Monday, December 17, 2012

Bite Me!

Last year’s successful Drink Me book, featuring  block prints and winter drink recipes, which sold out its 50 copies and raised money for Pyramid Atlantic. With Bite Me, of course, featuring screenprinted drawings and winter food recipes!
In September: A call is put out for volunteer recipe and artwork submissions.
There are two categories: Bite Me First, for appetizers, and Bite Me Later, for main dishes. The format of the book will be horizontal, 9 3/8" inches by 8 5/8". inches, with a paper cover and Dot Dash binding.

Late September: The volunteer artists/recipe writers gather at Pyramid Atlantic for design brainstorming and a screenprinting demo by Pyramid Atlantic’s screenprinting guru, Micah Beard. Under discussion are issues including the font for the inside pages, how best to supply the artwork, the timeline, etc. Around the table, two volunteers discover their shared Minnesota roots, reflected in their submitted recipes.

Throughout October and November
The organizers and volunteers laid out the pages, bought the paper, made the screens, choose and mixed the ink choices, screenprinted the inside pages, foil embossed the covers, blind embossed the section pages, collated all the pages, bound and numbered. Special thanks to Erin Brody for hand setting and letter pressing the Colophon. See slide show of our progress here

Wednesday, November 14
The Bite Me wrap-up party! The two-dimensional recipe artwork becomes three-dimensional (four-dimensional if you count smell!) as the volunteers bring in their food for all to sample. The finished Bite Me books are numbered. See slide show of the final steps here.

Written by Elizabeth Levenson

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tons of Fun at Make and Take

Pyramid's 2nd Annual "Make and Take", a celebration with crafts and cocktails, featured an all-in collaboration between studios. The final product was a 4 page advent calendar, based on the theme of kindness. Our page was a wintry scene and Ralph Waldo Emerson quote printed in mint green and rusty red. Thanks to all who came out for this great event.


Screenprinted Cook Books

BITE ME, a Pyramid project with recipes and illustrations from our community starts with
Bite Me First, for appetizers, and Bite Me Later, for main dishes. The  9 3/8" x 8 5/8" book features a foil-stamped paper cover and dot dash hand-sewn binding.

Contact Jody McLean for your copy.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dynamic Demos

Ink made from crushed beetles. Shepard Fairey's secret weapon. Screenprints that look like paintings. Cold wax and oil paint "develop" a screenprint like a photograph. These techniques were revealed at Pyramid Atlantic's 2012 Book Arts Fair. Denise Bookwalter of Small Craft Advisory Press whipped up a cochineal concoction on a hotplate, and showed a variety of other naturally made screenprinted inks in her sampler book (top). Rubylith—an obsolete material in graphic arts—is front and center in Rebecca Katz's work. She showed her unique method and shared her sources for finding the stuff. (center, photo by Lisa Helfert.) Resident artist Allison Bianco's prints are a mix of traditional flat screenprinting and her "painterly flats"— a mono print method of applying ink. (above, left). And finally, Dennis O'Neil treated viewers to a collection of prints from his Handprint Workshop International, demonstrating that the screenprint medium is flexible, sculptural and truly dynamic.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Resident screenprinter and Book Arts Fair demonstrator Allison Bianco on Fox5.

Helen Baribeau and Micah Beard print "Bite Me" pages.
Our Book Arts Fair is almost upon us. The studio has been buzzing with projects that will be sold, including a screen printed recipe book called "Bite Me" which features Bite Me First savory appetizers and Bite Me Later main courses. Each recipe was submitted and illustrated by a volunteer. Then, each page was screenprinted on various colors of Canson or Rives papers. The covers were foil embossed  and the section pages were blind embossed. Finally, the books were handbound and numbered on the handset letterpress colophon.
Bite Me books are $35.

The biggest excitement came on Wednesday with Fox5's Holly Morris and her TV crew which aired 3 segments advertising the fair, including a peak at Allison Bianco's screenprint demonstration, "Painterly Screenprinted Flats".

