August Meeting Recap – Zygote Press

About 40 CDPUG members showed their enthusiasm for our roots in printing prior to the digital revolution by participating in our latest meeting at Zygote Press in downtown Cleveland. Many of us have been exposed to or worked with these printing methods in the past and have a nostalgic fondness for their unique look and the hands-on methods.

The silk screened poster to the right was created specially for our event.

Co-Executive Directors Kate Snow and Stephanie Kluk were our hosts and provided an overview of this unique artist workshop. Zygote Press is Northeast Ohio’s only non-profit fine art print shop and the largest co-operative print shop in Ohio. They support fine art printing through exhibitions, community programs, and affordable, professional workspace. Gallery Director Yana Mikho-Misho gave us a preview of upcoming events.

Our hosts explained how printing by nature is a very collaborative media because of the need to share presses, letterpress type and other equipment. Zygote is also proud to be one of the only green shops around. After the overview we moved into the shop to learn about 3 specific techniques and some hands-on demonstrations.

We first examined various types of letterpresses and discussed that it is a fine art form used for posters, prints and even things like wedding invitations. Letterpress’s raised type produces an inked impression on paper. These early printing techniques established the foundations of the fonts, typesetting terms and principles we use today. One member noted the absence of the strong odors that you normally find in print shops – a huge bonus to their green practices. 

Kate mentioned that when doing letterpress, you get a new appreciation of the size of something like 12-point type when you are setting it letter by letter! I also don’t think clients ever asked the question “Can I see what it looks like in another font?” Eager members got a chance to ink up some type and create their own print.

Then it was on to learn about photogravure which is a photo-mechanical process where artwork can be digitized, manipulated in Photoshop and used to create a printing plate. Bob Herbst told us about the new photogravure facilities, showed some of the types of plates and discussed how he was using Photoshop to modify vintage woodcuts or photographs for printing.

Bob talks to the group about the new photogravure facilities.

Finally, we talked about silk screening which is very popular because printing can be done on different materials such as t-shirts, textiles, wood, metal, etc. Many members have done silk screening in school. In this process, negatives are made from hand drawn or digital artwork and burned onto a mesh screen using a light sensitive emulsion. The screens are placed over the material being printed and ink is swiped over the surface pushing ink through the artwork areas. Intern Ryan Cermack helped members silk screen a poster created especially for this CDPUG/Zygote event.

Thank you to Kate Snow, Stephanie Kluk and the other Zygote staff for a thoroughly enjoyable and informative evening!

Special thank you’s also go to Spike’s good friend Pat Walker for suggesting Zygote Press for a program, Henry Lee for lending his printing and artistic experience in planning the meeting topic and agenda, and of course Spike for coordinating another great event!

If you’ve gotten the itch to re-visit an old passion or learn a new artistic skill make sure to check out the Zygote Press website for more information on upcoming classes, residency artist talks and exhibits and receptions. You might see other CDPUG members there since there was a lot of interest in the courses.

This months meeting also included a raffle drawing for 2 copies of Affinity Publisher. Lucky members Cheri Polk and Heidi Grosowsky each won copies to try. Let us know what you think of the software ladies!

Letterpress photos by Laura Dempsey. Other photos by Chris Kaminski.

Foreign Affairs
Elke Daemmrich and Jens Küster
Exhibition September 14 – September 20

Saturday September 14, Noon to 3 pm
Exhibition Reception

Saturday September 14, 12:30 pm
Residency Artist Talk: OAC Dresden Exchange (Germany)
Elke Daemmrich & Jens Küster

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