Slinging Ink at Summer Camp

Where Creativity Works

Faculty Guest Blogger: Christine Medley

Christine Medley: Last July, I attended my second Wells Books Arts Summer Institute. This week-long camp for artists offers various workshops in letterpress, calligraphy, papermaking, book arts and more. I chose to attend Letterpress Posters with Big Wood Type, taught by Amos Kennedy. The two main reasons I chose this workshop; one, I’ve been showing Amos’ documentary, Proceed and Be Bold, to my design classes for a few years because his social issues messages are right on and he’s a fascinating artist-printer; second, Wells has an amazing collection of wood type, and I wanted to play.

The first day, the 11 of us did a collaborative print to get warmed up, then we dove into our own projects where we were directed to create variety by experimentation. Normally, a printmaker strives to make an edition where each print matches exactly. Not…

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Hi-Tech meets Old-Tech: 3D Printing for Letterpress

I conducted a materials research study determining what 3D printing materials will best serve in relief printing processes applicable to letterpress and printmaking. With the help of a Marywood University grant, local 3D expert Cole Hastings and the company Printed Solid, I bought a 3D printer and a variety of filaments to play with—ranging from polyester to metal powders to plant-based materials.

1960s Kelsey press locked up with 3D type

So why would I want to make 3D printed letters? I have a large collection of wood type at my letterpress shop, The Workshop, but some fonts are missing letters, or the letters are damaged or I don’t have enough of a common letter like an “E”.  These are some of my short- and long-range goals:

  • Fabricate missing letters for wood type fonts
  • Create new letterpress fonts that replaces traditional wood type
  • Create an alternative relief plate making process to polymer, linocut, and woodcut

Some of the qualities I’m looking for in the filaments are:

  • How does it hold up to the pressure of a printing press?
  • Does it have similar surface properties to wood?
  • How does it hold fine detail?
  • Can you sand, carve or using fillers?

Not to bore you with too much detail but the testing process generally went like this:

  • Created the letter in Illustrator, saved out as SVG and used the free 3D modeling program Tinkercad to create a STL 3D model.
  • The letter A was printed on the Lutzbot Mini 3D printer using these 9 filaments: ColorFabb NGEN, _HT, PLA/PHA, Bronzefill, Corkfill, Woodfill; Proto-Pasta Carbon Fiber; and 3-D Fuel Natural Entwined Hemp
  • All letters had to be sanded, most of the time an emery board sufficed.
  • Models had to be made slightly higher than the type high .918 to allow for sanding. 3D modeling is measured in mm so it’s interesting, to say the least, having to convert from points, picas and inches into the metric system
  • Then printed on two different printing presses: Kelsey and Showcard.

So after printing and testing out 9 different filaments and a much fussing around (3D printing takes a lot of patience), the best filament I found that gave me the closest feel to wood type is—drum roll—ColorFabb Bronzefill. This filament has bronze powder in it, is more durable with a heavier weight than the plastic filaments and is easy to sand and polish. It even sparkles in the light because of the bronze powder. It does have a higher cost than the other filaments and takes a bit longer to print (45 minutes per 2-inch letter). There were others that were ok with my next favorite being the hemp filament. My least favorites are the polyester and PLAs. There are many more filaments out there and they are improving, so this will be an ongoing process until I find the perfect one.

Some of the test prints:

ColorFabb Bronzefill is the winner so far: sanded with emery board.

PLA/Carbon/Hemp

PLA/Carbon/Hemp

First prints that were least successful–HT printed upside down and one painted with shellac

Finished my Sketchbook Project for 2018!

If you’ve never done The Sketchbook Project from The Brooklyn Art Library, you should give it a try. This is my third sketchbook and is a great way to get a bunch of work flowing in a short time. I started in February and just finished in time for the April 30th deadline. Once I send it off, the finished sketchbook goes on tour all over the United States in something akin to a bookmobile —then the book goes into the Brooklyn Art Library collection and can be viewed by anyone who visits. If you pay extra, they’ll scan it and post it online. I’m being cheap this time and not going for that option, so you can see it here on my blog instead.

This particular sketchbook is a compilation of figure drawings I completed at AFA Gallery’s monthly life drawing sessions. I’m going on 3 years now of off and on attendance and I have acquired a stack of newsprint and drawing pads filled with figure drawings, so I “figured” I should do something with them. I selected drawings that would fit in the book and collaged with images and text from a 1924 encyclopedia. I then drew more figures and lines on top of the collages. Added some black and gold for drama and elegance.

Media includes pencil, charcoal, conte and ink.

 

Batik

Where Creativity Works

Faculty Guest Blogger: Christine MEdley

Christine Medley: Over the summer I decided to take my very first class at Marywood. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity as I always wanted to try batik. Most people think of it as tie-dye but it’s much more of an art form that dunking a t-shirt in some dye. Batik is an ancient art form using a wax-resist process of dyeing fabric. Indonesian batik is probably the best known for its patterns and quality of workmanship.

The class was taught by Eva Polizzi, who teaches many of our textile-based classes. She had so many wonderful examples of the process and showed us a variety of techniques so we could practice with different tools and on a variety of fabrics. We first stamped wax designs on to fabric using mostly found metal and wood tools. Everything from cookie cutters to blocks from my letterpress…

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The Workshop

Where Creativity Works

With classes and extracurriculars filling up our schedules as college students, it’s sometimes hard to go out of our way to visit a gallery or go to a museum, especially when we have projects and assignments bearing down on us. In these last few hectic weeks before finals it’s especially difficult to find time to leave campus to do these kinds of activities.

