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Printers in the Making | Fall Concentration with Phil Sanders

Phil Sanders working in a print shop

“Printmaking in and of itself is a very simple idea,” says Phil Sanders. “It’s the transfer of one image from one surface to another.” But this simple definition belies the true complexity and range of options available to the skilled printmakerlayers of ink and paper, levels of opacity, a myriad of textures and techniques. And if one thing is for sure, it’s that Phil Sanders is a skilled printmaker. Lucky for us, he’ll be coming to Penland this fall to teach an 8-week concentration on the ins and outs of his trade, including etching, aquatint, drypoint, and more. The course, as he says, “is a rare occasion to get an intaglio apprenticeship-style immersion.”

Space is still open in this print concentration, and some work-study scholarships are still available. Register here.

 

Printers in the Making

Phil Sanders – As a printer and a printmaker, I understand the difficulty of switching between “printer brain” and “artist brain.” The pull between “how to do” and “what to do” can leave you lost in the middle. Consider this class a technical apprenticeship combined with the creative space to experiment with your artistic voice. We’ll demystify all intaglio processes plus monotype, monoprint, and chine-collé. We’ll make ink, grounds, and drawing supplies, review tool maintenance, paper conservation, and more. We’ll tackle drawing, composition, design, and color theory through drawing calisthenics and composition exercises. This workshop is ideal for artists looking to hone their printmaking skills and artistic voice or working toward becoming professional printers. All levels. Code F00X

Phil Sanders is the director of PS Marlowe, a creative services consultancy firm. He is a former director and master printer at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop (NYC) and a former master printer for Universal Limited Art Editions (NY). Phil’s teaching experience includes Stanford University (CA), San Francisco State University (CA), and numerous courses at Penland.

phillipsanders.com

 

Two prints by Phil Sanders
Two prints by Phil Sanders. At left, “Check Mate,” a lithograph with digital inkjet and watercolor. At right, “Black Star (IQ Test),” a six-color silkscreen.

 

Phil Sanders Print
“Presence of Another,” a four-color letterpress print by Phil Sanders.

 

In a 10-Minute Talk created for MoMA, Phil emphasizes that printmaking is a very old and diverse fieldhumans have been making prints ever since the first footprint in the sand. “One of the major reasons that printmaking has survived and continues to thrive is its collaborative nature. Printmaking is never done wholly within in a vacuum. It’s a cumulative knowledge process that we add to as participants in it.” If you want to be part of that rich history, eight weeks of instruction and experimentation with a master printer might just be your chance.

 

REGISTER NOW FOR FALL CONCENTRATIONS
September 20 – November 13, 2015

 

As for the rest of us, we can at least get a taste by watching Phil in this short video on intaglio processes!

 

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Inside 8 Weeks of Penland Letterpress

students printing on Penland's letterpress equipment
Penland letterpress photo by Lauren Faulkenberry

 

Spring and fall are intense times at Penland. Students and instructors spend eight full weeks here, fully immersed in deep creative exploration in their studios. For many, these concentrations can be rigorous and sleep-depriving, but also enlightening, recharging, andultimatelytransformative.

Lauren Faulkenberry, who taught the spring concentration “Letterpress Books: Guts to Glory,” shared her thoughts in her blog about the “wild ride” that was eight weeks at Penland:

“To sum up: I had fantastic students. They made amazing things. We had a slew of letterpress adventures in the form of tiny books, broadsides, and ephemera that ran the gamut from poignant to wickedly funny and downright dirty. There was pressure printing, block carving, impromptu screen printing, and enough experimentation to warrant calling the studio a laboratory. Art. Science. Madness. Delight.”

 

Letterpress-printed poster advertising a studio open house
Open house poster photo by Lauren Faulkenberry

 

Lauren also describes one of the primary challenges of Penland concentrations: that constant tug-of-war between intense creative work and the rest needed to refuel our creative engines:

“It’s not easy teaching every day for eight weeks, even in a place that feels like paradise. I was often just too tired to work on my own projects after dinner each night, but it was hard to make myself leave the studio. There’s something about being surrounded by creative people in a flurry of breakthroughs and troubleshooting that makes it hard to walk away.”

