Sep 132014


Our fall 2014 workshops are up!

We’re most excited to announce our new Silkscreening 201 Workshop! Many have asked about learning how to print multiple colours. So we’ve created this new intermediate level workshop that steps it up a level and is an extension of the 101 workshop. No prior experience is necessary. Students who have already taken Silkscreening 101 will also receive 10% off Silkscreening 201.

Also new: we’ll be offering our popular Silkscreening 101 workshops 2x a  month: on a weekend day (Saturdays) and on a weekday night (Wednesdays) for those of you unable to make it on weekends.

Saturday, October 11 (12-5 p.m.)
Wednesday, October 29 (6-10 p.m.)
Saturday, November 8 (12-5 p.m.)
Wednesday, November 19 (6-10 p.m.)
Saturday, December 6 (12-5 p.m.)
Wednesday, December 10 (6-10 p.m.)
Each workshop is 5 hours. Saturday workshops are from 12 to 5 p.m. and Wednesday workshops are from 6 to 10 p.m.

Saturdays October 11 + 25 (12-5 p.m. both days)
Saturdays November 8 + 29 (12-5 p.m. both days)

Fore more info visit:
> Spins & Needles Silkscreening Page
> Silkscreening 101 Workshop Description
> Silkscreening 201 Workshop Description

 Posted by on September 13, 2014 silkscreening No Responses »
Mar 152013

Angelo by Maurizio Anzeri

It’s here! We’re hosting our geometrics-inspired DIY + DJ party tonight.

When you mention Spirographs to people, for most it conjures up childhood memories of creating endless spirals on white pieces of paper (and knowing there was some math behind the toy but not really knowing what you were learning).

For the March event, we were inspired by very modern interpretations of the drawing toy as found in the art, craft and design world, on paper and in 3-D.

Here’s a few images that inspired and helped us develop the event theme, our poster design and the project for this month’s event (more on the project in an upcoming post).

For more event inspiration, check out the inspiration board on our Pinterest page.

Dream catchers in black and white via Tumblr

Untitled (2011) by Anne Seidman

Hadr / Kvadrat (2012) by Todd Bracher Studio

WOW for Rogerseller (2013) by harvest textiles

We Couldn’t Get In. We Couldn’t Get Out. (2007) by Lacey Jane Roberts

Work for The Youthquake (2011) by María Aparicio Puentes

Seed of Life (Long Deep Sleep) (2013) by Shaun Kardinal


Jan 202013



For the last few Spins & Needles installments we’ve been providing project kits that include all the materials and instructions for the night wrapped in a neat little package (who doesn’t like getting packages?)

We were super inspired from our trip to Japan last year, where everything was wrapped in amazing graphic paper, in colourful little boxes  and with so much care. Sometimes the paper was simple newsprint, but embellished with stickers, tape or string that made it special. It actually made you feel like you were receiving a gift rather than purchasing something from a store.


Our packaging is clean and minimal. We’ve really fallen for kraft paper to bundle up our kits – it’s simple yet so much can be done with it. Like stamping, screenprinting, washi tape, customized stickers. Plus since we don’t have a lot of room in our apartment, it’s really multipurpose. We used it to wrap our Christmas gifts this year, and will probably use it to wrap birthday gifts, baby shower gifts, wedding gifts, etc. We’re also thinking newsprint would be great.

For the January installment, we cut out 12″ x 12″ squares, and folded in the corners opposite to each other in, then folder the other two corners, kind of like this one on Oh Happy Day, although ours ended up looking more like an envelope. We used chevron black and white washi tape to seal it.  We also designed black and white stickers for the front of the package for the theme of the night, everyone’s a winner. Inside were the instructions, felt pieces, a pencil and eraser for the project of the night: vintage felt pennants. People could then use the kraft paper to sketch out ideas for their pennant.

kraft-paper-packaging-spins-and-needles-3 kraft-paper-packaging-spins-and-needles-4

In the past we would give people instructions and let them know where to collect their materials, but we’ve been getting lots of comments that people like having a little package they can open and the element of surprise. It takes more work and time to put the kits together but it also saves a lot of time cleaning up at the end of the night and uses less resources, so is more environmentally friendly and cost effective for us.

 Posted by on January 20, 2013 Design No Responses »
May 032012

One of our past participants, Marion, sent us these  photos of what goes on during the Spins & Needles Silkscreening 101 Workshop. The photos capture the different steps in the silkscreening process – from making the screen to coating and washing the screen out to burning your image to printing and the end results.

