Community Workshop: Handmade Paper: Adventures with Pulp, Embedding, and Laminating

Papermaking can be used as a catalyst for bookmaking, printmaking and drawing, as well as an art form all in its own. During this workshop, lead by Spudnik Press Fellow, Yasaman Mousavi, participants will learn to make unique handmade paper sheets using recycled paper scraps and natural fibers as pulp. After forming basic sheets of paper with a mould and deckle, students can explore paper texture through couching their sheets on various surfaces.

In the second part of the workshop, everyone will be able to customize their project by adding “inclusions” to their sheets. Scraps from prints, photographs, drawings, petals, thread, and more can all be embedded and laminated into paper as it is being made. Through this and “pulp painting,” the sculptural element of papermaking can be pushed.

Everyone will leave the workshop with a set of 3+ sheets of handmade paper and a foundation in low-tech non-toxic papermaking that is infinitely expandable, required limited access to special facilities, and can be incorporated into classrooms with children.

This is a very wet process, so dress down for this workshop, and please bring along some bits to embed in your paper

Community Workshop: Paste Papers (Plus Accordion Books!)

Bookbinders have been using handmade paste papers as decorative book covers and elegant endpapers for centuries. Sometimes referred to as “faux paper marbling,” paste papers are one of the oldest types of decorative paper. By building up layers of methyl cellulose-based paste and pigments onto thin sheets of paper, artisans (like you) can create rich 2 and 3-dimensional patterns.

For the first half of the workshop, students will use a variety of combs, brushes, and mark-making tools in combination with hand-mixed pigments to create a layered surface focusing on repetitious patterns, surface textures, and color layers. Through working reductively, students will use tools to scrape away layers exposing colors and patterns underneath.

During the second half of the workshop, students will learn to bind a hardcover accordion book using the paste papers that they have made. By piecing together a long sheet of paper, students will create a folded landscape that will become the “guts” of their books. Covers will be wrapped with the freshly made paste papers with each student creating a totally unique book.

This workshop is ideal for anyone interested in learning cost effective and fun ways of experimenting with materials to create decorative papers. Making paste papers is fun and addictive, so you need not be a printmaker or bookbinder to find artistic inspiration in this process. All are welcome!

Screenprinting Camp: Apparel Production

This all-day workshop is perfect for people who have textile screenprinting ambitions that exceed their experience. This one-day screenprinting camp will fill in the gaps between a basic understanding of screenprinting and the technical understanding of the process needed to successfully produce a larger-scale apparel printing project.

You want to start a clothing line. Your dream is to print professional-quality jerseys for your softball team. You plan to construct 50 flyable kites using three different color-ways as part of your next installation. Basically, you want to level up your knowledge and skills while minimizing costly trial and error. Smart move.

This workshop covers:

  • How to design and plan a successful fabric printing project.
  • Best practices for printing on dark or bright fabrics.
  • How to select the best mesh count and squeegee durometer for the job at hand.
  • Common challenges for apparel printing such as printing on hoods or mesh garments.
  • Setting up carousel presses.
  • Assessing when, why and how to outsource projects or use plasticol ink.
  • Vendor options and other apparel printing resources.

In the workshop, students will troubleshoot hypothetical designs. The class will collaboratively design and print a project that puts to use newly acquired technical skills. By the end of the workshop, students will have produced a three color t-shirt and will feel comfortable embarking on more ambitious projects in the future.

DIY Greeting Cards: Letterpress Printing

Print your own greeting cards using Spudnik Press’ traditional printing presses. The tactile quality of ink pressed into paper will surely leave an impression on the lucky recipients of your handmade cards!

Students will each set their own short saying or phrase and (if desired) combine it with vintage relief blocks featuring festive illustrations. This workshop combines an overview of letterpress printing and history with hands-on art making, and it is a great way to try out a new hobby before taking a longer class. Students can bring any blank cards they desire (so everyone can pick out their favorite size and color). Taking turns, each student will lock up their type and independently print with our platen presses. Students will each make about 20 cards and are encouraged to make a few extras to trade as well! The class is limited to six students so that everyone has time to run a press independently.

