Stuart Duffin

Description of the Ingram Street premises in the early 1980s and the debate about moving
Clip Title Description of the Ingram Street premises in the early 1980s and the debate about moving
Interviewee Name Stuart Duffin
Interviewee Role Associated since the early 1980s and has worked as etching technician, Studio Manager and Master Etcher.
Interviewer Name Kerry Patterson
Interview Date 13 November 2019
Clip Length 2 minutes 53 seconds


SD: Compared to [laughs] now I suppose I have to say it’s organised chaos! Is what it felt like! But in some ways that’s not really fair because erm… you know the premises - it was very run down and the building was in an incredible precarious state. So you can’t really compare that to now. We were in our infancy in those days. But you know, for example - you know, I remember in the gallery, the floor and the wall in the far end were twisted. So, you had to actually hang pictures on the wall squint to make them look straight. The front wall was actually starting to bulge out – which was ultimately where we had to leave the building quite quickly several years later, because it became very, very unstable. And the tech’s job at the end of the day was to empty out all the large bins collecting rainwater from all the leaks all over the place, upstairs on the top floor. And, you know, we needed to move premises. That puts me in mind actually, it was one of the AGMs – in those days the members were all company members, it was a different constitution, it’s been rewritten since then - but one of them, turned out to be an EGM, an emergency, or an extraordinary general meeting. And at some point during that meeting, the debate about moving was raised. It was one of the prime topics and it was quite a, quite a he- not heated debate but there was strong feelings on both sides – “develop where we are” and “no, we have to move”, and this debate was going on [laughs] and I remember Tommy Mackenzie - he got up and walked out. And the debate carried on, you know, in his absence but he was only away for a couple of minutes because he walked back in holding one of his steel etching plates and a jug of water, and walked into the middle of the room, put his etching plate on the floor, and poured this jug of water over it. And there was a kind of stunned silence, and he just said, “that’s what happens to my etching plates every time it rains” and sat down. And that was in the days when the floor of the gallery was actually carpeted, so it made a real mess! [laughs] But the point was made, we have to move. But having said that, you know, the creative atmosphere and the workshop and the gallery too, was… just amazing. You know, there was just this energy and this buzz about the place, partly because it was an artist-run organisation and there’s a phenomenal amount of enthusiasm. And a kind of a breadth of vision to incorporate, eh, culture, and… which when you think back to those days, we were really just a regional player. It hadn’t become the national or international studio that it has become now.