Marion took the workshop last February to actualize a project she had been thinking about for a long time – printing choufleurs (cauliflower in French) on fabric – to create scarves, t-shirts, underwear (!) for friends and family.

To see more photos to get you inspired, check out more photos on our Flickr page or the Spins & Needles Silkscreening 101 Workshop page.

Thanks Marion!

Building the screen

Applying photo emulsion

Burning the image onto the screen

Washing the screen out

Letting the screen dry

Flooding or coating the screen

Printing on the medium (t-shirt)

Printing on the medium (paper)

Marion’s choufleur screen

Choufleur on t-shirt

Choufleur on underwear

Mar 232012

Our last Prints & Inks profile is not on an artist but the Montreal-based creative print shop and studio Station 16. The shop + studio offers limited edition prints from some of the best street and graffiti artists in North America and Europe (including Prints & Inks exhibiting artists Antoine Tavaglione, whatisadam, En Masse, Martine Frossard, Labrona and Niko). Originally just a family textile screenprinting business, owner Carlo De Luca decided 18 months ago to offer free screenprinting space to artists in the city to create and print their works, uniquely partnering his family business with his love of art.

Here’s Carlo’s story on setting up a screenprinting studio, having silkscreening in his blood, and being inspired by the artists who work at and collaborate with Station16.

1. Telll us a bit about Station16. What was your motivation to start this print shop/studio? How did you get started?

Station16 was/is primarily a textile screen print business. I’ve been doing this for twenty years (the last 10 on my own). About 18 months ago I wanted to diversify my business and since I love art, the natural progression was to start up a fine art studio within my shop. I reached out to artists in the city and offered them the opportunity of free space within my shop to see how we can take their art and combine it with my medium. This is when I met whatisadam. He was screen printing these amazing and awesome edition prints at home using a light bulb and one screen that he kept reclaiming. I was so impressed with his skill and passion that I immediately knew that we would produce a wonderful product together. His passion for art with my resources and equipment produced his first successful solo art exhibit in Montreal, April 2011. Later in the year, I realized that I could offer this to other artists and give them an opportunity as well. This is when was created.

2. How did you become interested in silkscreening?

My family has always been in the textile (needle trade) Growing up, my summer jobs were in the print shop. At the age of 21, I decided to work full time and I started managing a print shop. By age 31, I started up my own business. I guess you can say it’s in my blood.

3. How are you influenced by other artists, specifically, other silkscreeners/printers?

My influence whether printing on paper, fabric or wood has always quality. I look at master printers and compare my work to theirs. I am constantly looking to improve, invent and explore. I often ask myself, if Andy Warhol would walk into my shop and view my quality of work…would he choose Station16 as his print house ? He’d better!

4. How many artists are involved with Station16? How do you go about selecting whose work you will feature?

Presently we have 9 artists onboard. I love street , graffiti, pop , modern and contemporary art. I love wheat paste artist and muralists as well. Artists selected would definitely fall into these categories.

5. Is there a collaborative aspect to your studio and your enterprise? Do you see silkscreening as being particularly suited to collaboration?

Station16 fine art department is based on collaborations between printer and artist. Station16 absorbs all the development costs and remits a fair percentage to the artist based on the sells of their works. We provide them an online shop platform and take care of all the shipping.

Working with different artists and collectively showcasing their works on one online screen print shop enables the magic of strength in numbers to work. Emerging and established artists directing their fans to our shop, enables people to view their works and introduces them to the works of other artists they were unfamiliar with.

Recently we collaborated with Montreal art collective En Masse, and produced for them their first ever serigraph print . En Masse is a collective of artists that produce these large scale handpainted murals with black/white imagery. This original drawing was a collaborative of six different artists. The edition is signed and numbered by all six artists involved. En Masse is gaining much deserved recognition for their works. Recently they were part of the Bing Bang exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

6. What are some of the challenges of running your own print shop/studio? What are the opportunities?

The textile screen print challenges are competition with overseas production.

Surround yourself with good people. Get the employees involved with the process. Make them understand that whether they are printing a t-shirt or fine art print, the impression once on the medium is there forever. Be proud of what you put out there!

My textile screen print business has given me the opportunity to explore other interests and to feed my soul with the fine art program I have developed.

7. What’s next for Station16 in terms of creative projects?

We recently completed a collaboration with CEASE for ArtTV at Montreal Nuit Blanche.

We were also at Armory Week in New York City from March 9-11. We also had a booth at Fountain Fair, where we showcased prints produced at Station16.

8. Anything else we should know about?

Station 16 is named after my MHM screen print machine that has 16 stations…small editions made at station16 are sometimes developed in editions of 16.

Surround yourself with things that make you happy ! Hang up some art !

Thanks Carlo! To see some of the work from artists at Station16, and to find out more about the print studio/shop, check out Station 16′s website. You can also visit the studio in Montreal at 111 Avenue de Louvaine West.

Mar 222012

Next up as part of the Prints & Inks artist profile is Toronto-based designer and screenprinter Sandi Falconer (aka Deadweight). Her prints reflect slightly askew hand drawn text, tired eyes, scrappy patterns, witches, objects of perceived luck or fortune, triangles, textured paper, wish bones, and the moon. She’s done work for the likes of The Walrus, Wavelength, The Images Festival, City Of Craft, The Hype Machine, and more. She plays music in The Guest Bedroom and collaborates on a line of screen printed leather goods called Falconwright.  Did we mention she’s also a full time office worker and loves avocados?

Here’s what she had to say:

1.     Tell me a little bit about your creative/art background. Also, what got you interested in silkscreening?

I got interested in screen printing at a time when a handful of people were doing really great screen printed posters in Toronto. I was totally dazzled by the bright colours, and I really wanted to get in on that (and be able to make my band t-shirts). My art background is mostly music related (school wise), and I’m a self taught hack when it comes to illustration and screen printing, but I love doing it and hope to continue expanding my knowledge/skills by moving forward and making stuff.

2. Describe the items/designs you’ve submitted to the Prints & Inks Show. Where did the inspiration for the print/design come from?

I’m a big fan of space. And coffee. But I probably wouldn’t enjoy space coffee!

3. What is your creative process? Where do you derive your imagery from – found objects? Your original drawings? Appropriated images?

My imagery is inspired by all kinds of things, but over the years it’s become a bit more focused on the themes I tend to enjoy. All my work is now illustrated/hand lettered by myself and screen printed in my home, though I have recently been experimenting with some digital printing (for shame!).

4.     How are you influenced by other artists, specifically, other silkscreeners/printers? Who are you inspired by and how is this translated into your own work.

Whenever I see a screen print that blows me away, I love trying to solve it like a math problem. That kind of wonder/interest is a really appealing feeling! I love seeing a colour combo blow my socks off. And I love being inspired by others to become a better printer, a better illustrator, just plain better.

5.     Is there a collaborative aspect to your work? Do you work with other artists/collectives? If so, what is the place of collaboration in your practice? Do you see silk screening as being particularly suited to collaboration?

Most of my screen printing work is done solo, though I am collaborating with a friend on a line of leather goods called Falconwright.  I design and screen print the patterns and my friend Danielle does the product development and sewing. I think screen printing is great for a skills sharing kind of collab. Certainly!  I’ve never collabed with another printer on a print before, but it is something that is definitely appealing to me. Maybe this is the year!

6. What’s next for you in terms of creative projects?

More Falconwright stuff, putting together my bands latest release, and working on some larger format screen prints.  Plus making more time for drawing in general!

7. Anything else we should know about?

I love avocados, but I used to think they looked disgusting. Things change and that’s good!

Thanks Sandi! For more of her prints and products check out her website.

Mar 202012

Next up in our Prints & Inks artist profile series is London, Ontario-based artist Jamie Q, who works in a variety of media including painting, drawing, zine-making, printmaking, and sculpture. They have shown their art in exhibitions across Canada, including their first major solo show, Make-Believe, at Toronto’s Art Metropole in 2010. Internationally, their sculptures were included in Family Shirt, a 2011 exhibition of contemporary Canadian art in Malmö, Sweden; and in Dirtstar 2011: Take Root, as part of the National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco. They have also distributed their solo and collaborative art zines across Canada, and internationally in the United States and Turkey.

Jamie Q has a BFA from the Alberta College of Art & Design (2002) and an MFA from The University of Western Ontario (2010). Their MFA research focused on the politics and aesthetics of the do-it-yourself ethic, as well as the social potential of art objects and DIY distribution strategies. They live and work in London, Ontario.

