Full printshop geek disclosure!! Every printshop has their own unique way of displaying their ink tests and these are but a few of our very favorites.
We first became aware of Jeffrey Dell’s astounding screenprints at the IPCNY New Prints Autumn 2013 show and wanted to share this interview again on the occasion of Jeffrey's solo show at The Print Center in Philadelphia. His pieces are quite astounding in person given their scale and he is a very lovely fellow to boot, take a read:
When did you start printing?
I started in 1991, with a class at Hamline University studying with Leonardo Lasansky. There have been many other important instructors since then, like Rosalind Richards at Bucknell University and Jose Rodriguez at the University of New Mexico. People I’ve known in Venice at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica like Matilde Dolcetti have also been influential for me. Since you’re from Boston, I’ll mention a time that Michael Mazur helped me make an important decision to return to the States from Venice.
For many years my prints were almost exclusively intaglio, and of that I almost only did drypoint and mezzotint. It’s direct and fast, sort of. For the last six years or so I’ve been doing nearly exclusively screen printing. One Christmas break I was simply sick of what I was doing with copper plates and wanted to play with screen for a while, and I haven’t really turned back from that yet.
What’s the hardest thing about teaching printmaking to first-timers?
That’s a tough question. I think one of the most difficult things to teach in printmaking at any level is that the best solution is not necessarily the one that is technically most complex, nor the most difficult. I think we need to help people think creatively about how to achieve results and find solutions. Sometimes that can involve solving fairly complex technical problems, but often those technical problems subsequently become the sole criteria for whether a project is valued. This is a real pitfall with printmaking, and it alienates us from the other art worlds.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
That’s tough, but I might say Rafael Rozendaal, or Tauba Auerbach. They’re both doing things with graphics that are very fresh and not exclusive to known print styles. Another that I would have to mention is the collaborative duoSonnenzimmer in Chicago, for the same reason.
Where are some of your favorite spaces in San Marcos/Austin/San Antonio or elsewhere in Texas for contemporary art or design?
Well, in San Marcos the only real resource is Texas State University, where I teach, and it’s an amazing program with great exhibitions. We have top notch colleagues and wonderful students. In Austin, Flatbed Press is a real leader in both print and contemporary work. Slugfest Printmaking Workshop, also in Austin, has world class print shows and good personality. Canopy, a new contemporary art space in Austin, has been opened by the Big Medium people, and they’re the ones who have, over the years, started the East Austin Studio Tour and the Texas Biennial, so they’re real movers and shakers. For Austin galleries, Art Palace Gallery really changed the dialogue and has since moved to Houston. Champion Contemporary also helped raise the conversation, and Tiny Park Gallery is doing great programing. The Contemporary Austin, formerly both Arthouse at the Jones Center and the Austin Museum of Art, has a new director and has a lot of momentum and energy. The Blanton Museum of Art at UT Austin has a really amazing collection of prints, one of the best in the world. Their former director Jonathan Bober was able to acquire the print collection of Leo Steinberg, and the current director, Francesca Consagra, is doing really good programing and is collaborating well with the larger community.
Central Texas is really a great place for print, whether from the above mentioned or from the fact that the music scene is so big and it’s one of two cities to annually host Flatstock gig poster convention. That’s a different community than contemporary art, but there’s lots of cross over.
We needed to build a couple of hinge boards for upcoming print events today and we thought, what better time for a how-to? A hinge board is the lynchpin for any home based screenprint set-up and it’s super easy to put together. Instructions are all below.
Take a peek at some process shots from the studio as we printed our most recent collection, "Fictional Gradients". These were a challenging set of prints as they used very half halftone dots to create shadow and form. Additionally, half of the prints use a rainbow "blend" where three colors are all printed at the same time.
Yesterday we popped by the lovely studios of Myrth Ceramics in Boston’s Allston neighborhood. Myrth is partnering with us for our pop-up in Boston this month as part of Barry’s Shop. We picked out a few BEAUTIFUL pieces that will be featured in our store which opens this Friday! Details and RSVP here.
While visiting Sydney in late February I stopped in to visit the art school I went to as an undergraduate in Sydney. At the time it was called The College of Fine Arts (COFA) but has since been rebranded to “UNSW Australia Art and Design” Anyways, they will always be COFA to me. The printmaking program (headed by amazing artist Michael Kempson) was stellar then and continues to be, BUT the screenprinting facilities have improved in leaps and bounds over the years. I’m so impressed with the space they now boast. Wowee.
Last week we went to Boston for a super special event at the Newbury St Marimekko store. Their Artwork Studio Manager, Petri Juslin was visiting from Helsinki and gave a presentation on the history and future of the company as well as an in-depth look at their design and printing processes. Needless to say we totally geeked out.
