Posts Categorized: Saturday

Letterpress: Movable Type + Polymer Plates (January)

Letterpress printing has been making an impression since 1440 when Gutenberg invented movable type. Letterpress printing creates a tactile and inviting debossment in paper by using a mechanical press to prints from metal or wood type. This “punch” makes letterpress a popular choice for greeting cards, business cards, invitations, broadsides, and a wide range of printed ephemera. While it began as a commercial process, artists, designers, typographers and illustrators are continually finding new ways to approach the art form.

Letterpress: Movable Type + Polymer Plates introduces both traditional handset type AND polymer plates. Polymer plates allow artists to print from digital designs (illustrations, text, and even photographs) and can be made in house or ordered online.

Students will develop foundational skills by using a composing stick to hand set lines of types. From there, projects will introduce more technical considerations as well as creative approaches to printing. Students will learn to learn to lock-up type, prepare digital files for print, create polymer plates, set pressure, mix and modify ink and (maybe most importantly) safely operate our machines.

Throughout the class students will acquire the technical skills to be authorized to print independently at Spudnik Press and the creative skills to produce inventive and alluring prints for years to come.

Etching & Intaglio Printmaking (January)

Intaglio Printmaking is a family of printing techniques in which marks are incised into a metal plate. Using a fine point needle and various other tools, drawings and images are transferred through a thin protective ground to expose copper. With the help of a chemical bath, marks and images are etched into the metal with a remarkable amount of detail.

Artists can also work more spontaneously by scratching gestures and images directly onto plates, transferring textures, or painting directly onto plates with resists and mordents.

Beginning with basic line etching, students will learn and practice traditional plate making and printing processes. Through chine collé, aquatint, dry point, soft ground, and experimentation, student will add tonality, color, and varied marks to their images. No prior printing experience is needed, and students who do have intaglio experience can revisit the foundational skills with a more nuanced understanding of the process, and move on to independent projects.

The basic tools (etching needle, scraper and burnisher) are available to use during class, but students may wish to acquire their own so that they can work outside of class. Three copper plates ($26 value) are included in tuition.

Screenprinting Explorations (March)

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 relatively easy to learn, yet has many facets to explore and 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.

Monotypes & Collographs (March)

Monotypes and collographs are two forms of printmaking that favor organic, gestural, textural, and ephemeral marks and imagery. They are also incredibly immediate, playful, and multi-faceted type of printmaking, and therefore well suited to first time printmakers and artists who typically work with paint, mixed media, and sculpture.

Monotypes usually begin from a sheet of plexiglass as the foundation. Through working additively and reductively with ink, crayons, water or solvents, and stencils, students can capture a huge range of aesthetics from subtle tonality to gritty textures to minimal formal forms. Collographs are similar but incorporate elements of relief by collaging things like fibers, sandpaper, and acrylic mediums directly to the plate. The plate is then inked similarly to either a relief or intaglio print.

If these options are not enough, Teaching Artist, Jessica Christy, will also introduce a method of incorporating photographic imagery using our darkroom to expose plates!

Throughout the class, students will develop new ways to build images while learning about the properties of ink, paper, pressure, and how they interact to create a broad range of aesthetic possibilities. Students will be able to make many prints to learn and test these processes before moving on to a project that combines various methods and showcases her or his own personal style or vision. Students will leave the class comfortable using our etching press and authorization to continue printing at Spudnik after the class.

Advanced Bookbinding: Artists’ Books (March)

This class is designed for people with beginning to intermediate bookbinding experience to delve into more advanced techniques and integrate content into their books, and to investigate “Artists’ Books” as an art form.

Projects and exercises will explore:

Approaches to marrying technique, material, and content.

Material exploration to expand artistic expression.

Various hand skills needed to strengthen book arts practices.

Looking to Johanna Drucker’s The Century of Artists’ Books, the class will reference historic and contemporary examples of work to investigate how our own creative practices can respond to books as containers for our artistic expression.

The class will begin with a focus on traditional codex forms such as decorative variations on stab bindings, complex sewing and folded structures including Secret Belgian and Blizzard bindings. The second half will integrate more sculptural forms, altered books, as well as several transfer techniques for adding content.

Bonus: Students will have the option to attend an additional session at the about” Joan Flash Artists Book Collection at SAIC!