World Printmakers’ Print Workshop Central

Online resources for fine-art printmaking workshops

Studio Survey I – Results

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Here at Last

Here, at last, are the results of Print Workshop Central‘s Studio Survey I. In all, 23 studios replied to the questionnaire, a mediocre turnout at best. Print studios are busy, it seems. After asking respondents to identify themselves, we invited them to tell us about the services their studios provided. No surprises here. The most generalized services are workshops/classes. And most studios offer a variety of other print-related services.  The “other” comment at the end is “press repair.” Nice service. Here’s the breakdown.


Keeping the Wheel Spinning

Most of what we refer to as “activities” are events to promote printmaking, printmakers and/or the studios themselves. We’re delighted to see that two of the studios organize excursions. It’s not clear whether these are picnics or museum visits, but they’re all to the good!


Survival Issues

One of the most critical issues at any print studio is economic survival. How do our sample studios deal with it? Sixty percent of the responding studios are private businesses, the rest, non-profit public services. Most of them have multiple income streams. We were gratified to see that the most cited is “print sales.” We are curious to know why more studios don’t offer public subscriptions of their artists’ work.


Number of Staff Varies from One to More Than 10

Printmaking is a wonderfully flexible vocation. You can set up a printmaking operation in your basement and run it yourself, or you can mount an industrial operation with a dozen or more employees. More than half of the responding studios have just one or two staff, and one has more than 10.


From Lone Print Masters to Industrial Setups

Thirty seven percent of our respondents work in fewer than 50 square meters of space, and the three biggest studios are more than 10 times larger than that. Do the bigger studios do better work?  Not necessarily. Most of them are public access facilities. There’s a lot to be said for a lone master printer in a small studio.


Media for Everybody’s Taste

The media in which our studios work are nicely varied, with the seven most popular used by from 10 to 17 percent of studios. In the “other” category we find a variety of minority techniques: monotype/collograph, Albion letterprews, Chine collé, installations and liquid metal.


Handmade Papers Anyone?

The use of luxurious handmade papers is less extended than we suspected, with most studios reporting that fewer than 10% of their artists use special papers. At the other extreme are almost a third where more than half of the artists use handmade papers. The obvious objection: “It’s too expensive.” Certainly it’s more expensive, but if you sell your prints the fact that they’re on distinctive paper makes them worth more. Everyone we’ve ever spoken to who uses special papers agrees that it’s good business to do so.


Materials Procurement

Our respondents’ favorite place for buying supplies is their local art-supply stores, followed by national suppliers over internet, which has taken over the lead from phone and fax access to national suppliers. Internet also provides easy access to materials you sometimes cannot access any other way. An example: A magnetized metallic sheet to hold down steel solar plates for wiping and inking (an accessory which can almost double production if you have one person inking and another pulling the prints!) Very hard to find outside of the World Wide Web.

You’re wondering what the “other” source is? A local print studio!


Printmaking Pros are Optimistic

Sixty five percent of respondents described the current state of fine-art printmaking as “Splendid” or “Good.” For the next 30% printmaking was “in mild decline.” Only one of the responding print professionals felt cause for “pessimism,” and nobody perceived today’s state of the printmaking arts as “disastrous.”


How Print Studios Promote Themselves

They do a bit of everything, with websites, press releases and open houses and printmaking demos leading the way. A (more affluent) minority opts for paid advertising. Print professionals have been slow on the uptake as far as blogging and the use of Web 2.0 sites are concerned. (Hint: Blogs are a wonderful free resource, and you don’t have to update them three times a week if you don’t want to. Just consider them a free space on the Web where you can do anything you like!)


Our Thanks to the 23 Studios Which Participated in this Survey

When we conceived this little exercise in asking printmaking workshops  to provide us with some information about themselves, so as we–and our members and readers–could get an approximate overview of the collective as a whole, we had no idea how reluctant people are to fill out questionnaires. So we would like to express our very special thanks to those who did find the time to complete our Studio Survey I questionnaire, and thus contribute to everyone’s knowledge of what fine-art printshops from different parts of the world are like.  They were: Gloucestershire Printmaking Co-operative Ltd., UK;  Santosha, Switzerland;  Tamarind Institute, USA; Terap Ulang, Malaysia;  Sinead Wall Printmaker, UK; Point&Marge Editions, France; Lancaster Press, Australia; Underground Impressions Souterraines, Canada; Art Students League of Denver, USA; Firenze Arti Visive, Italy; Squeegeeville, Canada; Josephine Press, USA;  Sydney College of the Arts, Australia; Linda Joyce Renz Studio, USA; Greek Printmakers’ Association, Greece; Spotted Pony Press, USA; Sev Shoon Arts Center, USA; Graphic Studio Dublin, Ireland;  Hot Bed Press, UK;  Blackwatch Graphics, USA; Lancaster Print Studios, UK; and Pomegranate Editions, Spain. Where would we be without you?!

Written by Michael Booth

April 11, 2009 at 2:05 pm

One Response

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  1. Tolles Thema. Bin zwar nicht ganz deiner Meinung, aber das ist ja auch kein Diskussionsforum hier. Bleibt am Ball.

    Neva Dilley

    January 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm

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