Screenprinting Refresher

Open to anyone with prior printing experience, this refresher workshop will assume that students already understand screenprinting and have previous experience, but are feeling out-of-practice or fuzzy regarding the finer points of the process. Students should have already completed a one-day workshop or full class, although it need not have been at Spudnik, or even in the recent past. We also welcome printers that would like support working through a particularly complex project or reoccurring printing issue.

Spudnik Press staff will review an assortment of skills such as: selecting the best mesh count, applying the perfect coat of photo emulsion, troubleshooting and identifying the source of exposure and printing issues, ink mixing, registration, and screen reclamation. Perhaps more importantly, we’ll learn how to take these technical factors into consideration when designing a project for screenprinting.

While students should have a project in the pipeline to put their newly learned skills to practice, during the workshop, students will choose from a variety of images designed to hone nuanced printing skills. During the workshops, each student will expose a screen, and work with peers to print a two-color image.

The workshop will end with Spudnik Press staff meeting with each printer to provide consultation for their next project, ensuring they are able to produce a fantastic project while avoiding technical issues. Plus, to help build confidence printing at Open Studio sessions, students are expected to return within the week (free of charge!) to put their freshly acquired knowledge to use. Through this workshop, students will not only brush up on old skills and become authorized to print at Spudnik, but are sure to walk away with new morsels of useful information regarding the art of screenprinting.

Letterpress 201: Perfecting the Platen Press

Do you avoid printing with a platen press because you fear smashing pins? Do you find yourself using too much packing to get the pressure you want? Do you know what to do when your plate prints unevenly? Platen presses are simple machines but can none-the-less be intimidating.

This workshop will refresh and refine platen press printing skills including registration, pin placement, proper packing as well as how to diagnose printing issues and make adjustments to the press.

Spudnik member and accomplished printer, Lydia Evans, will guide fellow members and Spudnik Press printers through the finer points of the Pilot and Pearl presses, helping students understand the mechanical nature of the press and how wear and tear can be reduced through actively listening to the press, using a keen eye to spot and identify issues, and taking notice when the press doesn’t quite feel right.

Screenprinting Explorations (July 2016)

Most people are fans of screenprinting whether they know it or not. Screenprinting is an art form known for its bold graphics and its usefulness. A close cousin of stenciling, screenprinting is easy to learn, yet hard to master. Our eight-week class provides adequate time for new printers to complete a range of projects on paper and fabric, gradually increasing in complexity and nuance. With the ongoing support of a pro to help trouble-shoot along the way, students will be familiar with dark room exposure, mesh count, screen tension, ink consistency, and registration. In addition to developing A+ printing skills, this class will help students develop their imagery, be it hand-drawn illustration or digital files, to work best as a print. By the end of the class, students will know their way around the printshop, and be well equipped to continue printing independently at Spudnik Press Cooperative.

Offset Printing: High Speed Print Production


Offset printing a commercial printing process that evolved from Lithography and capitalizes on oil and water’s natural inclination to repel each other. This process has a unique aesthetic and the capability to produce full publications and large editions while maintaining a tactile handmade quality.

Offset Printing: High Speed Print Production will train a small group of artists how to operate our two AB Dick 360 offset presses. As offset presses are rarely made accessible to artists, Spudnik Press is proud to provide this opportunity to printmakers, illustrators, self-publishers, writers and anyone who wishes to learn.

Students will learn pre-press skills like file prep and plate making as well as basic press operation, multi-layer and double-sided registration, mixing Pantone colors and press cleaning. Plus students will learn press calibration, troubleshooting and press assessment, which are all critical skills a press operator must possess.

To become fully authorized to print independently, students will complete a final assessment demonstrating their ability to safely operate the machine.

Wearable Prints: Screen Print Your Own… (July 2016)

Convert your own drawing or design to a collection of hand-printed wearable items in this energetic and informative one-day workshop. Printing an assortment of t-shirts or totebags is practical, fun and incredibly gratifying!

Arriving with a simple black and white drawing, a high-contrast photo, or art designed in Illustrator or Photoshop, students will have time on site to (if needed) refine the artwork to be best suited for screenprinting. Each student will use a pre-coated photographic screen and mix their own custom ink color. Everyone is encouraged to bring about five items of their choosing to print. As long as they are fabric and flat, we can help you print on it! T-shirts, tote bags, tea towels, bandanas, and thrift store jean jackets, will work great. Leave with a sample for an Etsy store, a surprise gift for a friend, or an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags!

Illustration 201: Shape, Texture and Experimentation

What makes a great illustration? Illustrations have the capacity to tell a story and to suggest many layers of meaning within a single image. Illustrations can evoke the senses, the physiological and the emotional, representing more than a simple scene or setting, but a rich and complex experience.

This workshop will set aside the most traditional drawing tools in favor of alternative and found materials. String, colored tape, fabric, paper bits and more… Focusing on shape, texture, and collage, students will experiment, work spontaneously and discover innovative ways to approach illustration and design. With the goal of breaking old habits, prompts and exercises will help students push their personal style and create rich and compelling illustrations.

The approaches, projects and ideas presented in this workshop can enhance illustration across many mediums. So regardless of what you design for (comics, zines, posters, web, children’s books, home goods, you name it), you will leave this workshop with an array of visual explorations ready to help spark your next art project.

Printmaking Foundations: Relief, Etching, Screen

For anyone who wants to be creative through printmaking, our Foundations class introduces first time printers to the wide variety of resources and equipment at Spudnik Press Cooperative. Students will experiment with three unique printmaking processes throughout the six weeks. With each printing process inducing its own aesthetic, this class offers abundant opportunities to elevate sketches and designs through print and to understand the basic concepts that bridge the many types of printmaking at our studio.

Screenprinting is a form of stencil making that is used to print fine art as well as posters, cards, t-shirts, and more. Relief prints are created by carving an image into wood or linoleum, adding ink to the surface, and transferring the inked image onto paper. Etching, also known as Intaglio [in-tal-yoh], is a family of printing techniques in which the image is incised into a metal plate. Artist can scratch into plates with needles, or can draw through a ground and etch drawings into a plate.

Together, these processes range from experimental to exacting, bold to subdued, and unpredictable to calculated and can open new possibilities for artists, writers, and folks who want to learn a new way to make art. Printmaking Foundations can act as either a general introduction to everything Spudnik has to offer, or a refresher course for artists who have previous experience.

Book Camp: Tiered Box & Coptic Book Set

Join Spudnik Press Teaching Artist duo Nicolette Ross and Elise Forer for a full day dedicated to the art of the book. Together, Nicolette and Elise have developed an intricate two-part project: a tiered box with a sliding drawer, fitted lid and compartment designed to hold a Coptic stich book. Through tackling this complex binding project, students will hone bookbinding skills and their understanding of the geometry used in book and box construction. Spudnik Press Cooperative will provide coffee, juice, snacks and lunch throughout the day.

This in-depth workshop is well suited for artists that are interested in creating their own sketchbooks, artist books, or slip cases. The Coptic book makes an ideal sketchbook since it lays flat, is durable and can incorporate many types of paper. Plus, after completing the advanced box project, students will be able to apply the same methods to building custom portfolio cases. Some prior bookbinding or box making experience is suggested. However, beginners ready to roll up their sleeves are welcome.

The Botany of Blue: Cyanotypes after Anna Atkins

In 1843, botanist and photographer Anna Atkins self-published her first book of cyanotype photograms. The Botany of Blue commemorates Atkins, cited as the first woman photographer, and her scientific (and artistic) cyanotypes.

Cyanotypes are contact prints on light-sensitive paper, bridging photography and printmaking. UV light hitting treated paper triggers a chemical reaction that forms an intense blue dye. After looking at historical examples of cyanotypes and the work of Anna Atkins, students will explore the process through creating their own botanical prints. Working out of doors, students will use sunlight to make images from native flora, flower shop clippings and hand drawn transparencies. No previous experience necessary for this explorative, and playful process.

How to Talk About Your Art

As a visual artist, how do you go about verbalizing your art practice? How do you respond to nice but overwhelming questions like “What do you do?” or “What type of art do you make?” Finding the right way to express your artistic practice is no small feat. Sharing your artistic practice in a way that clarifies, excites and motivates is even more challenging.