Modern Calligraphy

Calligraphy is a timeless art form that relies on a very basic set of tools, craftsmanship, composition and an interest in fanciful typography. Join artist and calligrapher, Grace Calderone, in an exploration of letterforms, quill pens and india ink.

Beginning with foundational skills like properly holding a calligraphy pen, varying line weight with pressure, and avoiding ghastly ink sploodges, students will develop the core skills needed to master calligraphy. From there, students will become familiar with how letters are formed through practicing the alphabet, writing short phrases and experimenting with swashes.

The final portion of the class will consider composition, improvisation and personal style. How can calligraphers move beyond copying letterforms to developing a style all their own? How can calligraphers not only write fanciful letters, but also compose these letters on a page? How can calligraphers aim for perfection, and as needed, modify plans as they draw?

In addition to completing many studies of various letterforms and styles, students will create a set of matching greeting cards to swap with classmates. Then, a final independent project will combine all that they have learned such as letterform design, composition, paper stock selection and allowing their personal style impact their artwork. This long form piece could be a full poem, a wedding invitation suite, or a full suite of greeting cards. The final project will be ready to frame, digitize or perhaps print by hand in the printshop. Rumor has it that even those with questionable penmanship can do remarkable things with an oblique pen and a zebra nib!

Screenprinting Explorations (July 2017)

Most people are fans of screenprinting whether they know it or not. Screenprinting is an art form known for its bold graphics and versatility. 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 successfully translate to print. By the end of the class, students will know their way around the print shop, and be well equipped to continue printing independently at Spudnik Press Cooperative.

Print As Protest: Posters for the People

Printmaking has deep roots as a social art practice by providing a platform for people to voice their ideas, get involved with their community, and disseminate visual campaigns in support of their beliefs.

This one-day workshop invites students to take advantage of screenprinting as a means to produce (and reproduce) their own politically charged posters. Students will gain inspiration by learning about a variety of contemporary artists who use printmaking as a form of resistance both in the gallery and on the street. Then they will head to the darkroom to create their own screens.

All are welcome! This class is intended for both experienced and novice printmakers. Students are asked to arrive with a project in mind including text and/or images they would like to print. The workshop will walk through finalizing files that will work best for screenprinting, exposing screens, and basic one-color printing.

Plenty of newsprint will be provided to create easily distributed, fast-and-quick works. Attendees will print as many copies of their posters as possible over the course of the workshop with a print-trade at the end of the session. Plus, we will discuss distribution options–not that we condone wheat pasting! This class offers an all-inclusive space intersecting art and politics, whatever ones politics may be.

Tuition for this workshop is a sliding scale pay-what-you-can format. Registration for this workshop would typically cost $50.  Participants are expected to contribute between $20 and $60 according to their financial situation.

Risography 101 (July 2017)

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.

Printmaking Foundations (July 2017)

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.

Screenprinting Refresher (July 2017)

Open to anyone with prior printing experience, this refresher workshop will assume that students 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 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 diagnosing exposure and printing issues, ink mixing, registration, and screen reclamation. Equally as importantly, we will address how to consider these technical factors and limitations when designing a project for printing.

During the workshops, each student will expose a screen, and work with peers to print a two-color image designed to hone nuanced printing skills. Spudnik Press staff will also meet individually with each printer to provide consultation for their next project.

To help build printing confidence at Open Studio sessions, students are invited 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.

The Botany of Blue: Cyanotypes after Anna Atkins

In 1843, a botanist and photographer named Anna Atkins self-published her first book of cyanotype photograms. Anna Atkins, who is often cited as the first woman photographer, has inspired many with her collection of images that are both scientific and artistic. 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. This workshop commemorates the work of Atkins by sharing the art form and process of creating cyanotypes.

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.

T-Shirts & Totebags Screenprinting Workshop (August 2017)

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!

Students will bring to the workshops with a bold black and white drawing, a high-contrast photo, or a digital design. While .AI or .PSD files are great, we welcome students to bring anything from text typed in Microsoft Word to photocopies. After students refine the artwork (as needed) to be “print-ready”, student will use a pre-coated photographic screen and mix their own custom ink color. Everyone is asked to bring 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 all work great. Leave with a sample for an Etsy store, a surprise gift for a friend, or an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags!