Thursday, March 29, 2012

Setting up a High School Print Shop

I had a crash course in setting up a movable print shop when I undertook teaching a printmaking workshop at The Griffin School. After several hours of work, I got it up and running. Most of my time was spent researching and ordering supplies after creating lesson plans, then prepping stuff so students wouldn't have to bother with time consuming activities such as tearing paper or beveling plates. (We only have eight 1.5 hour lessons, so I had to axe something.)

Hallway storage right now...
Just about everything I need is on this cart.
Griffin has a press but it was in storage before my arrival. Other than being super dusty with equally dusty blankets, the press is a fine specimen. It's a Dick Blick 999 Model II. The press bed is made out of some kind of MDF and looks like it's in decent shape. I bought an 18 x 24" piece of .062" polycarbonate as a protective layer for the press bed at Regal Plastics for a cool $12.50 (I had been eyeing one at Takach--same everything--for $32!). I'm teaching the workshop in a shared classroom so the press is on a cart, and since it lives most of the time in a hallway, I've wrapped the blankets in a trash bag and loaded the cart with supplies.

I put a bevel into all the plates using my scraper tool.
Then I took a metal file and rounded out the corners.
I figured I might as well order some polycarbonate plates while talking to Regal, so I bought eighteen 9 x 12"pieces for $3 each (Takach charges $10 each, btw). So I'm feeling pretty proud of myself because of all the money I saved.

Quicky press grid. We have standard plate and paper
sizes so I'll be marking those measurements
in ink so they're easier to see.
I love the press grid that Takach carries, but in a pinch I bought a pad of graph paper and fashioned 4 sheets into the same kind of thing for only $7--with 36 sheets left over. I whacked the dust out of the blankets and they look good enough for me to skip washing them--which is an ordeal so I'm glad to pass on that.

I picked up Akua's sample pack of intaglio inks + a jumbo Mars Black, as well as the primaries in the Akua Kolor. That'll set them up for a couple of semesters.

Arches 88, pad of newsprint. Since the classroom doesn't have enough room for a clean-hands area, I tear paper into quarters prior to coming to class. Right now Griffin's stash of paper is in the trunk of my car...

Brayers, stir sticks, palette knives, scrap plexi for inking up
I'm just using Speedball brayers of various sizes.

Other Stuff
Paper towels, Q-tips, rubbing alcohol, sharpies, sandpaper, scribes (I'll be adding to this list most likely as things come up.)

Clean up
I'm using old ketchup bottles and the like for a water:dish soap solution and washable shop towels.

We went into full printmaking mode yesterday. So exciting!! Oh, and if you're wondering, the cart--which does not have breaks on the wheels, btw--did not travel as I expected during use.

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