Hope to see you at the Book Arts Fair!
Nov. 16-18, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Postcard from Pepe

Dominican born Pepe Coronado discovered screenprinting at a "funky T-shirt shop". He had moved to Austin, Texas after meeting his wife Julie, an exchange student at the University of Santo Domingo. He soon found Sam Coronado (no relation) and The Serie Project: "a workshop where underrepresented artists benefit from collaboration and the serigraphy (screen printing) technique." Pepe was hooked. He went on to get his certificate in drawing at the Corcoran in DC, followed by his MFA at MICA. In 2004, he helped set up the digital lab and screenprinting studio at Pyramid's new Silver Spring studio. Sadly for us, Julie got a great job in New York, and the Coronado family headed north. But luckily for Pepe, they located in Hastings-on-Hudson, near the Dominican community. He set up his basement studio, and formed a collective of Dominican artists. This blogger visited Pepe in May to check things out.

Scherezade GarcĂ­a
SS: Tell us about your Dominican printmaking collective. 

PC: I founded Dominican York Proyecto GRAFICA (DYPG) in 2010 after moving to New York and connecting with the Dominican community there. It is a printmaking collective of artists of Dominican descent. Our mission is to advance the state of contemporary Dominican-American arts through a rich and varied collaboration, creating prints using a variety of techniques from the traditional to the latest and most innovative, and to broaden the public’s knowledge of the Dominican-American culture through exhibitions, lectures, and workshops.

SS: Who are the screenprinters in your group?

PC: We have Alex Guerrero who is very experienced in the medium, and collaborating with many of the artists in the group. Reynaldo Garcia Pantaleon and the Garcias sisters Scherezade and Iliana that have made their own screenprints for the project.

SS: Who are some NY screenprint artists that you have discovered?

PC: I’m finding many great artists to work with, some have printed before and some are somewhat new to the process. I’m currently collaborating with Carlos Jesus Martinez Dominguez,
Carlos is a graffiti influenced visual artist, he draws inspiration from hip hop and the culture of his Dominican hood, Washington Heights. Also heavily influenced by comic art, political, social and religious issues, he mixes these topics as he mixes media in the works he creates.

SS: Do you have any good studio tips to pass along? We are always interested in troubleshooting.

PC: I’m using Jacquard screen printing inks, really like them so far, good pigments and the best part is they are odorless.  I’m impressed with the work created in smaller spaces in New York, look at my friend Alex Guerrero’s print table/studio, which is an exposure unit too, (lights not pictured).

SS: Thanks for the interview, and look forward to seeing you and your work in November.

Coronado Print Studio
Pepe Coronado
See Pepe's prints at the Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair
Nov. 16-18, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sweet Stuff at Hemphill

A must-see screenprinted master work is now on view at Hemphill Fine Arts in downtown D.C. Conceived by art heavyweight William Christenberry and printed by Corcoran's masterprinter Dennis O'Neill, the print demonstrates the versatility of our medium. Alabama Wall is formed by a grid of 32 mini-prints, each a unique interpretation of Christenberry's trademark "Tops" snuff advertisements. O'Neill's genius lies in his processes. Experimentation within each image, along with the dustings of coffee and micro-beads on to wet ink, propels the print to magnificent.

Dennis O'Neill
Dennis lives, breathes and talks screenprinting: "The screenprint has long been associated with its commercial cousin for making imagery that is bold and graphic, flat and hard edged. When screenprinting began to switch from solvent based to water-based technology over two decades its very nature began to change and expand as well.The screenprint today is a chameleon, borrowing freely from sculpture, painting and digital imagery, to name just a few of its influences. It has a capacity to adapt and alter as well as replicate everything it sees and touches."

Alabama Wall, detail. Granular additions evoke the impression of rust.

See the print, discover the secrets!


William Christenberry
Assembled Memory
Hemphill Fine Arts
September 8 – October 27, 2012Hemphill Fine Arts
1515 14th Street
Washington, DC

Dennis O'Neill
presents his unique screenprint processes at the
Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair
Sunday, Nov. 18th, 2:00 - 2:45 pm
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center
8230 Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, MD

Monday, September 3, 2012

Another Akman Achievement

The finished print.
Screenprint regular and art gym member Allan Akman has completed another one of his signature labor intensive prints; D.C. Blossoms. Allan keeps close tabs on his process, but is reluctant to state the number of colors, "because I re-printed some plates to change colors for shadows .... I didn't count reprints as additional colors in the plate counts."
Allan at work in the studio.

Hair splitting aside, word has it the count was somewhere between 30 and 38, including at least one split fountain, creating the gorgeous pastel sky gradation. Congratulations, Allan, and we look forward to the next masterpiece.

Monday, August 27, 2012

New T-shirt Printing Wheel

Jose Dominguez surveying Pyramid's newest resident.

Former intern Will Thomas has donated a 4-color t-shirt printing wheel to the screenprinting studio. The "Vidar" tabletop needs some elbow grease and TLC. A quick Google search shows this brand is no longer manufactured, so creativity is key. Any tinkerers  ready to get this gizmo going? We've got lots of t-shirt printers in the Society!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Aesthetic Apparatus at Play

Along the back wall of the Graphic Design: Now in Production show on Governors Island, NY, hangs a cascading array of glorious screened posters from the graphic design duo Aesthetic Apparatus.

Poster detail.

"Often considered Minneapolis' best totally unknown design super team, Aesthetic Apparatus was founded around 1999 in Madison, Wisconsin by Dan Ibarra and Michael Byzewski as a fun side project from their "real" jobs. Over the years their limited edition, screen printed concert posters have secretly snuck into the hearts and minds of a small, rather silent group of socially awkward music and design nerds."

Their genius idea: recycle and print on top of "make readies" (test prints). Not only a nod to green graphic design, their simple concept opens up our sometimes painstaking process to random juxtapositions. Give it a go, and see what happens!

Poster by Aesthetic Apparatus
Graphic Design— Now in Production
On View: Saturday, May 26, 2012 to Monday, September 3, 2012

Open weekends and holiday Mondays, 10am to 6pm
Building 110, Governors Island, New York.
Free Admission.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Warholy Grail

A mere 4 hour drive from D.C.,—through the rolling hills of rural Pennsylvania,—lies the payoff in Pittsburgh: The Andy Warhol Museum. Any screenprinter worth their salt understands the contribution of this extraordinary talent to our medium. Imagine my giddy response finding out my niece Claire had a summer internship at the museum. A trip ensued. I had visited previously in 1994, soon after it had opened. There were many new things to take in. Recent unfortunate events have tarnished its "Sandusky" street name. A hands-on room on the ground level has been created to demonstrate Andy's inventive processes. The screen printing station was the popular standout. Four friendly assistants handled the screens, in a constant motion of ink and sink. Another table stocked with coloraid paper and black acetates mimicked Warhol's invention of playing with color before he committed to a large work. He also carved his own rubber-stamps, then hand tinted the impressions with dyes—represented at yet a 3rd table. 

Of course the museum is an immense homage to one of America's greatest artists and conceptual thinkers, housing and exhibiting artworks, films, TV footage, personal possessions and his "time capsules"— over 600 identical cardboard boxes stuffed with items collected by Andy. Claire reports "apparently they've found some crazy stuff in them —$10,000 in cash once, pizza dough from the 80s, a photo of jackie o nude (!)." 

—Marty Ittner

Left to right from top: a pillow tries an escape from the mylar room, the 6 story museum in Pittsburgh's
North Shore neighborhood, a screen printing video in the activity area, playing with color and acetate,
Claire shows off her Warhol badge, the screenprint sink and available designs.

Phone: 412.237.8300 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Screenprinting with African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation (AIRF) at Pyramid Atlantic

Intern Kate Horvat supervising a small screenprinter
muscle through a print
This Tuesday a group of eight girls came to Pyramid Atlantic from the American Immigrant and Refugee Foundation to participate in a whirlwind print exchange. Interns Amy Cousins and Kate Horvat showed the girls how to draw on films to expose onto screens. Highlights for the kids included putting their hands on the exposure unit as the vacuum seal kicked in as well as seeing their images magically appear at the washout station. Ah, the joys of screenprinting.

After demoing how to register and pull prints, we handed the reins over to the girls, and they were pros.

