20:20 Print Exchange


by Aylsa Williams

Do you remember the 1970/80’s children’s programme SWAP-SHOP where children in the UK could swap their belongings with others in “Swaporama” – well the 20:20 print exchange is a Swaporama for printmakers.

What does each artist provide:

Each artist produces an edition of 25 prints on paper measuring specifically 20 x 20 cm (hence the name 20:20).   The actual print can be any size up to the 20 x 20 cm paper size.  There is no theme and therefore the range of prints produced is amazingly different each year.


What happens to the prints:

The no. 1 of each edition goes on tour internationally during the following year to print workshops or galleries connected to print workshops.

All prints can be also viewed online in the 20:20 gallery.

Who Runs It:

The exchange is ran by the Hot Bed Press based in Salford.  The idea is simple, the exchange takes place between studios (rather than individuals) and each studio needs groups of 10 to take part.

It is one of the largest print exchanges in Europe.

Cowprint members join forces each year to take part in the 20:20 print exchange.

What do artists get back in exchange:

Artists involved each receive a box containing one of their own prints and 19 others randomly selected from all of the other artists taking part.  These come from workshops all over the world.

In addition, there is no limit on the number of Artist’s Proofs you can create (this is normally restricted to 10% of an edition) – so artists can create and sell Artist’s Proofs of their print if they choose to.

The prints in SWAP-SHOP:

The variety of work received is always incredible, not all prints received will be to everyone’s taste but there are always a few treasures to be found in each box.

There is a huge array of prints, styles, printmaking methods and subjects.   It gives a great insight into the diverse range of printmaking going on and regional/national styles and even trends.


 It’s always an incredibly exciting moment when the 20:20 box arrives from Hot Bed Press containing smaller boxes with individual members prints inside (all named and ready to go). Opening up my own box and reviewing the prints I have received in my very own SWAP-SHOP is always a moment of joy.

We couldn’t do this without Cowprint:

 Individuals cannot take part in this Print Exchange without being part of a collective.  Only ‘studios’ can take part in this Exchange. Cowprint is considered a ‘studio’ for this purpose as we originated from the Red Hot Press studio in Southampton, UK where our involvement in the exchange first started.

Being a member of Cowprint enables us to join these types of international events which would otherwise not be open to us as individuals.   This is just one of the many things Cowprint members take part in, as well as exhibitions and a monthly meeting including artists’ talks. If you are a printmaker and are interested in joining Cowprint Artists Group email us at cowprintmakers@gmail.com

Each printmaker at cowprint pays £12 to participate (£2 for P&P and £10 of which is paid to Hot Bed Press), a small price to pay for the significant cost in time and execution. Aylsa Williams who has organised our last few print exchanges also invests time and energy to admin and organising, as well as keeping artists to timelines (never an easy task!).

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