In my Advanced Typography class, we were offered the opportunity to utilize The Workshop, a letterpress shop in downtown Scranton, to create our zines. I had never been before and I was interested to see what it would be like. I’d never done letterpress work but I had seen the work of others and I loved the stencil-like look of the letters and the way you could fit the letters together to form words in any position you wanted to.

Upon entering the letterpress studio, I was…

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Letterpress!

Where Creativity Works

These past couple weeks I have been learning all about how to use a letterpress machine in my Advanced Typography class, and it has been quite an adventure. We got to go down to my professor Chris Medley‘s shop, The Workshop, here in downtown Scranton, and use her letterpress and type to make some cool art. I already was a huge fan of typography, so I was very excited to go. I ended up making some cool coasters for my apartment and a couple cool prints on cardstock during the week!

I never realized how complex the process was to make a print, and although I am nowhere near being a pro at it I feel like I am starting to get the hang of it. You think it would be simple to stamp the designs and line up all the pieces you want no problem, but it…

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This Old Press

Donated to The Workshop last summer by Jack Welsch of Roaring Brook Township, this over 100-year-old Damon & Peets 9 x 13 press is up and running again. A team of friends and letterpress enthusiasts help dismantle, move, clean and assemble the 1200+ lb. press at its new home on 334 Adams Ave. Scranton.

This little bit of history I have on the press comes from Jack and some online letterpress archive research. His father had a printing business and this was purchased near Thompson, Pa as a second press. Jack started printing on it 50 years ago and printed part-time on it to support his family early on. The press and four cabinets of metal and wood type along with lots of accessories were in his basement for at least 25 years untouched—except by a few nesting mice. Jack generously donated the entire basement print shop to The Workshop as he has retired and moved out to Arizona. After looking through lockups and image cuts, most of the “recent” work, as in 25 years ago, looked to be for a Moscow church.

As for the press itself, I had not heard of a Damon & Peets press so after some online research, I found out they came out of New York and in business from the late 1800s to 1911, when they were then bought out by Golding. Damon & Peets and a Golding presses are of the same design. The press was missing a treadle but I was able to locate one down by Lancaster from Bindery Tools. They came up and installed it in 15 minutes. The rollers that came with the press are at least 50 years old and still work! Must have had the right storage conditions as they didn’t dry out.

Enjoy the photo gallery from Jack’s basement to the Workshop and to the first test print made on our “new” old press.

(A big thanks to all my helpers, Cole Hastings, Frank Kulas Jr., Paul Van Atta, Melissa Wollmering, Gary Irwin, Chris Stine, Mitch Frear and Eric Lansberry. And of course the biggest thanks to Jack Welsch for his generosity.)

Window Painting Project for Scrantonmade Holiday Market at the Globe

The annual ScrantonMade Holiday Market is being held at the old Globe department store famed for its holiday displays and Santa in downtown Scranton. The old Globe store, closed since the early 90s, spans the block from Wyoming Ave. to Penn Ave.  As part of the ScrantonMade Holiday Market design team, I was tasked to paint 6 large display windows and the Penn Ave. entrance. I assembled a top notch team of graphic design students and another design faculty member from Marywood University to tackle the big project.

Not having painted windows before, I did some research and found that doing it on the outside is the best for visibility and to use Dick Blick student grade tempera as the consistency and opaqueness works well plus it’s easy to clean off as opposed to acrylic or latex paint. The only downside is it’s not waterproof in a downpour. So we are spraying it will fixative and trying out Aquanet weatherproof hairspray too. The test will be this coming weekend as we are forecast with some rain and snow. It only needs to hold up until Dec. 4th! Fingers crossed! I’ll post more photos as we finish.

Update: tempera and fixative hold well up to the elements. Aquanet hairspray is too watery and not a fine mist when spraying on.

Designers: Chris Medley, John Meza, Emmaneul Adjei, Jake Santos, Katlynn Whitaker, Gabby Creazzo, and Rachel Hines.

My Spring/Summer Exhibits

2nd Annual Pocono Art Collage

Northampton Community College, Monroe Campus
June 13-Sept. 2
Reception: June 23, 5-7 p.m.

sand mosaic


Juried Art Exhibition: Water Views
June 3rd – August 13th

Tioga Historical Museum
Owega, NY

  • June 3rd– Opening of the Juried Art Exhibit
  • June 7th– Jurors Visit and Award Decision
  • June 18th– Owego’s Strawberry Festival and the Juried Art Show’s Popular Choice Vote
  • June 30th– Reception & Awards Ceremony (Invitation to follow)
  • August 13th– Exhibit Closes

Two photographs were juried in for this exhibit:

DSC_5363

ChMe_2_Mackinaw_Bridge


EARTH SPEAKS II JURIED EXHIBIT

April 2016
ARTSPACE Gallery
18 North 7th St., Stroudsburg, PA

sand mosaic


Poconos Arts Council member show:

2nd place Photography

sand and sea

Exhibition 2016, May 9-30
ARTSPACE Gallery
18 North 7th St., Stroudsburg, PA
This work is now on exhibit at the Monroe County Public Library until July 31st.

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