Tell me a little bit about the specific project you submitted to Prints & Inks, What Luck? What is the story behind it?

One day I became curious about what the pattern of winning Lotto 6/49 numbers would look like on the selection slip in comparison to the ones I had picked, so I coloured them in next to my losing numbers. There was just something interesting to me about these two random patterns representing such different outcomes: one worth a huge life-changing amount of money, and the other being a failed attempt made out of a kind of financial desperation.

I’ve made a number of silkscreened books, and originally I thought this would be a good theme for a book project, with the winning and losing patterns on facing pages. But as I started working on the idea, I decided to make it a print series instead, so that I could make the scale much larger. At the time, I was also thinking about how to make large art projects composed of many parts, which could be shown as a group in a gallery setting, but could also be separated and exist individually in domestic space.

The idea to sell tickets to win a print for $2 developed later on in the project. It adds an element of interactivity where people coming to the show can participate in a similar game of chance.

What is your reasoning behind choosing the medium of silkscreen? Tell me more about the associations you make between the medium and other broader issues, such as ease of reproducibility, street art, politics, or aesthetics.

My process with making art usually starts with choosing the medium I want to work with. I had decided that I wanted to make some prints before I decided what kind of prints I would make. So, I would say that enjoying the aesthetic qualities and process of silkscreening are central to this project. Of course, the ability to make many of the same image also made sense for a project that would document my losing numbers again and again over a period of time.

While the political aspect of printmaking may not be obvious in this project, I do tend to read politics into everything; I can’t really separate the political from the social. For example, the challenge of how to make a living as an artist is something I associate with these prints. I live below the poverty line, and I play the lotto sometimes. I also spend a lot of time thinking about the value of art, and I feel really conflicted about sometimes making art that only wealthy people can afford. Making multiples makes art more affordable. Not that I want to equate mass production with democracy, but I do think that having art in homes makes lives better, and it shouldn’t be something that only some people can have as a luxury.

When I think of silkscreening, I think of two very broad categories: the aesthetic/design side, related more to fashion and the creation of saleable objects, and then that which is rooted more traditionally in the political spectrum, here I’m thinking of protest posters and the like. Would you situate your work on either side? How so?

I actually wrote my MFA thesis around the supposed divide between aesthetic/stylized art and political/socially-engaged art. What I found was that the closer I looked at this, the more those distinctions dissolved. So I really wouldn’t situate my work on either side, because I don’t really believe there are two sides. It’s much more complex than that. For example, an aesthetic print might be political in the way that it is produced and distributed (for example, through a mail-art and delivery system that collects artwork from all over the world and distributes it freely by bicycle to people in the streets), while a political print might still operate as a saleable object within a capitalist economy.

At first glance, my lotto prints would seem to fall on the aesthetic side of things, but then you have economic themes running through it, and the possibility of winning some original art for $2 rather than buying it for hundreds of dollars through a prestigious dealer or something like that.

How are you influenced by other artists, specifically, other silkscreeners/printers? Who are you inspired by and how is this translated into your own work?

Well, I lived in Montreal from 2002-08, where there is a huge culture of silkscreened posters. So artists like Seripop and Leyla Majeri have made impressions on me. I’ve also been to a lot of small press and comics fairs. I am a big fan of Shawn Cheng‘s hand-bound screenprinted books. I have this amazing book by Anya Davidson called Consciousness 3. The pages are all loose 21″ x 17.5″ prints in a big portfolio. My silkscreened book projects are more reflective of these influences than the lotto project, which is much more minimal than my other work. The lotto project might be more influenced subconsciously by Claus Oldenburg or something, with its shift in scale..

Is there a collaborative aspect to your work? Do you see silkscreening as being particularly suited to collaboration?

Yeah, some of my screenprinted books are collaborations with James Kirkpatrick. We work together under the name Dusty Peas. I wouldn’t say that print is any more suited to collaborating than other media.. we do paintings, drawings, sculptures, zines and stuff too. But it’s nice to have help in the print shop, for sure, ha! Collaborating is sometimes a challenge, because each person might have different ways of doing things, but this is also what makes it interesting–you end up with something neither of you expected, which, if you’re compatible as collaborators, is usually an exciting and inspiring surprise that gives you new ideas to take back to your solo work.

Thanks Jamie! To see more of Jamie Q’s work, visit their website.

