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Thought Press Project

We were delighted to chat with Sanira Emon, artist at Paper Fight, to find out how she set up Thought Press Project and to hear more about this year’s project.

Can you introduce yourself?

Hello I’m Sanira Emon, artist at Paper Fight. I am a printmaker with a love of illustration too, particularly hand-drawing rather than digital methods. I started my artwork as a hobby and outlet for my creativity, but pretty soon I wanted to share it with others, so I started my own print workshops and now I make artwork to sell online and at craft fairs, as well as working with charities such as Edible Rotherhithe where I design and print fabric goods like aprons and totebags as well as making limited edition prints and cards. Last year I began a passion project through which I supported a charity called Heart Felt Tips for whom I am now a Trustee.

Sanira Emon, thought press project founder
Sanira Emon, thought press project founder

What is the Thought Press Project?

It is a nationwide charity print project which I began during lockdown by post and online using social media, involving 100 printmakers across the UK.

It’s called the Thought Press Project and in 2021 we raised a total of £4,700 for Mind Charity and Heart Felt Tips CIC, arranged 3 exhibitions around the UK and gained recognition from the UK printmaking community by featuring in both the RE (Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers) magazine ‘Printmaking Today’ and in the equally prestigious ‘Pressing Matters’.


How did the Thought Press Project come about?

The Thought Press Project was a collaboration I had in mind around December 2020. It was lockdown and we couldn’t see family or friends over Christmas and it was a really dark time where I thought about how people’s mental health and creativity were suffering. I also thought about all the charities that weren’t getting the help and support they needed from volunteers and how people weren’t focusing on giving to charities, each person having their own problems to deal with over lockdown. Together with all the news about home-schooling and children losing out on valuable education and social development, I thought it would be good to focus on helping these people and found that Mind Charity and Heart Felt Tips CIC were the perfect causes to champion with my project.

I set about contacting printmakers I was already following through my Instagram account @paper.fight.art, not knowing who would reply or agree to donate prints to a then unknown project. Little did I know how enthusiastic people would be and it went from there really, growing day by day adding people from all over the UK (because of postage restrictions and delays we faced during the lockdowns and height of the pandemic, I didn’t include anyone else around the world although we did have considerable interest) until I had to cap it at 100 people as running the project by myself meant that I would be dealing with all the admin, post and website, PR and social media.

Logo for thought press project, white roller on black background

Did you have a theme?

The theme I set for the project was Childhood Memories and Imagination to link to the children and mental health aspects of the project. It really tapped into something we all had in common and many of the printmakers really enjoyed chatting to each other about their childhood memories and ideas for prints. I partnered lesser and more well-known printmakers together to level the playing field and started by selling all the prints at the same price, which in the beginning was just £10 although now there are many available from only £8.

lino print of chicken legs by Sanira Emon, thought press project founder

Chicken Legs

Monochrome lino print in midnight blue Essdee water based ink on 80gsm smooth cream A5 paper by Sanira Emon @paper.fight.art

This print is based on the Russian folktales of Baba Yaga and Vasilisa. The artist remembers her mum telling this story about the witch’s house that could uproot itself and move through the birch forest on its chicken legs! She treasures her childhood memories of sitting in the small but cosy kitchen in East London with her brother at mealtimes, being told this and many other stories from all around the world by her mum.

What happened next?

With all the excitement growing in one corner of Instagram, pretty soon I had built a small online community of printmakers and we started a Facebook group to help organise people and set out rules. Pairing a smaller charity (Heart Felt Tips) with a much bigger and more recognisable charity (Mind) really worked to help people feel emotionally invested in the project, particularly those who had struggled with their mental health over lockdown in particular.

With more and more people getting involved, Tim from Pooki Presses reached out to us to give away one of his big lever printing presses and we had the wonderful support of Essdee and several other art suppliers.

We also got the attention of local and global magazines and even the famous John Pedder who supported our project by donating 20 of his original embossed woodcut prints which sold out within a week of going in the online shop! We also had great champions on the project such as Jonny Scarramuzza one of the 100 printmakers, who is based in Wales who was able to put together the very first of our exhibitions in a refurbished theatre, which was a huge success! We also managed to get a free space at a new venue in Ipswich The Hold, which we have rebooked for 2022.