Now that those eight weeks are over, Lauren reflected on what she took away from her eight weeks here at Penland. As many people do, she found it was much more than simply new techniques or a piece of work to be proud of:

“After a long cold winter, my students and my new friends breathed some life back into me. I won’t lieit was hard leaving there and coming back to the ‘real world’… But I’ve got a notebook full of ideas and a high-five poster that will remind me to keep doing that thing I love, and that path will most certainly cross the ones of all those great folks on the mountain that reminded me of why we do these things that keep calling us to do them.”

 

To read more about the moments that really stuck out in her eight-week class, see Lauren’s complete blog post here.

 

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Moving Pictures: Animated Letterpress with Rory Sparks

rorysparks

 

Oregon-based book artist Rory Sparks will teach an eight-week concentration in animated letterpress at Penland this spring. Rory cites the useless machines of Bruno Munari and Marcel Duchamp’s film Anémic Cinéma as two sources of inspiration for the workshop. Below, she talks more about why these two artists and works animate her thinking about motion and letterpress.

 

 

 

 

“As a bookbinder, I’m often thinking about how text is read, and how the experience and act of reading can change with movement and environment. To me, Munari’s useless machines reference words in a graphic way. Sentences, or poems floating in three dimensional space. Here is my favorite useless machine (Maccine Inutilli):

Bruno Munari, Maccine Inutilli, via instenseminimalism.com
Bruno Munari, Maccine Inutilli, via instenseminimalism.com

 

 

 

Marcel Duchamp, Disques Avec Spirales (Rotorelief), via mfranck.com
Marcel Duchamp, Disques Avec Spirales (Rotorelief), via mfranck.com

“In Duchamp’s Anémic Cinéma, the optical illusions that are produced are incredible. Especially that moment when your brain clicks and your vision shifts, and you see the depth and protrusions within the illusion. But I’m actually more excited about the concept than anything–the idea behind the project–prints meant to be viewed in motion. I’m looking forward to exploring with my students what other types of imagery would be best viewed in motion.”

(At right: rotorelief discs that were placed on a record and filmed in Anémic Cinéma. Duchamp included this note: “The disc should turn at an approximate speed of 331/ 3 revolutions per minute, this will give an impression of depth, and the optical illusion will be more intense with one eye than with two!”)
 

 
Rory Sparks
Moving Pictures: Animated Letterpress
March 9-May 2, 2014
In the letterpress studio
Let’s get things moving! We’ll explore various methods of incorporating kinetic design and animation into our letterpress work, including flip books, thaumotropes, zoopraxiscopes, red/cyan 3d anaglyphs, mobiles, and combinations of all of the above. We’ll cover the fundamentals of letterpress including press operation, typesetting, and polymer plates, and we’ll use various low-tech methods for getting images onto paper. We’ll sharpen skills and employ the letterpress as a perfect modular system for stop-frame animation. Inspiration will come from Marcel Duchamp’s film, Anémic Cinéma, Bruno Munari’s useless machines, and, of course, Eadweard Muybridge. All levels.
 

To find out more and register for this workshop click here.
Spring scholarship deadline is November 29.
Please note: applications need to be at Penland by this date to be considered for scholarship. Overnight service may not deliver to Penland’s campus on time, please plan accordingly.

 

Rory Sparks, Live Specimen: 4 Line French Clarendon, thread, paper, letterpress-printed type
Rory Sparks, Live Specimen: 4 Line French
Clarendon, thread, paper, letterpress-printed type

Rory Sparks is a book artist and founder of Em Space Book Arts Center in Portland, Oregon, a membership-based studio. She specializes in letterpress printing and limited edition books for artists and photographers. She teaches at various institutions including Oregon College of Art and Craft, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Em Space. She produced all three Orchard Editions for the Silas Finch Foundation, as well other projects and editions for them. In 2013, she was a master printer at Penland’s Winter Letterpress and Print Residency. Right now, she’s probably listening to Willy Mason sing “Talk Me Down.”