Posts Categorized: Process

DIY Letterpress Coasters (Dec 2017)

DIY Letterpress Coasters is an opportunity for people new to letterpress printing to experiment with the art form and experience the satisfaction of pressing ink to paper. A coaster is the perfect foundation for printers to play with the art form. Students will get to make their own mixed and matched coasters featuring the debossed “punch” that makes letterpress printing so popular.

Students can make coasters from variety of “type high” blocks: wood type to produce abstract shapes and textures, antique borders to create decorative patterns, and various contemporary designs by local artists cast as magnesium plates. Students can make a dozen unique coasters, or settle on a favorite look to create matching sets. Spudnik Press will provide the option of beginning with coasters made from thick cotton paper stock or cork. Students simply need to come to class ready to sift through type cases and dabble in the centuries old process of letterpress printing.

Screenprinting Explorations

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.

Bookbinding

Bookbinding is an art form that uses a basic set of techniques, tools and materials to create unlimited variations of handmade books. Through learning the foundations skills, bookbinders in this class will develop the craftsmanship needed to make a variety of hard and softcover books and to select the best binding for each book project. In addition to cutting, folding, sewing, and gluing their own books, students will also design their own paper paste papers covers and endpapers!

Each week will introduce a new binding style including pamphlet, “perfect”, coptic, flutter, codex, and stab bindings, as well as modifications of these traditional forms. Student will then create a handmade box housing their new library of hand-bound books and discuss next steps for incorporating content into their artist books.

Printmaking Foundations

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.

Letterpress I: Wood & Metal Type

Letterpress printing has been making quite an impression since about 1440 when Gutenberg invented movable type. A mechanical press prints from metal or wood type to crisply transfer ink to paper. Letterpress printing creates a tactile and inviting debossment in the 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 printing began as a commercial process, today 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 the art form. Spudnik Press Cooperative houses over 120 drawers of type, two Vandercook presses, a Line-o-scribe proofing press, and three platen presses, all of which are available for students to use.

Students will jump in browsing Spudnik’s unique collection of type and using a composing stick to hand set lines of type. From there, projects will increase in scope to introduce more advanced planning, technical considerations and creative approaches to printing. Students will learn new fun vocabulary words like reglets, quoins, chases, and leading. In addition to setting type, students will learn the mechanics of our presses and learn to lock-up type, set pressure, mix and modify ink and safely operate the 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.

Risography 101

A 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 and authorization to continue making Risograph prints at Spudnik Press Cooperative.

Screenprinting Refresher

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. 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. Students are welcome to bring specific questions about 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.

T-Shirts & Totebags Screenprinting Workshop

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 should bring five items of their choosing to print. As long as they are fabric and flat, we can help you print on it! 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!

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.

Screenprinting Explorations

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.

Relief Tester & Refresher

Relief printmaking (aka block printing) is a graphic, versatile, and timeless form of printmaking. Starting with a block of wood, linoleum, or rubber, artists use gouges to carve away the negative space. Relief prints can be as simple as geometric stamps used to create repeat patterns or as complex as a complex as one’s ambitions.

This workshop invites people to test out a new craft or to refresh skills from a prior class or printmaking experience. Students will learn how to visualize and create a design that will stylistically work well as a relief print. Students will then move through each step of the relief process from image transfer to how to select the right gouge, hold the gouge, and carving an image in reverse.

Lastly, the ink, brayers, presses, and paper come out! Everyone will produce an edition of their prints. Students with prior intermediate experience are encouraged to use the last hours to address questions related to setting up the press, multiple plate registration, planning more complex plates, even and consistent inking, etc.

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.