Each student produced an edition of eight prints which they brought back to AIRF to trade. Imagery in the editions ranged anywhere from mementos of their home country to silly faces to geometric abstraction, all in bold colors--true to the screen printing medium.

We may have made screenprinters of them yet!

Friday, July 6, 2012


Arlington Art Center's (aac) new exhibition CTRL + P is a must-see tour de force of cutting-edge printmaking. "Curators Kristina Bilonick and Julie Chae present the work of artists who are approaching this discipline through non-traditional processes, forms, and means of dissemination and distribution. The work is rooted in the tradition of printmaking, but crosses into and employs multiple disciplines, including installation, performance, film and new media." --aac

We zoomed in on all things screenprint, particularly artists pushing exciting new directions. CTRL + P is packed with screenprint risk-takers: screenprint collages, wheat-paste pants, a screenprint video installation, a 2-story scroll and a print made with raw pigment powder pushed through the screen. Prominently displayed in the main hall are Brian Chippendale's colorful screenprint collages (top). These multilayered masterpieces appear to be cut-out shapes from larger prints that are then adhered to board and paper. Don't miss Anthony Dihle's intimidating and amusing trouser trio Here Come the Pants (center) on the lower level (see his process here). Dihle notes the wheat-pasted silhouettes will be scraped off the wall at show's end (there go the pants!). To the left of the pants, a first for this blogger: a video screenprint animation by Jordan Bernier. (bottom).

On the first floor in the rear, Serena Perrone screen printed a complex and tranquil pattern on
a swath of cotton sateen in Biwa. Her craftsmanship is flawless and inspiring.
New Directions in Printmaking
June 22 - September 16, 2012
Arlington Arts Center
3550 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA

Monday, June 25, 2012

Luminous "Lumina" Poster

Kate Horvat
Interns Kate Horvat and Kai Cannon Hill were approached by Lumina Theater to design and print a poster for their annual gala. The finished piece is a watercolor and screenprint variable edition of 30.

Kate remarks: "The quote is from a Midsummer Night's Dream, and David Minton, who commissioned the piece, chose pansies because it was his late wife's favorite flower. Kai did the drawing and we collaborated on the design/printing. It is a 4 color print with a transparent white flat for the petals. We wanted the flower and petals to almost flutter down the page, and we chose watercolor because we thought that it reflected the nature of pansy petals."

We love the palette of blues, plums, crimson with the pop of the orange yellow detail and the radiant, random watercolor. Great work!
Collaborator Kai Cannon Hill prepares to print transparent white pansy petals.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Seeking Screenprinting @Artomatic, Part II

Elizabeth Brown screen prints on dollar bills in her Title 18, section 333. ("I'll Be Back") 

One of the benefits of exhibiting at Artomatic, DC's own mega-museum now on in Crystal City, is the chance to scour the scene for screen printing. Our last post unearthed some fine examples, but more was waiting to be discovered. First up, a simple yet surprising application of a basic black halftone on real dollars, is part of Elizabeth Brown's assemblage work, found on the 10th floor. Next, Frank C. Pappas' El Gran Gallo—Great Frederick Fair (a very dignified rooster) combines acrylic with "Seriograph", another name for screen printing. We have a hunch the expansive yellow background—a challenging feat—is the acrylic part. Not to be missed, the the 7th floor standout is Sargent Thamm's woodblock/screenprint portrait series. Faces of the famous—from Edie Sedgewick to Johnny Cash—are a masterful mix of printmaking media.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Seeking Screenprinting @ Artomatic

A close look reveals Megan Maher's screenprinted gestures in "Roller"

Artomatic, dubbed "DC's Biggest Creative Event" can intimidate even the sturdiest art lover. With over 1,000 exhibitors, the 11-floor mega museum requires at least two visits to take it all in. A catalog query of screenprinting turned up only three artists, but many do not list our cherished medium, as for some (including this blogger) screenprinting is merely a means to an end. 

