Show Me Your Print Shop: A New Facebook Group for Printmakers

Assistant Professor/Studio Technician Zach Stengsen's distilled water contraption at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. Photo credit: Zach Stengsen.

It is with great excitement that we introduce this guest-contribution by Lisette Chavez. Chavez is a Texas-based artist, and a recent MFA from the University of Arizona, Tucson.  She has exhibited her work widely in the United States and internationally. Learn more on her website here.

When visiting a new printmaking studio, do you find yourself curious to see how supplies, presses and work areas are organized?
Me too.

After finishing graduate school last May, I was confronted with the dilemma of not having immediate access to a print shop. I wished for a way to reference photos of print studios in order to plan for a future work space. This past September 2nd, I decided to ask my printmaking friends for help and started a Facebook group titled, SHOW ME YOUR PRINT SHOP.  A little over a month, 350 photos and more than 900 members later, we’ve created an international community of print artists with a common interest—print shops.

What’s most exciting about SHOW ME YOUR PRINT SHOP is that you never know what type of contraption will pop-up in the newsfeed. Some of the greatest ideas are creative and best of all, inexpensive. Janika Herlevi, a printmaker located in Vaasa, Finland, specializes in monotypes and shares her private studio with a colleague who is a mother of two. Although Janika’s studio contains a large sink, her ambition has pushed the scale of her print shop needs. Having outgrown her studio sink, her genius colleague suggested that they use a kiddie pool to soak the large format papers. Not only does this prove to be effective but Janika says it adds a lot of fun to her process.

 

Kiddie pool used for soaking large format papers. Photo credit: Janika Herlevi.

Kiddie pool used for soaking large format papers.                  Photo credit: Janika Herlevi.


Another clever idea from a frequent contributor to SHOW ME YOUR PRINT SHOP comes from Michael Raburn, owner and Master Printer at Cimarron Printmakers in Amarillo, Texas. While working at Reliable Reproductions in 1978, he built an angled board to help night pressmen who were punching their sheets incorrectly. Since then, he’s rebuilt the contraption many times and uses it to punch sheets of mylar and aluminum plates. It’s not only accurate and easy to use but saves a ton of table space.

 

Master Printer, Michael Raburn's slanted punch board. Photo credit: Michael Raburn.

Master Printer/Owner of Cimarron Printmaker’s, Michael Raburn’s slanted punch board. Photo credit: Michael Raburn.

Two other printmakers who have done a great job of organizing their printmaking tools are Catherine Chauvin, Associate Professor at the University of Denver, and Charles Woodruff Coates, an instructor at SFAI. Organizing materials not only helps maximize space but it adds to the longevity of your supplies. Tip: making the most of your wall space can free up areas in drawers and table tops.

Associate Professor at the University of Colorado-Denver uses a handmade rack for squeegee storage.  Great storage allows students to use the smaller sized squeegees more often.  Photo Credit: Catherine Chauvin

Associate Professor at the University of Denver, Catherine Chauvin uses a custom wooden rack for squeegee storage. Great storage enables students to access and frequently use the smaller-sized squeegees.
Photo Credit: Catherine Chauvin

 

SFAI Adjunct Instructor, Charles Woodruff Coates purchased pegboard to create a simple way to organize his materials. This helps to free up drawer space. Photo credit: Charles W. Coates.

SFAI Adjunct Instructor, Charles Woodruff Coates purchased pegboard to create a simple way to organize his materials in his home studio. Photo credit: Charles W. Coates.


Last but not least is another brilliant submission, this device was designed and built by Assistant Professor/Studio Technician Zach Stensen at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. Sediments found in the country’s tap water leave a chalky residue on surfaces which create problems for printing with lithographic plates. Since distilled water isn’t available for purchase, Stengsen takes advantage of Qatar’s humidity by storing the water emptied (multiple times a day) from his dehumidifying tanks.

After fabricating a wooden box and attaching it to the wall of the print shop, he was able to place a dehumidifier inside. A hose mounted to the bottom of the dehumidifier’s collection tank drains into a five gallon water jug. By using an on/off valve, it can dispense water by simply turning the knob.  Stengsen has not only created a way to generate distilled water but his handy contraption is able to conserve it as well.

 

Assistant Professor/Studio Technician Zach Stengsen's distilled water contraption at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. Photo credit: Zach Stengsen.

Assistant Professor/Studio Technician Zach Stengsen’s distilled water contraption at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. Photo credit: Zach Stengsen.

If you’re interested in improving your printmaking spaces or planning to build a print shop in the near future, feel free to join the SHOW ME YOUR PRINT SHOP Facebook group. We’d love to see any unique contraptions you’ve developed, ways to recycle materials and anything that makes your print studio more efficient. We are interested in seeing signage, storage, organization and anything downright SMART!

Facebook members can join here: Show Me Your Print Shop. If you’re not on Facebook, check back on Printeresting for more printmaking spotlights.

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Categories: DIY, Interesting Printmaking, Printshop Tour, Resources, Studio Visit


4 Responses to “Show Me Your Print Shop: A New Facebook Group for Printmakers”

  1. Sharon Gross says:

    Would like to receive your updates and information.
    Thank you,
    Sharon

  2. Amanda says:

    I LOVE this facebook group! I just scrolled through every post up to it’s creation. Thank you so much for posting about it!

  3. Luther says:

    I’m loving that distiller. Very funny (and clever)

  4. jane o'reilly says:

    just in time! Found this site. Want to join. thanks. Live in Boston, studio at Atlantic Works in Eastie.