Vandercook SP-25 Authorization Workshop (June 5)

Spudnik Press Cooperative has a new press! And it’s BIG:

Vandercook SP-25:
Max Sheet Size: 24 ½ × 28″
Max Form Size: 24 × 26″

In addition to the press, we were able to also acquire:

6 drawers of woodtype, various fonts and sizes
A huge boxcar base for printing with polymer plates

To help our printers get familiar with (and authorized for) the press, we are offering one-day workshops that will review:

  • Project planning for larger-format printing.
  • Perfect registration.
  • Changing pressure and adding packing.
  • Proper inking.
  • Thorough cleaning.
  • Long-term press care.

All participants must already be authorized for the Vandercook 4 (for example, by completing our Letterpress I: Wood & Metal Type class). This workshop will not teach letterpress printing from the beginning, but is instead focused on the particulars of this exact press. Working collaboratively, participants will be able to set type, ink the press, print, clean, and each take home a fun (large-scale) group project.

Sign up today to print big AND avoid the Vandercook #4 scheduling competition!

Letterpress I: Wood & Metal Type

Letterpress printing has been making quite an impression since about 1440 when Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type. Using type, cast from metal or carved from wood, and a mechanical press to crisply transfer ink to paper, letterpress printing leaves a tactile and invited debossment on paper. This “punch” makes this art form a popular choice for greeting cards, business cards, invitations, broadsides, and a wide range of printed ephemera.

While letterpress has historically been a commercial process, these days artists, designers, typographers and illustrators are continually finding new ways to approach the art form. Letterpress I: Wood & Metal Type uses a range of projects to familiarize students with letterpress printing, typography and the history of these art forms.

Spudnik Press Cooperative houses over 120 drawers of type, a Vandercook press, a Line-o-scribe proofing press, and three platen presses, all of which are available for students to use during class (and to continue to use after class as graduates).

Students will jump in on day one by browsing Spudnik’s unique collection of type and using a composing stick to hand set their first line of type. From there, projects will increase in scope and introduce more advanced project planning, technical considerations and creative approaches to printing. Students will learn new fun vocabulary words like reglets, quoins, chases, leading and more. After setting type, students will become familiar with our printing presses and learn to lock-up type, set pressure, mix and modify ink and safely operate our printing presses.

Throughout the class students will acquire the technical skills needed to continue printing independently at Spudnik Press and the creative skills to produce inventive and alluring prints for years to come.

Relief Printing & Repeat Patterns (June 2017)

Relief printmaking is a graphic and versatile type of printmaking. Relief carved block have been used for centuries to create repeat patterns for garments, decoration, wallpaper, and more. Today, relief printmaking remains a user friendly and non-toxic way to produce patterns.

This block printing class introduces the essential skills needed to conceptualize a design or motif, to transfer and carve that image into a block with a set of gauges, and to print the image in a variety of ways to create various patterns on paper and fabric.

Student with or without prior block carving experience are welcome, and participants need not be expert draftsmen. Working with abstractions, silhouettes, and various mark making styles, students will learn approaches to reduce images to their essential elements to exploit line, shape, contrast, and texture. Students can then use and reuse these blocks to create various tessellations printed with various color palettes.

Printing with both a press and by hand and on a mix of paper and fabric, students will be able to produce lush prints on a variety of materials, ultimately creating a variety pack of prints, wall art and functional objects.

Letterpress Refresher

The Vandercook 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.

Platen presses are simple machines that can produce lush prints with the perfect kiss of ink. However, they are also powerful with the capacity to smash pins and destroy lead type. Without truly understanding the mechanics of the machine, printers can harm their prints and the press.

With a focus on printing, this refresher workshop will review setting up the presses, ink, adjusting pressure, proper packing, registration and all-around best practices. Students will improve their mechanical understanding 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.

We welcome printers that are 1) feeling out-of-practice, 2) are new to Spudnik’s letterpress facilities, or 3) would like support working through a particularly complex project or reoccurring printing issue. Through this workshop, students will not only brush up on old skills and have the opportunity to become authorized to print at Spudnik, but are sure to walk away with new morsels of useful information regarding the art of letterpress printing.

Plus, to help ease each participant back into printmaking, students are invited to return within the week (free of charge!) to put their refreshed knowledge to use.

Vandercook SP-25 Authorization Workshop (June 20)

Spudnik Press Cooperative has a new press! And it’s BIG:

Vandercook SP-25:
Max Sheet Size: 24 ½ × 28″
Max Form Size: 24 × 26″

In addition to the press, we were able to also acquire:

6 drawers of woodtype, various fonts and sizes
A huge boxcar base for printing with polymer plates

To help our printers get familiar with (and authorized for) the press, we are offering one-day workshops that will review:

  • Project planning for larger-format printing.
  • Perfect registration.
  • Changing pressure and adding packing.
  • Proper inking.
  • Thorough cleaning.
  • Long-term press care.

All participants must already be authorized for the Vandercook 4 (for example, by completing our Letterpress I: Wood & Metal Type class). This workshop will not teach letterpress printing from the beginning, but is instead focused on the particulars of this exact press. Working collaboratively, participants will be able to set type, ink the press, print, clean, and each take home a fun (large-scale) group project.

Sign up today to print big AND avoid the Vandercook #4 scheduling competition!

Risography 101 (June 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.

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.