While crafting the perfect artist statement is a noble undertaking, this workshop takes a step back to look broadly at how we talk about our work, be it through a residency application, on your own website, during a studio visit, as a vendor at an art festival, or in an elevator (proverbial or actual!). This workshop will focus on how to tell your story – lucidly yet artfully – and funnel your various ideas and artistic approaches into a well-written and easily accessible statement. Through brainstorming, group discussion and individual writing exercises, attendees will be able to develop the framework and draft an elevator pitch and artist statement. As an added bonus, students will be able to stick around after the workshop for a little more personalized feedback on their work-in-progress statement.

If your current artist statement is a jumbled mess of eccentric adjectives or you fumble when asked to describe your art, this workshop is for you!

Presenter Bio:

Margaret Paulson is a storyteller, strategist, and master word tailor with an MA in International Education from Stanford. She’s passionate about and experienced in teaching people and organizations how to tell their stories in clear, confident, and powerful ways. When she’s not teaching, writing, or teaching writing, you can find Margaret learning something new (next up: Mandarin and Krav Maga), practicing power poses, and eating all of the donuts.

Finding Your Audience; Gaining Recognition is a free event kicking of our 2016 Professional Development Series What You Didn’t Learn in Art School:

Part I: Finding your Audience; Gaining Recognition 
Part II: How to Talk About Your Art
Part II: Documenting Your Artwork for Under $100
Part IV: The Start Up: A Beginning Guide to Being Self-Employed
Part V: Contracts for Creatives: How to Protect Yourself and Your Artwork 

Are you a member, but didn’t receive the discount code? Just email us! We’ll confirm your membership is current and send you the code!  

Documenting Your Artwork for Under $100

As a visual artist, the importance of high-quality art documentation cannot be over stated. Join artist and professional photographer, Maureen Cooper, for this hands-on artwork documentation workshop and gain not only a dozen professional slides of your most recent body of work, but the know how to continue documenting your own work in the future.

Participants will work independently and in small groups to take high-quality digital photographs of their artwork. Participants will learn how to use (and where to rent) a professional light kit, plus the best go-to camera settings for either the Spudnik Press digital SLR or their personal camera. Once at a computer, Maureen will share best practices and plenty of handy tips for editing digital slides.

Participants should bring a selection of flat artwork (paintings, drawings and prints) and if possible, a personal camera and/or laptop with Adobe Photoshop. Each participant will be able to document about a dozen artworks.

Presenter Bio:

Helen Maurene Cooper’s photographs focus on fractured storytelling traditions that have resulted from pop culture, which has ultimately distorted location, subjects, and detail. Helen’s other projects explore the geographical, cultural, and socio-political influence on the aesthetics of Chicago nail art.

Finding Your Audience; Gaining Recognition is a free event kicking of our 2016 Professional Development Series What You Didn’t Learn in Art School:

Part I: Finding your Audience; Gaining Recognition 
Part II: How to Talk About Your Art
Part II: Documenting Your Artwork for Under $100
Part IV: The Start Up: A Beginning Guide to Being Self-Employed
Part V: Contracts for Creatives: How to Protect Yourself and Your Artwork 

Are you a member, but didn’t receive the discount code? Just email us! We’ll confirm your membership is current and send you the code!  

Photoshop for Printmakers

Not everyone needs to be a Photoshop expert. With that said, there are many benefits of understanding the software and knowing a few tricks that come in handy as a printmaker. Our one-day workshop will arm even the most “non­techy” person with digital arsenal of skills needed to transform drawings, photographs, and found images into their next great idea.

Through hands-on file editing, students will practice using a variety of Photoshop tools to 1) help plan and visualize multilayer prints and 2) edit files to create crisp darkroom-ready stencils.

For example, students will better understand color modes and when to use each of them (CMYK, Greyscale, Bitmap and Duotone). Students will learn tricks for separating an image into multiple layers and adjusting contrast, levels and curves to create high-contrast black and white images from scanned drawings. Students will learn how to add trapping to their artwork and how to create an on-screen approximation of what their artwork might look like as ink on paper.

Students are encouraged to bring their own computers with Creative Suite. However, a limited number of students may request to use our onsite computers (email staff to confirm availability).

*Please note that this workshop focuses on digital file editing. Students will not be creating prints during the workshop.