Posts Categorized: Tuesday

Letterpress: Movable Type + Polymer Plates (April)

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.

Papermaking Explorations (May)

Papermaking can be used as a catalyst for bookmaking, printmaking and drawing, as well as an art form all in its own.  Our introductory papermaking class walks students through the satisfying process of turning plant fiber into luscious handmade paper.

Students will learn how to form basic sheets of paper with a mould and deckle, and then expand upon that skill by exploring ways to manipulate the pulp. For example, students will add pigment to pulp to create custom tinted sheets of paper. Dyed pulp will also be used to integrate patterns and imagery into the papermaking process through pulp painting. “Inclusions” like fragments of prints, organic materials, or thread can also be integrated into the paper. Finally, using a wire armature, students can explore dimensional structures. Through these projects, students will also learn about the science behind papermaking, and how to select and use various plant fibers like cotton and abaca.

After surveying a range of papermaking skills, each student will be able to focus on a self-directed papermaking project with guidance and support from Teaching Artist, Molly Berkson. Students will graduate from this class with a hearty stack of their own handmade paper as well enough experience to continue making paper at home or at Spudnik Press. This is a wet process, so dress down for this class.

Photopolymer Intaglio (May)

Photopolymer Intaglio plates can capture every nuance of a continuous tone photograph, as well as direct drawing on transparent media. Using digital or handmade positives in combination with an aquatint screen, artists can easily simulate the look and feel of classic copperplate photogravure, montage, a variety of drawing techniques, or experiment with new directions. This class will benefit photographers and print artists looking to extend the tonal and textural possibilities of their artwork.

Students will work on a variety of plates to create a small series of prints. Through these projects, students will test out tools and materials to determine optimum exposure and ink density for various approaches to image making, film output and plate processes. During the printing portion of the class, students will refine their inking and plate wiping techniques for controlled and consistent printing from intaglio plates.

Risography 101 (July)

The Risograph is an automated duplicator from Japan that efficiently produces offset-like prints in a variety of saturated colors. 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.

While students gain authorization to continue making risograph prints at Spudnik Press Cooperative, attendees are encouraged to round out their riso know-how by taking a Risography 102 workshop and/or returning to use Open Studio shortly after taking the workshop.

Screenprinting Explorations (July)

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.

Bookbinding: Longstitch Books

The long stitch bound book is characterized by its classic style and its ability to employ a range of visually dynamic sewing structures. A combination of long straight stitches and braided link stitches adorn the spine of the book, which can be made of leather, fabric, or paper. Long stitch bound books are durable and lay flat when opened, making them the ideal structure for sketch books, journals, and artist books.

Students will become familiar with bookbinding tools, materials, and terminology, as well as sewing techniques that will allow them to complete three 5″x7″ long stitch bound book variations from start-to-finish. Bindings that will be taught include the Soft Cover Slitted Spine Long Stitch, the Hard Cover Italian Long Stitch, and the Quarter Leather Long Stitch. For the fourth and final project, students will be given the chance to design and complete their own unique long stitch binding. This class will give students essential technical bookbinding skills and vocabulary needed to continue making books for years.

Risography 102: Bring Your Own Files (August)

Risography 102 reinforces the skills introduced in Riso 101. Each student will bring their own project to set-up and print during the workshop.

Best practices for imposition or layout for zines and publications will be reviewed as well as tips for color separation and digital file set-up. Smart file set up is step #1 to ensure smooth and efficient printing!

Then, through creating a small run of prints during the workshop, students will get a refresher on how to make masters from digital files, how to troubleshoot paper jams and other typical print errors, and how to replenish ink and masters. Lastly, students will have the opportunity to use our guillotines to trim their prints.

This workshop is limited to just four students to ensure that everyone can print their own imagery and log time operating the machine independently. Students who take this workshop will be well suited to print and use guillotines unsupervised during Open Studio.

Students should come ready with a 2-3 color project–either a single-sided print to be completed in the workshop or a longer project to be finished during open studio. While PDF files are great, students are welcome to bring anything from text typed in Microsoft Word to photocopies.