How amazing are these vintage shots of the ladies printing Marimekko in beautiful, printed shift dresses?
It’s the last day of 2015 so we are sharing our favorite shows of the year. We didn’t do any overseas travel this year (*sad face emoji*) so these are all pretty local BUT pretty amazing.
Matthew Brannon “Skirting the Issue” at Casey Kaplan, NY
Sarah Charlesworth “Double World” at The New Museum, NY
Barbara Kasten “Stages” at the ICA, Philadelphia
Corita Kent and the Language of Pop at the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge
Richard Tuttle “Both/And” at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia
Paul Wackers “Thank You for Being You” at Morgan Lehman, NY
How to Make a Four-Way Repeat Pattern
This is a pretty fool-proof method for creating a design that can be tiled to create a seamless repeat.
…scan it and have the finished repeat design digitally printed onto fabric.
…create the drawn elements using opaque paint markers on vellum and use it directly as a silkscreen transparency.
…create a design that could be carved into a woodblock or linoleum and used as a repeated block print.
We had a lovely visit this afternoon with PaperConnection, a women-owned paper powerhouse that is the “premier resource for fine art and specialty papers made by skilled crafts people in the East to suit the paper needs of artists and institutions around the globe.”
They have SUCH an extensive range of beautiful handmade and rare papers and they are open to the public for their annual studio sale SATURDAY NOVEMBER 14 if you’re in the Providence area.
They also have an online store if you aren’t in the area and fancy a snoop at their paper wares.
We recently finished up such a fun project with the Somerville Farm to School program in our local area Somerville, MA. In their words:
“The Somerville Farm to School Project works to EMPOWER MINDFUL EATERS! As a project of the Food and Nutrition Services Department of the Somerville Public Schools we work closely with kitchen staff, educators and community based organizations to provide good food inspiration and education to students and parents so that Somerville’s youth can eat well all day long- both in school and at home.”
This is a mission we can certainly get behind and we were thrilled to design their Veggie of the Month Series that will be printed and live around various school campuses. We will share the next few months early next year.
October is also National Farm to School Month so be sure to pop over to their website to see how you can support the initiatives that are crucial to the healthy lives of young Americans.
Williamsburg has changed in leaps and bounds since we were living there in 2008 but whatever you think of the crazy new developments and the goodbyes to some local institutions RIP Zebulon :(
BUT one addition to the hood that is undoubtedly the most beautiful is Mociun, we popped by their temporary pop-up on North 1st (our old street!) which is their outpost until they reopen their newly renovated original location on Wythe Ave. They are most known for their stunning rings and custom jewelry but I was just so taken with their array of ceramics…sigh.
As our two-month apprenticeship at the Fabric Workshop and Museumcomes to an end this week I wanted to share some pics from the printing of the final yardage design. Inspired by a visit to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens the piece is titled “Zagar’s Shelf” after artist and visionary Isaiah Zagar who built the gardens in the mid-nineties. Elements from the garden were incorporated into the design and all of the separations were hand drawn. We printed 8 yards in total with an alternating color palette to break up the repeat.
As our two-month stint pretending to be textile printers comes to an end I was reminded of the huge oversight that I hadn’t shared photos from our visit to Publisher Textiles in Sydney from this January - JANUARY! yikes!
Their founder, Mark Cawood generously showed us around their impressive setup for hand screenprinting wallpaper and textile yardage. Look at those giant screens!
This collection of six prints were inspired by the extravagance of 18th-century jeweled snuffboxes and"micromosiacs". Reproduced and enlarged, the halftone of these rainbow-hued prints begin to mimic the tiny clusters of gems that adorn each original box. Painterly brushstrokes approximate the jeweled arrangements, masking out imagery in some compositions, while becoming the subject matter of others.
This collection had its origins way back in 2012 with some photographs I took in the “Boxes and Micromosaics Room” at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. I revisited them this year and started playing with cropping the imagery and overlaying brush marks to either reinforce or obliterate the jeweled arrangements.
These designs had to be “separated” and printed on mylar for exposure onto screens then each color is applied one at a time. What resulted was a series of six prints with varying degrees of departure from the original photographs.
During our brief visit to Providence last week we got so into the idea behind RISD Second Life, a secondhand art supply store run by RISD students. Because who has leftover materials after finishing art school? Answer - every person ever!
The store is in downtown Providence and lets poor students and us, non-student cheapskates alike sift through a well organized selection of used/partially used art and design materials. Every art school should have one of these stores.
Philadelphia’s Meadowsweet Mercantile is an absolute gem and I want to drop everything and live inside it. They recently moved to a new, bigger space in the Old City area and they are thoughtfully taking their time to fill it with the loveliest selection of American made homewares and vintage clothing. Sigh.