We have had so much great feedback from our customers and it has meant a lot for me to and the other printmakers to be able to connect with each other during the lockdown and some lifelong artist friendships have been formed. There is quite a tightknit community on Instagram and the artists help to promote each other’s work which is really great!

woodcut by John Pedder for thought press project


Limited edition monochrome woodcut print in black oil based ink on A4 cotton rag paper by John Pedder @johnapedder as part of a series of prints, about which you can find out more on Instagram @printers_block

Which charities are you supporting this year?

This year we have narrowed down to a group of 50 printmakers and will be raising funds for a favourite charity of mine, Edible Rotherhithe based in South London. They are a community food growing, gardening and arts charity.  They work between schools, educational facilities and community centres, to offer food growing, gardening and arts & crafts workshops for children and parents.

We are also supporting the Trussell Trust who support a nationwide network of food banks and together provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

Edible Rotherhithe are a small charity and Trussell Trust are a bigger charity. I like the idea of small and big supporting each other and we have the same pairing of printmakers including famous names as well as beginner printmakers and those who are less experienced and who really love the boost and thrill of working alongside their printmaking heroes.

All of the artists have been tremendously generous with their time, energy and materials, contributing everything for free and even helping with social media and promotion, organising flyers and exhibition venues. We have a core membership of some printmakers who loved it so much last year they have returned to the fold!

We also teamed up with the Great Charity Pot and Print & Print Fair this year which took place on the 5 and 6 March.  We donated all proceeds raised on those dates towards one of the smaller charities that is important to the organiser Laura Gilbert, called Sunshine and Smiles which is a support group for young children with down syndrome. Like me, she had the idea to gather all her fellow ceramicists to form a charity fundraising group and got the Great Pottery Throwdown BBC TV series involved and this year has reached out to printmakers too.

What is the theme for this year?

The theme for this year is Food Growing and Gardening to tie in with the growing concerns about families having to turn to food banks and looking to the future with effects of climate change, trying to teach future generations about being more green, growing their own food and helping the environment. This fits in with the work of Edible Rotherhithe and Trussell Trust who help with food distribution, fighting food waste and hunger and work to support people who are living below the breadline.

lino print by red cottage prints for thought press project

Early Sowing

Monochrome lino print in black ink on A4 white paper by Louise Edwards @redcottageprints

tomato lino print by Dave hall for thought press project

a family of heirlooms

Full colour multiblock linoprint by Dave Hall @davehallprintmaking

Each print contains 62 hand-pressed block applications; 18 tomatoes, 18 leaves, 18 stalks and 8 sections of branch.

lino print by vivki jordan art for thought press project

To plant a garden

Limited edition monochrome lino print in forest green ink on A4 sized Japanese Simili paper by Vicki Jordan @vickijordanart

The quote featured in this print is from famous actress, Audrey Hepburn ‘to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.’

Magic beans

Blind embossed print from a limited edition of 30 by Andy Greenacre @unruly_print

“Always amazed at what can grow from a humble seed”

tree lino print by Jonny Scaramuzza for thought press project

Tree of Life

By Jonny Scarramuzza @jonny_scarramuzza
I have taken this year’s theme of food growing and gardening and spent time thinking about trees. To be in the dappled shade of a big tree is a happy place for me, listening to the creatures that live there and the birds singing in its branches. As I thought about this year’s Thought Press Project theme of gardening and growth, I began to notice trees and their generosity to all. I chose adapt a previous commission depicting the tree of life as this design highlights the tree’s peaceful cycle. In our garden I love the hope of Spring, the soothing warmth of Summer, the beauty of Autumn and the rest and rebirth that Winter brings. The tree embodies this cycle, harmonious with nature, it steadily grows tall and powerful
lino print of bees by Amie Bell

Honey, Honey

By Amie Bell @amiebellprints  “Honey, Honey” is printed in gold and black ink on Lokta paper.

I’ve always been drawn to bees! They’re such lovely creatures and I find it fascinating that Honey Bees can make perfect hexagons and that Bumblebees can fly with such tiny wings! Watching them hop from flower to flower is a favourite pastime of mine and something I look forward to every Spring, so felt this fit in perfectly with the brief.