Mar 192012

Next up we’re profiling Prints & Inks contributor and Ottawa-based artist Guillermo Trejo. Originally from Mexico, Guillermo studied at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Etching in Mexico City, and is currently completing his MFA at the University of Ottawa.

Much of Guillermo’s work borrows directly from news media, pairing disparate political events that reveal a borderless world where humans ubiquitously fight against poverty and violence. This kind of democratization of popular or regional stories allows us to ponder not on our differences, but on the incredible likeness of many of our world’s important episodes.

Thank you to Prints & Inks show assistant Rhiannon Vogl for interviewing Guillermo.

Here’s what he had to say about his work:

Tell me a little bit about the specific project you have on display at Prints & Inks? What is the (his)tory behind it?
I am presenting 2 projects, one is call Blue Series; in this case the idea is to do formal investigation, by printing different images that do not have a relation between each other, by using the same color. Creating a linear narrative that is possible only by the color.

The second project is calling Free Association: in this project I print two images in one paper. The idea is to create a free association, free of interpretation, but that have a linear narration.

2. What is your reasoning behind choosing the medium of silkscreen?
I [actually] work with lino cuts and woodcuts printed on a letterpress machine, the great grandfather technique of silkscreen.

I work with relief prints, because I found in the intrinsic limitation of the technique a great quality that cannot be achieved with other methods. This limitation pushes the image to be as much direct as possible. I believe that this urgent capacity of communicate in a print is fundamental and only can be acquired by the reproducibility of the same.

Printing is not about the original, but is  about the reproduction.

The relation of politic and printed matter can be track to the origins of society, basically because the technique has been designed to communicate and not to have an aesthetic function.

Statement by the Atelier Populaire:

“The posters produced by the Atelier Populaire are weapons in the service of the struggle and are an inseparable part of it. Their rightful place is in the centers of conflict, that is to say, in the streets and on the walls of the factories. To use them for decorative purposes, to display them in bourgeois places of culture or to consider them as objects of aesthetic interest is to impair both their function and their effect. This is why the Atelier Populaire has always refused to put them on sale. Even to keep them as historical evidence of a certain stage in the struggle is a betrayal, for the struggle itself is of such primary importance that the position of an “outside” observer is a fiction which inevitably plays into the hands of the ruling class. That is why these works should not be taken as the final outcome of an experience, but as an inducement for finding, through contact with the masses, new levels of action, both on the cultural and the political plane.”

3. What is your artistic process? Where do you derive your imagery from?

My artistic process is quite simple, I found an image and then I “distill” the image to fit the technique, by distillation I mean, the reduction of non-necessary details, things that do not have a communicative reason, could be the background, or small details in the image. By doing this process the image became an “icon” for example, a soldier, a car, etc. The images are not a specific soldier but rather all the soldiers.

4. When I think of silkscreening, I think of two very broad categories – the aesthetic/design side, related more to fashion and the creation of saleable objects and then that which is rooted more traditionally in the political spectrum – here I’m thinking of protest posters and the like. Would you situate your work on either side? How so?

I situate my work in the second category, unfortunately we are living in the pinnacle of capitalism, at the extreme that capitalism has consume and commodified all aspects of political stand or contra culture. OBEY is an example of this, without judging the accomplishments and talent of Shepherd Fairey in his work we can see the bizarre chimera of politics and capitalism.

5. How are you influenced by other artists, specifically, other silkscreeners/printers? Who are you inspired by and how is this translated into your own work.

My biggest inspirations for me at this point are.

Taller de Grafica Popular (Workshop of the Peoples’ Graphics) in Mexico City. This collective works between the 30s and the 70s, creating some of the most incredible politic posters.

Atelier Populaire: This group of artist create some of the most memorable print from all times in the middle of the 1968 protest in Paris France.

Leopoldo Mendes: One of the most versatile printers in the history of printmaking.

6. Is there a collaborative aspect to your work? Do you print with other artists/collectives? If so, what is the place of collaboration in your practice? Do you see silkscreening as being particularly suited to collaboration?

Sadly in my work there is no more collaborative aspect, and it is not because I don’t want it is because, the printmaking community in Ottawa is not too big. Hopefully events like Prints & Inks will create a bigger community.

All print methods stand in the idea of collaboration!

Thanks Guillermo! To see more of Guillermo’s work, visit his website.