Seeking screenprinting: on the 11th floor, Pyramid's own Lynette Spencer and Screenprint Associate Marty Ittner. Lynette's Severe REM is a layered dance of color and drawing, while Marty's Lake infuses cut-up scraps of screenprints in to her encaustic collage. On the 4th floor, color scribbles, wax resist and screenprinting mingle in Megan Maher's buoyant Roller and Mist. The always irreverent and inventive Dave Peterson screenprints on distressed and painted reclaimed wood, and yes, tee shirts. Find Branddave on the 9th floor. While on that floor, check out David Barr who lists his work as paintings, but the Warhol screenprinting influence is undeniable. Look closely...what do you think?

Our visits uncovered these fabulous examples, but more screenprinting lurks in the immense exhibition, surely! Found more at Artomatic? Send us a note and we'll run a followup feature.

May 18 - June 23rd 2012
1851 S. Bell Street
Crystal City, VA
Metro: Crystal City (blue line)

  • Wednesdays and Thursdays: noon – 10 pm
  • Fridays and Saturdays: noon – 1 am
  • Sundays: noon – 5 pm
  • Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
Send us your screenprint finds with artist name and floor location.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pyramid's Party

All hands were on deck at Pyramid's April 14th birthday celebration. Digital Associate Franc Rosario enlisted his daughter's help with the balloons; Executive Director Jose Dominguez struck a familiar cellphone pose with his son Owen (who is a reliable customer at the screenprint table). Cara Hunt broke out her personal supply of transparent base and Becca Katz and Deborah Dixon manned the stations of our 2-color paper bag printing demo. Thanks to Deborah and Yvonne Reyes for volunteering at the screenprint station.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sargasso Sea Scrolls

A collaborative effort between Pyramid Atlantic and the Sargasso Sea Alliance (SSA), the screen printed Sargasso Sea Scrolls are now on view in the Washington Printmakers Gallery (WPG). The scrolls illuminate the rich biodiversity of the Sargasso Sea and conclude months of collaboration between artists, printmakers and papermakers. The waters around the island of Bermuda sustain a swathe of floating Sargassum seaweed: a breeding and feeding ground for a wide variety of sealife. Identified as a “Hope Spot” by renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, the Sargasso Sea merits special protection because of its unique habitat. The Sargasso Sea Scrolls will broaden awareness and serve as a fundraiser to further the missions of both Pyramid and SSA.

Please join us for a special unveiling reception on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22nd from 5-7 pm.
WPG: 8230 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring MD

A small smattering of the scroll collaborators: (top to bottom) Screenprint Associate Becca Katz, Digital Associate Franc Rosario, Artistic Director Gretchen Schermerhorn, screenprinter Allan Akman, Board Member and Artist Jenny Freestone, Letterpress Associate Julia Louie and letterpress printer Erin Brophy, Resident Artist Christin Ripley and Gretchen making abaca paper for the scrolls.
Screenprint Associate Marty Ittner and her favorite shark.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Calling All Competitors!

Go for the gold, and stay for the fun at our Olympic party
Date: Saturday, April 14th
Opening Ceremony: 2:00pm
Closing Ceremony: 5:00pm with poetry reading upstairs directly afterwards
Host: Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 8230 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Help us celebrate 31 years of creativity!
Bring your team spirit and enjoy award winning fare, participate in hands-on art activities in every studio, and see the Pyramid Atlantic Member's Exhibition. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It Came from the Deep

Top to bottom: Christin Ripley, Gretchen Shermerhorn, Elizabeth Graeber, Maria Rykova, Nora Burghardt and Lynette Spencer

Pyramid's spring print exchange In the Forest & It Came from the Deep included 6 that utilized screen printing. Resident artist Christin Ripley created a feeling wheel on handmade paper, complete with a hand tied sailor's knot and moveable pointer. Artistic director Gretchen Shermerhorn started with etching on aluminum plates, which ended up being the prints themselves. Screenprinting was the obvious choice to add her white plant/sea creature. Elizabeth Graeber's underwater whale was printed in 5 colors. Interns Nora Burghardt and Maria Rykova both learned the process from executive director Jose Dominguez and entered prints. Lynette Spencer touched on a twin theme with her 4 color Incomrehensible Connection. The 13 print folio came housed in a handmade clam shell box printed with, what else? Screenprinting.