Monday, August 3, 2015

4 Places to Learn How to Screenprint in Philadelphia

My 1st screenprinted design getting oiled before the emulsion process
In the last couple of years, I've gotten more and more interested in taking art & professional development classes related to my field. Being a freelancer who primarily works from home, I don't get to learn from others on a daily basis (and the more I know the more I realize there is so, so much to learn), so I am constantly on the look out for interesting online & in-person classes.

I decided a few months ago that THIS would be the summer I learned screen printing; it's been in the back on my mind since I worked as a poster designer (10 years ago, crazy!). Screenprinting classes aren't offered as often as drawing/painting classes since they require a different kind of studio, but I did some research on classes in Philadelphia and here is a list of the best ones I found (links are included in all names).

1) Fleisher Art Memorial:  (Where I ended up taking my class) - this was my first experience at Fleisher, and it was a great one. I took a 5 day summer immersion workshop during the day while my kids took their own classes upstairs. I ended the week with (20) 11 x 4 inch prints of my own design (most of which were usable!). They also offer night classes and have two 10 week classes for beginners on their fall schedule (running from mid September to mid November). Huge Pro of Fleisher: If you are coming from out of town like me, they have a free parking lot for students - a rare thing in the city.
Cost: for a 10 week class is also a very reasonable $260 :) You may be able to use the left over paint they keep from past students (I did), but you will have to buy your own paper - which can be bought at the small supply store in their lobby - I spent $20 on 5 large sheets, which I divided into (20) 11x14 inch prints.

2) Continuing Education Class at an Art College:  There are a few art colleges in Philadelphia that also offer screenprinting classes as a part on their non-credit, continuing education programs. There are screenprinting classes at UArts and PAFA currently on their fall schedules, and Tyler with likely have one as well, judging from past schedules (fall 2015 class info has not been posted to their website yet). I actually tried to take a 10 week screenprinting class at UArts this summer, but it was cancelled due to low enrollment, bummer! I'm really only familiar with parking at UArts (having taking past classes there) and while there is no free lot for students, as a continuing education student you can get a discount on parking in one of the nearby lots, or easily take public transit (my personal choice). PAFA and Tyler are also both in convenient locations easily accessible by public transit.
Cost: Around $400-500 per 10 week class, includes a supply fee, but you may need to buy paper, paint, etc.

3) Second State Press: If you can't commit to a 10 week class, you may prefer to take a short workshop at Second State Press, located in the Crane Arts building. The workshop is one day, 3 hours long and you'll leave with a series of prints of your own design. I haven't taken a class with them yet, but I'll be going to a printmaking workshop with my family this week, so I am curious to see how it goes. My personal preference would be to spend a little more time in a class, but if you can get all you need to get done in only 3 hours, then why not? Every time I've visited the Crane Arts building there's been tons of free, on-street parking, though it's a bit trickier to get to via public transit compared to places in Center City
Cost: $83 for a 3 hour class. While it may seem a tad pricey for how short it is, it does includes all necessary supplies, like paper & paint. When factor those prices in, it works out to be around what you'd pay per 3 hour class at a college.

4) You House: While I like taking a class with an experienced instructor & other students I did ask my teacher if it would be possible to do screenprinting on my own. She said she prefers to work at a studio, but sent me a link to DIY Print Shop, which sells a range of different kits for beginners, all including an instructional DVD. I'm intrigued, but not sure if I'm ready to buy one yet! If I did, I would probably go for the Poster screenprinting kit ($249).
Cost: depending on the the kit, $129 - 599 (plus shipping), about what you'd pay for a class.

Here is a photo of one of my finished, 2 color prints from my class. I'm very happy with my 1st try at screenprinting, and very thankful for a wonderful teacher, Miriam Singer. (if you'd like to experience her class for yourself, she's teaching at Fleisher Thursday nights this fall :)

Do you have a local or online screenprinting class to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
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