Posts Categorized: Special Topics

Calligraphy Crash Course

After taking a calligraphy workshop, you’ll never look at a letter the same again! Join artist and calligrapher, Grace Calderone, in an exploration of letterforms, quill pens and india ink. We welcome first-time calligraphers! Rumor has it that even those with questionable penmanship can do remarkable things with an oblique pen and a zebra nib!

The workshop will take a close look of the composition of letters, and how letters connect to other letters to form words and phrases. Students will get used to assembling the nib and holder, controlling the pen’s reservoir of ink, and varying line width with pressure. From there, students will become familiar with how letters are formed through practicing the alphabet, writing short phrases and experimenting with swashes.

Everyone will get to take home their own pen and nib and a printed guide to help them keep practicing on their own.

DIY Valentines: Screenprint Your Own Cards

A handmade valentine is always a thrill to receive, regardless of how romantic one feels about the holiday. This Valentine’s Day, impress friends, family, and coworkers with a clever or charming hand-printed valentines featuring your own design.

Students will each bring a one-color design that they would like to transform into a stack of greeting cards. Designs can be a black and white drawing, text-based, a Photoshop or Illustrator file, or found imagery.

Students will learn how to make their image “print ready” and will expose their image onto a screen using photographic emulsion in our darkroom. Everyone will mix their own custom ink color, register their image onto cards, and then print, print, print! Students will be able to make 20 valentines and are encouraged to swap cards with their classmates to bring home a DIY variety pack of cards.

Make Your Own Wall Art: Chicago Edition

Do you love Chicago architecture? What if you could make your own Chicago wall art featuring your personal favorite photo? Ditch the stock photo of Navy Pier in favor of your favorite neighborhood marquee, the Chicago skyline from your own rooftop vantage point, or seasonal foliage along the 606.

With the support of Spudnik Press artists, create your own unique handmade ready-to-hang artwork featuring your own Chicago photograph. Students will learn tricks to transform their personal photograph into a bold and graphic screenprint on canvas. This afternoon workshop introduces the process of using a darkroom to create a screen from a digital image, mixing a custom ink color, and printing a design onto fabric.

After printing, students will choose from two finishing styles, either stretching the canvas around stretcher bars or add grommets to complete their artwork. Students are asked to bring a black and white 10” x 10” 300 dpi digital image. Durable natural canvas and all other materials are provided.

Pro Tip: Grab your camera and take some photos of your own. It’s not cool to download copyright-protected photographs.

Papermaking: Pulp, Sculpt and Print

Papermaking can be used as a catalyst for bookmaking, printmaking and drawing, as well as an art form all in its own. Beginning with the scrap papers that so constantly accumulate in our print studio, student will turn these left overs into precious pulp. In addition to using recycled materials, students will make unique handmade paper sheets using natural fibers like abaca.

After forming basic paper with a mould and deckle, students will explore texture, paper casting, and layering paper to create sculptural pieces or installations.

With the printmaker in mind, the class will also address how to incorporate imagery into and onto handmade paper. “Inclusions” like fragments of prints, organic materials, or thread can be integrated into the paper. Plus, students will learn ways to add photographic imagery to their papers through alcohol transfers and cyanotype processes.

Students will graduate from the class with an understanding of papermaking terminology and history. They will be able to make and dye pulp, create large and small flat sheets, and craft paper-based artwork that incorporates collage, photography, pulp painting, and sculptural elements.

Papermaking at Spudnik Press is a low-tech non-toxic process that requires limited access to special facilities, and can be incorporated into classroom settings. This is a wet process, so dress down for this class.

The Artist Book: Design & Construction

The Artist Book is fundamentally an interactive sculpture. While artist books are often based on traditional of sewing and gluing techniques, they typically depart from the everyday paperback by incorporating non-linear narratives, tactile and playful elements, illustrations, unexpected juxtapositions, and a close attention to material details.


During the first weeks of class, students will learn or refresh core bookbinding skills including sewing, gluing, folding, cutting, and measuring. Students are encouraged to bring short quotes, poems, scrap prints, found images and other elements to help incorporate content into these practice projects as well as the final independent project.


Class discussion and friendly critiques will help peers select and plan a unique book project that integrates form and function with their personal aesthetics. Working individually and as a group, students will brainstorm ideas, sketch, and develop a project plan. The lessons in the second half of the class will be driven by the artistic visions of the students and may introduce paste papers, raised and recessed surfaces, hinges, multi-signature bindings, box construction and more.


Those with advanced experience will have time to tackle more ambitious techniques. Those newer to the medium can develop a project that best aligns with where their abilities. Students are encouraged to incorporate printmaking processes they are already familiar with into their artist books, however additional printmaking processes will not be taught in class.

DIY Screenprinted Tea Towels

This is a fun opportunity to make a snazzy set of tea towels featuring any image you choose! Bring your own design, hand lettering or illustration and we’ll provide the ink, screens, and tea towels. You’ll spend an afternoon learning the basics of screenprinting on fabric and leave with a set of kitchen towels to gift or keep for yourself!

This hands-on workshop encourages each student to customize their project by choosing the size, placement, and color for their image. The best part of printmaking is making multiples, so each student gets five all natural tea towels to experiment with. We welcome brand new printmakers as well as those who have some experience and would like to learn to print on different materials.

Bold line drawings, silhouettes, geometric shapes, monograms or hand lettering all are great starting points for designs. Whether you are gifting this package to a culinary friend, family members or yourself, these handmade items will be sure to bring joy to their recipients!

Screenprinting 201: Color for Screenprinters

Screenprinting is well known for its disposition for color. Saturated or pastel, metallic or fluorescent, subtle or vibrant, screenprinting is an art form that can handle it all. Sign up for this ink-mixing boot camp to push your skills both conceptualizing color palettes and mixing ink to match the aesthetic you want.

Through conversation and hands-on printing, this workshop will address building colors through layering transparent ink, taking advantage of the paper color, controlling ink colors to create depth and form in a flat print, and using a Pantone guide to perfect color matching. We’ll experiment with when to use white ink and when to use transparency and discuss how mixing ink is not actually that similar to mixing paint. Using a Spudnik-provided images, each participant will leave with a set of prints that illustrates the concepts and skills covered in this workshop.