While visiting Baltimore I had the pleasure of a guided tour of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) printmaking department, courtesy of Kyle Van Horn, who teaches there.
The printmaking studios are located on campus, close to Mount Royal. In their own words, “MICA printmaking offers a broad range of studio experiences, from traditional to experimental, in our exceptional printmaking facilities.
"The department’s approach to the four major printmaking disciplines - relief, intaglio, lithography, and screenprinting - is fine art based, allowing students to realise their personal vision."
They offer intaglio, letterpress, screenprint and lithography printmaking, as well as a well-equipped papermaking studio and other facilities: dark room, plate-making, film output studio.
My visit, unfortunately, coincided with the start of the end-of-year shows and so I didn’t get a chance to see the studios in action. They have loads of space, I think they’re probably the biggest printmaking studios I’ve seen that belong to a higher education institution.
It was also quite interesting to see that stone lithography is indeed alive and well at MICA - it might be my own personal experience of the medium, but it doesn’t seem too popular and/or represented as much as, say, etching or screenprinting is in the UK.
Papermaking also seems to have quite a presence here; again, more than I think we have back home (although I could be wrong - are there any HE institutions in the UK that cater for papermaking on the scale as MICA etc?)
Many thanks to Kyle and MICA for the opportunity to visit!
The Studios provide both screenprinting and letterpress facilities to members. The duo also run introduction workshops every other Sunday in letterpress and screenprinting.
Presses and facilities available include: two Vandercook SP20s, a Vandercook No. 4 and a Vandercook No. 1 proofing press; a Chandler and Price Pilot, a Craftsman Superior and a Golding Pearl No.1 platen press; a Challenge 265 guillotine; corner rounder; vacuum screen print exposure unit; three screen printing tables; a backlit washout sink with pressure washer; and a four-colour t-shirt press – not to mention the superb workbench/cutting surface/plan chest combo as featured in image two.
The space opened with (what I imagine to be) a great deal of hard work and determination, a fair few favours from friends, and also through the sale of the above poster - We Have a Strategic Plan - which was printed in an edition of 500, and featured on Swiss Miss design blog. Great stuff!
All in all, an amazing, dream setup. Thank you for letting us come and visit guys!
There’s a great interview with Kyle over at Design*Sponge (written before the Studios had opened).
New York is amazing. I know that’s stating-the-bleedin’-obvious, but I had such a whirlwind of a time - there’s really so much to do, and to see - and so my two-and-a-half days were (obviously) never going to be long enough to even scratch the surface of what the city has to offer, but it at least gave me a taster. Here’s what I saw… and I definitely have to go back for longer next time!
Stayed in Greenpoint, Brookyln. A really nice neighbourhood — lots of decent places to eat and drink, a few cute cafes, plus it’s a stone’s throw from Bedford Ave in Williamsburg (hipster-central). Arrived from JFK to meet Tom (who’d arrived two days prior), dropped off bags, and out to eat at DuMont Burger, and for a quick pint later at Rosemary’s Bar (thanks @ladyjazmana for the recommendation!)
First day was a bit of a wander, across Brooklyn Bridge and into Manhattan.
And then up through Chinatown and Little Italy, up to Bleecker Street and to Union Sq, across to the West Village, and Soho. We also visited Madison Sq Park to visit Shake Shack — the shakes are amazing…
We visited the truly wonderful institution of independent publishing that is Printed Matter, which included some familiar and not-so-familiar works. The space is brilliant: and there are so many books and publications in stock.
And we later also visited the Center for Book Arts, New York (unfortunately, photography was not permitted but you can check their Flickr photostream). The Center has been in operation since 1974 (see history) and had a really well-equipped bindery, gallery and letterpress studio — with a couple of Vandercook proofing presses, table-top platen presses and the like.
Friday evening I visited the lovely Maggie Campbell of Campbell Raw Press (plus her husband Matt and adorable 18-month-old daughter Charlotte) over in Brooklyn. They have an amazing home studio where Maggie produces the beautiful books and handmade journals they sell, plus finishing for letterpress-printed wedding stationery (which Maggie prints at The Arm, NYC, which I, unfortunately, didn’t get time to go visit). Thanks for your hospitality Maggie & Matt!