Salt of the Earth was founded in 2003, and its goal was to digitally restore and print old engravings and prints that were currently being ripped out of illustrated books for decorative use. The idea was to save these books from destruction by providing high quality copies with images restored to their original splendour. The initial market for these was the USA where we had good connections.
Founder, John Roland, first discovered the potential of giclée printing whilst serving as Production Director for Futurelab. The organisation had bought a large format printer for producing plans and storyboards and John was intrigued by the reproduction quality it had when printing images. However, he wasn’t new to printing, having served a five-year apprenticeship in his youth as a ‘Process Engraver’ for letterpress printing, and he also studied at The London College of Printing.
Whilst, producing fine art quality reproductions of old prints for the American market, local artists and photographers began to hear of the potential of giclée printing. John, having worked as the Business Development Consultant for the Creative Sector for the Welsh Development Agency for many years had good contacts with local artists and photographers. This is how the Salt of the Earth Gilcée Print Service began. But just printing for local artists and photographer didn’t stay for long. Pretty soon artist from all over the UK were calling, even some from outside the UK, which gave John the opportunity to visit one client in Tenerife, “and we’ve been printing his work ever since”.
In 2014 it was decided to move the studio to Shaftesbury in Dorset. The new studio gave John a chance to redefine the business, to specialise in high-quality fine art printing and give a dedicated client service. Because of the need to capture art at the highest resolution, regardless of size, a new scanning table was designed and commissioned to provide a unique service.
In 2015 Salt of the Earth won the prestigious Award “Digital Printer of the Year’ Judged by the Fine Art Trade Guild. The studio was also one of the first fine art printers to be granted ‘ArtSure’ status for the quality of the prints produced. Based on his experience as Creative Sector Consultant, in 2016 John was invited to run the ‘Making money from your art’ workshop at the Guild’s ‘Art and Framing Awards’ event at Stratford upon Avon.
With such a wide range of clients, from all over the UK and Europe, the work is never dull and everyday brings a new challenge. As John says, “We are not a mass producer of prints, our service is about producing the best, most faithful prints that our clients, and their customers, can be proud of. One of the benefits of being a fine art printer is that we get to see great new work from artists and photographers every day’”.
People often ask why ‘Salt of the Earth’ and not a more conventional name? John’s answer is, ‘We’ve never tried to be conventional - a previous and very successful business was called ‘MousePower!’. Salt of the Earth stands for quality, both in our prints and with our service.
Welcome to Salt of the Earth