Tell us about the exhibitions you have planned.

We have 5 exhibitions planned all across the UK and rebooked a couple of the venues we used last year. The ones that are definitely confirmed I can tell you about but you will just have to wait to find out about the others!

In October we have 2 on at the same time, one at The Hold part of the Suffolk Archives at University of Suffolk campus and the other is at Level Best Art Café Gallery, which is also a trainee space for young people with learning disabilities.


Do you have a favourite Essdee product?

My favourite Essdee products are the wood-mounted lino blocks and the metallic printing inks. I cannot wait to try out the new fabric printing range and Essdee have generously donated a set of these amongst other products to our big prize draw this year.

If you would like to enter the prize draw just go to www.thoughtpressproject.shop where you can get a prize draw ticket for only £5 (it ends on 31 March 2022).  The top prize is a ball bearing baren worth over £90 with many exciting runners up prizes to be won, include 3 Essdee linoprinting sets!

Sanira Emon at thought press project exhibition

How can people take part/contribute/donate/buy a print?

Although we have reached full capacity for printmakers this year, there is a chance to join next year’s project which will be run by Edible Rotherhithe. You can email me at thoughtpressproject@gmail.com to get involved and book your space for next year.

Donations can be made to www.jusgiving.com/crowdfunding/tpp2021 or of course you can donate straight to www.trusseltrust.org uk or www.ediblerotherhithe.org.uk

And of course you can:

You can also follow us on Instagram to see how the project progresses this year @thoughtpressproject – there are lots of lovely prints in development and plenty of finished prints in the shop already. We hope to have all 50 designs ready by the end of March in time for the first exhibitions.

There are a great variety of prints this year including screenprint, risograph prints and etchings as well as linocut and woodcut prints, there is even a pop-up piece in the works! Prints are also still available from last year – there is limited stock though so do have a look before they all disappear.


Created something beautiful? Tag us @essdee_uk or use #essdee for a featured post on our Instagram page!


Got 5 minutes? Have a read of one of our other blogs for more inspiration!

Sara Ahmed, winnner of YLPP2022, at the Piccadilly Lights
Young London Print Prize

Young London Print Prize

Matt Bell, Chair of Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, speaks to us about this pioneering visual arts programme which focusses on inspiring young people to showcase their creativity whilst helping to address the issue of climate change.

Photo of children learning to monoprint
Printfest in Schools

Printfest in Schools

We were thrilled to collaborate with Printfest in Schools, a fantastic project which helps to inspire the next generation of printmakers.

In this article, Printmaker and Teacher Esther Benson, tells us all about the history of Prinfest in Schools, the printmaking activities that they have been undertaking in schools, and their plans for the future of the project.

Photo of Sanira Emon linoprint artist
Thought Press Project

Thought Press Project

We were delighted to chat with Sanira Emon, artist at Paper Fight, to find out how she set up Thought Press Project in 2020, how it has progressed over the three years, and to hear more about this year’s project.

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  • Object to processing of your personal data where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground as you feel it impacts on your fundamental rights and freedoms. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal data for direct marketing purposes. In some cases, we may demonstrate that we have compelling legitimate grounds to process your information which override your rights and freedoms.
  • Request restriction of processing of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of your personal data in the following scenarios: (a) if you want us to establish the data’s accuracy; (b) where our use of the data is unlawful but you do not want us to erase it; (c) where you need us to hold the data even if we no longer require it as you need it to establish, exercise or defend legal claims; or (d) you have objected to our use of your data but we need to verify whether we have overriding legitimate grounds to use it.
  • Request the transfer of your personal data to you or to a third party. We will provide to you, or a third party you have chosen, your personal data in a structured, commonly used, machine-readable format. Note that this right only applies to automated information which you initially provided consent for us to use or where we used the information to perform a contract with you.
  • Withdraw consent at any time where we are relying on consent to process your personal data. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before you withdraw your consent. If you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to provide certain products to you. We will advise you if this is the case at the time you withdraw your consent. 
Updated March 2021
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