printing if they hadn’t seen us. There’s a variety of characters coming into Peckham Levels to just explore the space and collaborate and they're discovering screen printing without having planned it. For example, during the Open Studios, a group of photography students came to visit Bright Rooms, then they come across us and learnt how to develop their photos into screen prints. 

What do you like about being in Peckham? 

It has a really diverse mix of people, students and a creative vibe. There's always something going on. It’s changed so much and I've only been here three years.

Can you tell me an interesting fact about screen printing?

There's some weird stuff. Some of the chemicals that go into the screen prints paint are quite odd. One of them is generated from pigs wee, that is a fact… 

What are your plans for the future? 

Personally, I want to plan some research trips around the world to inspire my textiles and my ethos. I want to go to India to look at traditional dyeing and Japan to go back to the beginning of traditional techniques and push that forward. It’s all about development, that’s my next step. 

For 3rd Rail Print Space, we want to develop studio spaces for individuals and invest more time in our courses. We want to hone in on different techniques and do some specialist workshops. We also want to do our first exhibition with one of our artists.

Do you have any tips for someone looking to start their own business? 

Yes - start small. If you've got a vision it will organically grow. A lot of businesses expand too fast and it doesn’t work out because they haven't got the right team. You need the core backbone and the idea to start off with. You need to build a really trustworthy, small team and then you can grow from there.

To find out more about 3rd Rail print Space head to their Instagram