Screenprinting Explorations (May 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.

Relief Printmaking

Relief printmaking is a graphic and versatile type of printmaking. An image is carved in reverse onto a block made of wood or linoleum, inked, and sent through a press. The tools are basic but the possibilities are expansive.

Students will learn how to use their set of carving tools and to create a variety of marks using both linoleum and wood. Looking to historical and contemporary prints for inspiration, students will create a small portfolio of prints experimenting with texture and pattern, color, layering, shape, contrast and materials.

Bookbinding (May 2016)

Bookbinding is an art form that combines fine craftsmanship with a basic set of techniques, tools and materials. Once foundational skills are mastered, bookbinders can add creativity, content, and design to create unlimited variations of handmade books. In this class, students will create their own books from scratch, and will even be able to design their own paste paper covers and endpapers! Students will learn pamphlet, “perfect”, coptic, and stab bindings, as well as modifications of these traditional binding styles.

Projects will focus on creativity, design, and craftsmanship with the goal that students are able to experiment with variations and incorporating content within the book through writing, simple printing tricks, and customizing paper for covers, inserts, or end-paper. Students will leave with a small library of hand-bound books to fill or use as templates to make even more books.

Community Workshop: The Remarkable Gelli Print

The Gelliplate is a printing plate made out of gelatin and glycerin. By combining everyday ingredients, you can make your own flexible, re-usable, washable surface for printing without a press. The Gelliplate, also known as a hectograph, was created during WWI for replicating tests and written letters. We are bringing it back to life at Spudnik Press to utilize its special properties for accessible and experimental printing. This workshop, led by Fellows Eliz Kaple and Darian Longmire, will begin by revealing the secret ingredients to plate making and then explore drawing and using stencils to produce spontaneous images on both paper and objects.

This community workshop welcomes those with little or no printmaking experience, teaching artists looking for new classroom projects, as well as experienced printers seeking new DIY methods.

DIY Screenprinted Swag: Stickers, Chapbooks, Bandanas (May 2016)

This project-based workshop offers the opportunity to learn the essentials of screenprinting in a single afternoon. Printing your own swag offers the opportunity to produce a variety of goods featuring your own logo, design or drawing, using any color of ink color you desire.

What counts as swag? Perhaps you are starting a business or an Etsy store. Or your band is releasing a new album. Or you are hosting a shindig and need some party favors. Regardless of the situation, this class is geared towards anyone with a project that will benefit from custom-printed goods.

Students should bring along two to three small black and white designs. During the workshop, there will be time to edit the designs (if needed) to be “print ready”. Using screens pre-coated with photographic emulsion, students will each be able create their own screen and mix their own unique color of ink. We will supply what you need for stickers, a quarter page blank books and a patch or bandana. Plus, students are welcome to bring a few of their own items, like t-shirts.

For some, this one-day class will be the perfect opportunity to dabble with a new craft and move on to other projects. For others, this workshop might be a gateway to a new obsession with printed ephemera!

Community Workshop: The Spontaneous Screenprint

Join Spudnik Press Fellows, Stephanie Benhaim and Margaret Hitch, for an evening of improvising, experimenting and exploring monoprints and screenprinting. Using water-based art materials, fabric dyes and screen filler, students will learn how to create one-of-a-kind prints with just a screen and squeegee. No understanding of bitmaps, photo emulsion or Photoshop required! This immediate, direct and at times unpredictable process can produce expressive marks reminiscent of Jackson Pollock or Rorschach tests, psychedelic abstractions, or much more controlled transfers of pencil, crayon, charcoal and water-color images drawn and painted directly on a screen. Each student will be able to test lots of materials and methods and leave the workshop with a small portfolio of experimental prints.

This workshop is great for those new to art making, as well as painters, teachers looking for non-digital and non-darkroom print projects, and printmakers looking to add variety to their practice.

Letterpress I: Wood & Metal Type

Letterpress printing uses moveable type, cast from metal or carved from wood, and a mechanical press to crisply transfer ink to paper. Since the advent of letterpress printing in the mid-15th century, printers have been enamored with the process of hand-setting lead and wood type. Today we remain fascinated with this tactile process. Artists and printers continually find new ways to approach the art form.

Letterpress I uses a range of projects to familiarize students with the history and practice of letterpress printing and typography. Learning through doing, students will build confidence not only printing, but also understanding the vocabulary around letterpress printing. The class will begin with hand-setting linear type to print business cards, a short poem, etc. Students will practice setting printing pressure, adjusting ink, and will gain a respect for our antique presses and our collection of lead type. Students will then continue to acquire the technical skills and creative approaches to print through independent and collaborative projects.

Our 12-week format*, longer than the typical introductory class, allows students to print on both our platen presses and our Vandercoook, set lead and wood type, distribute type, color match ink, finesse pressure, practice multi-color printing, and of course master the most efficient way to clean and care for our presses.

*Because this is a long commitment, we have designed the class to allow for occasional planned absences. Students will sign up for time slots to use the presses, spending time between print sessions setting type, mixing ink, distributing type, and otherwise falling in love with the time-honored art of letterpress printing.

Note: Class does not meet on July 5 in honors of Independence Day.

Letterpress 201: The Vandercook: Maintenance, Adjustments & TLC

Not many would dispute that the Vandercook is a pretty special printing press. It is an eloquent machine, an irreplaceable piece of equipment and Spudnik’s more popular printing press. Yet, many printers feel a little uneasy when it comes to daily maintenance, diagnosing printing issues and making minor adjustments when needed.

This workshop is an open forum and safe space to ask all the questions you can in regard to the Vandercook Letterpress. What knobs and screws are okay to adjust? What sounds are healthy sounds? How do you use that tool that looks like a lollipop? What is the right amount of packing? Is there an easier way to clean this thing? How can I leave the press in better condition than I found it?

Spudnik member and accomplished printer, Lydia Evans, will guide fellow members and Spudnik Press printers through the finer points of the Vandercook, 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.

Students will leave the workshop with more confidence troubleshooting frequent press issues as well as printing issues like uneven ink, too much/too little pressure or inconsistent registration.

Risography 101 (June 2016)

The Risograph is an automated duplicator from Japan that efficiently produces offset-like photocopies. Though not originally intended for artistic application, the machine has recently gained traction (and notoriety) in small-press culture for its distinct footprint and efficiently as well as being rather finicky.

This workshop will walk students through the fundamentals of Risograph printing for making books and fine art prints, and familiarize students with techniques to best reproduce their imagery. Students will become acquainted with the mechanics of the printer and learn basic maintenance, including how to change the master roll and a drum’s ink tube. Lastly, students will learn how to best design for the Risograph, taking into consideration ink drying time, ink density, paper options, registration, and patience. Everyone will leave with a three-color collaborative print produced throughout the workshop and authorization to continue making Risograph prints at Spudnik Press Cooperative.

Screenprinting Refresher

Open to anyone with prior printing experience, this refresher workshop will assume that students already understand screenprinting, 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.

Students should come ready to begin a personal project. This can be either a modest print that can be completed within the week, or the beginning of larger or ongoing project. During the workshop, each student will expose, print, and reclaim the first layer of their artwork. To help build confidence printing at Open Studio sessions, students are expected to return within the week (free of charge!) to continue printing and 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.

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.