Having banished the rats from the derelict floors and chased the pigeons from the rafters, Edinburgh Printmakers last week opened its new premises to the public after a three year restoration.

The old welly factory at Fountainbridge, a stone’s throw from the canal, was, of course, The North British Rubber Company, the building the old headquarters at Castle Mills.

Once smothered in brown paint, now barely recognisable in its renovation and recalibration by Page/Park Architects, its brick facade and full-size windows give on to a huge space filled with printing gear and lofty ceilings with a rather nice cafe (I can recommend the cake) and shop on the ground floor.

Outside, bulldozers rumble beyond the jute-netted safety barriers, the district that was once also the site of Scottish and Newcastle Breweries’ innovative canning complex now flattened and awaiting regeneration. The Printmakers, then, a short hop from the new Boroughmuir High School with whom the studios have already collaborated on mural projects, is a new artistic centre for the area, with public courses for newcomers, studio space for artists, and much-anticipated by all.

Inside, picking our way through some of the rooms that are still being brought into use, there are ghosts of the old North British HQ, not least in the impressive “marble” entrance way and staircase, its columns and floors both coated in marble-effect rubber, its walls panelled in dark hardwood. Architect Suzy O’Leary, scanning the work, says that of the many challenges faced in this building which, until a few years ago, had lain derelict for over a decade, its windows smashed in, one of the worst was the pervasive dry rot which affected all the softwood timber structure, bar the hardwood panelling, most of which was saved.

Upstairs, in the first floor printing room which takes up much of the footprint of the building, air and light now floods this once low-ceiling space, an effect created by removing two attic floors and opening up windows in the roof. The wooden trusses, doubled-up above our heads, that once supported the former floors, hang in space high above our heads, pierced by an old doorframe.

It was behind one of these walls removed that the architects found an old NBRC catalogue, filled with up-to-the-minute rubber fittings and fixtures, printed in the early years of the 20th century, which has inspired one of the three permanent artworks commissioned to mark the opening of this new creative centre.

Mark Doyle’s “Catalogue Wall” is a grid of panels made in glass-fibre reinforced concrete depicting images from the catalogue. Placed on the outside of the building in the old bricked-up window recesses, the cast images, from hot water bottles to horse shoes, the prints of the soles of rubber wellies to rubber bike tyres, are sometimes shown in a double imprint – a cast mould overlapping a cast recess – the images sometimes obvious, sometimes more obscure. It’s a hugely effective and delightful artwork.

Inside, Calum Colvin has collaborated with architect Suzy O’Leary and Peter Smith to create a kaleidoscopic intervention, the EPscope which literally allows viewers on the ground floor to rotate images reflected down from the printmaking studio through kaleidoscopic images from rubber catalogues past. Edinburgh Printmakers were keen to ensure that the new artworks would be part of the building, not just mounted on a plinth, they tell me.

The final piece is in the entranceway – is, in fact, the entranceway – for Rachel Duckhouse has created a metal screen with a repeated roller motif, hand drawn and hugely effective. Placed over the new main entrance, it can also be seen from one of the two galleries inside, which, on the ground floor, houses an immersive temporary installation – although if ever an installation called for permanence it is this one – by Thomas Kilpper, “The Politics of Heritage vs The Heritage of Politics.”

This is one of Kilpper’s site-specific room installations, made from rubber into which he and his assistants have carved a negative image, the positive of which has been printed on paper and looks down on visitors from the ceiling. It’s a crowd of trade union-style banners, of politicians famous and infamous, the artist’s hand carving judgements. Donald Trump and Nigel Farage stand abreast, each with rats – a nod to recent tennants of the building – on their shoulders. Theresa May (labelled as LINO – Leader in Name Only) strides across the rubber floor beneath a sea of onlookers – factory workers, printmakers, politicians. You can choose which political leader you’d rather stand on, of course, or bag the lot.

It’s a brilliantly anarchic work, filled with local narratives, nods to the heritage of the building and the printmakers, to the current political situation, to the disaster of environmental damage, to the lack of leadership, to the way in which we live together. Even if you have no existing interest in printmaking itself, come for this, for the Doyle outside, for the cake, even, and support what is a wonderful new artistic venue for the city.

Edinburgh Printmakers, 1 Dundee Street, Edinburgh, 0131 557 2479, www.edinburghprintmakers.co.uk, Temporary Exhibitions (Thomas Kilpper and Callum Innes) until 13 July; Tues - Sun,10am - 6pm

Don't miss

A partnership between Scotland's two major centres for photography, Stills' latest exhibition, AMBIT, is full of the kind of juxtapositions of vision and aesthetic at which this city centre gallery excels. Run in conjunction with Glasgow's Street Level Photoworks, this is an exhibition of the new and the innovative, both galleries showing a different batch of photographers at opposite ends of the train line. Diverse images range from black and white darkroom-processed film to drone shots and camera-less photography, with work from places as far-distant as Orkney and Ethiopia.

AMBIT, Stills Centre for Photography, 23 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, 0131 622 6200,www.stills.orgUntil 2 Jun, Daily, 11am – 6pm

Critic's Choice

Dotted about in the restored railway buildings of Fife's old circle line are the studios of a number of artists and community groups. This weekend, the lot open for the annual Artline Open DoorsWeekend, a celebration of the creative reuse of the railway buildings local artists have adopted and a chance to see and buy work from artists working in all disciplines, not least Artline organizer Lynette Gray.

Gray is based at Kinghorn Station, where she has a studio with her husband Douglas Gray, and where they will exhibit paintings alongside invited artist Stuart Gilmour under the title “Coast”. In 2017, Lynette also finished restoring the signal box at Aberdour, where she makes ceramics. For the Open Weekend, she will be demonstrating slip casting to all-comers, as well as the process for making her ceramic bird models. Elsewhere, Kirsty Lorenz will show her Scottish wildflower images at Ladybank Station, just off platform 2, and Kirkcaldy Art Gallery highlights its current exhibition REFUGIO by Roger Palmer.

For those interested in applied arts, Burntisland is the spot to disembark, where you can see work from fine art jewellers Sally Grant and Grace Girvan, textiles and ceramics from Gingerbread Designs and EKleKtiK, and weaving from Susie Redman. Painters Lara Scouller and Sophie Mckay Knight also open their studios.

The line extends from North Queensferry to Cupar on the Edinburgh to Dundee line, and visitors can hop on and off all along the route to visit the studios.

Open Doors Weekend: The Artline, Various stations on the Edinburgh-Dundee train line, www.theartline.co.uk Sat 4 – Sun 5 May, All venues (except Kirkcaldy Art Gallery): Daily, 10am – 4pm; Kirkcaldy Art Gallery, Sat 9.30am – 4.30pm, Sun 12noon – 4pm