Gowanus Studios Printshop Visit
A wayward balloon from yesterday’s party floats in shaft of sunlight as we walk through the large common space of Gowanus Studio, and down a hallway lined with kayak-like boats to find Gowanus’ sweet printshop — located right next to the metal fabrication and wood shops that all members have access to.
Gowanus works on a membership model. For a basic fee you get access to all the facilities and workspaces. Pay a little more, and you get a locker to store your inks and supplies. A little extra a gets a 5x7x8 cube, which you can use for supplies and/or treat as a tiny home base studio from which to mastermind your project. Julia Samuels, the printshop’s mastermind explains all this as we walk down towards the shop, past the giant paper cutter, and into the sunny shop space.
Gowanus packs a lot of flexibility into a small space – set up for intaglio/relief, stone and photo-litho, silkscreen. The shop provides the presses, workspace, and the chemicals for whatever project you’re doing. You BYO gloves, inks, plates, screens and paper. It’s clear that the shop is well used and well loved. People drift in to spend their Sunday making work, claim table space, grab their screens or plates, and get to work. I asked Julia about how the shop decided to “do everything,” and not just focus on one print media – she says the name of the game is options for members. “We are not just printshop but also a woodshop and a machine shop and an event space, so if you’re a member and you want to do big installation, in whatever medium, you can do that.”
Thus, graphic designers use the printshop for screenprint. Printmakers use the woodshop for cutting down blocks. Fabrication folks need both the wood and metal shops. At Gowanus, an Elephant litho press rubs shoulders with a Wepplo 42’ etching press. The flash dryer is tucked in among the litho stones, and the four-color tree perches next to the aquatint box. Noah Breuer showed us a recent cyanotype-over-silkscreen project – which seriously, is totally rockin’.
Julia has recently expanded her print interpretations of the postmodern American consumerist landscape to include speed as well as excess – she shoots multiple exposures from a moving car, then each of those photos becomes a silk screen positive and overprinted to make the final image.
You can learn at Gowanus even if you are not a member –can take “Home-baked photo etching,” or “Japanese Stab Stitch,” or “DIY Shoemaking.” Plus there’s a residency. Check ‘em out! More photos from the visit here. Also, i really like Julia’s drawing based instgram.Bookmark / Share / Print