Posts Categorized: Process

Cyanotypes: The Botany of Blue (June)

In 1843, a botanist and photographer named Anna Atkins self-published her first book of cyanotype photograms. Anna Atkins, who is often cited as the first woman photographer, has inspired many with her collection of brilliant blue prints that are both scientific and artistic. Cyanotypes are contact prints on light-sensitive paper, bridging photography and printmaking. UV light hitting treated paper triggers a chemical reaction that forms an intense blue dye. This workshop commemorates the work of Atkins by sharing the art form and process of creating cyanotypes.

After looking at historical examples of cyanotypes and the work of Anna Atkins, students in this workshop will explore the process through creating their own botanical prints. Part of the day, students will learn to use our NuArc platemaker to expose cyanotypes. Part of the day will be out of doors where students will use sunlight to make images from native flora, flower shop clippings and hand drawn transparencies.  No previous experience necessary for this explorative, and playful process.

Screenprinting Refresher (June)

This refresher workshop welcomes students with previous screenprinting experience who 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.

Risography 101 (June)

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.

Bookbinding Workshop: Simple Self-Publishing (June)

This workshop focuses on styles of bookbinding that are low-cost yet dynamic, and well suited for poetry chapbooks and portfolio books. Students will earn how to choose materials and create simple book structures that best highlight the content within their book.

The workshop will address the logistics of organizing poetry or artwork into a book form, explore the book as a vessel for information, and how material choices can inform how the book is read. While the workshop will create blank books, each style of binding will begin with standard 8.5” x 11” paper to allow your poetry or artistic content to be easily printed from a common inkjet or laser printer.

Students will complete four sample books: Two pamphlet stitch varieties, a perfect bound book, and a more elaborate Japanese stab binding.

In addition to learning hand skills, the class will discuss the history of chapbooks, their role in publishing over time, and ways to share and sell chapbooks. If you have writing or images you would like to promote, this is a great workshop to jump start your self-publishing!

T-shirts & Totebags Screenprinting Workshop (June)

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!

For those who love this introduction to screenprinting, our 8-week Screenprinting Explorations class will round out your skills and allow you print independently through our Open Studio program!

Risography 102: Bring Your Own Files (June)

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.

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 Workshop: Secret Belgian Binding (July)

There are many mysteries about Secret Belgian Binding, yet it’s no secret that this style of bookbinding is extremely versatile and attractive. It is the ideal structure for albums, portfolios, and journals because of the flexible lay-flat binding.

Students will learn how to plan out the book, first deciding the size of the pages, which will determine the proper size of covers and lengths of thread needed to finish the book. In addition to learning the sewing pattern for this binding, students will learn or practice wrapping book boards with cloth and decorative paper, and drilling the holes that will connect the sewn pages into the cover. Through making their own complete book, students will learn the logic behind the complex woven structure and develop sewing techniques that are useful in a variety of other bindings.

While the sewing is elaborate, the workshop welcomes beginners as well as intermediate and advanced bookbinders.

Relief Printmaking: Carving & Printing Woodblocks (July)

We invite you to try you hand at a new craft or to refresh dormant printmaking skills. Relief printmaking (aka block printing) is graphic, versatile, and timeless. It can be as simple as geometric stamps used to create repeat patterns or as nuanced and complex as your ambitions. In this workshop, students will plan, carve, and print from a 6” x 8” wood block.

Students will learn how to visualize and create a design that will stylistically work well as a relief print. Students move through each step of the relief process from project planning to image transfer to how to select the right gouge, hold the gouge, and carving an image in reverse. Using ink, brayers, presses, and a variety of papers, everyone will produce an edition of prints from their block. Final prints can take the form of wall art or note cards. Students with previous experience are welcome to take the workshop to refresh their skills or jumpstart a new project.

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.

Polymer & Plate Lithography (August)

Plate lithography is a variation of traditional lithography and relies on the hydrophobic (water-fearing) and hydrophilic (water-loving) properties of a sheet of plastic or paper. Plate lithography offers an immediate and non-toxic printing process that can incorporate photography, digital designs and hand drawn illustrations. This process is low-cost, versatile, and playful process ripe for experimentation.

Plates can be made using an everyday laser printer, then reworked or added to with a variety of tools like ballpoint pens, crayons and markers. The plate is then carefully inks with oil-based ink and ran through a press.

In this workshop, students will learn both monoprinting techniques and how make an edition with polyester plates. Digital file preparation will be taught as it is necessary for working with photos. However these processes also lend themselves to hand drawn imagery, and the computer can be bypassed completely with the use of a photocopier.

By the end of the workshop, students will produce two images using a mix of techniques on 11” x 15” paper. First time printers as well as artists with photography and drawing experience are both well-suited for this workshop.