For many, summertime means relaxation, unwinding and finally having time to try a new hobby or two. If this sounds like you, consider joining Make.Shift Art Space’s screenprinting classes.
This two-day series occurs on Saturday, June 24 and Saturday, July 2 from 1 to 3 p.m. Attendance in both classes is not required but participants will have the chance to further the techniques learned during the first class in the second. One session is $15, and going to both will cost $25. A sliding scale is offered to those who need assistance with fees.
The class is being taught by Sarah Kindl, a board member at Make.Shift. She started printmaking while at Whatcom Community College then finished her academics at Western Washington University. She received a bachelor’s degree in fine art with an emphasis in printing and mixed media installation in 2020.
Since 2019, her work has consisted predominantly of screenprinting and she has a screenprinting machine in her house.
“I have wanted to teach a screenprinting workshop since becoming involved with the board of directors in January 2022,” Kindl said. “After figuring out how to screenprint at home, I felt it would be valuable to share that experience with others who might not have access to professional materials.”
Screenprinting is a process of printmaking where ink is pushed through a tight mesh screen. Some areas of the screen are impermeable to the ink, and this helps create different designs.
The class was an organized effort between Kindl and Beth Girma, the education director at Make.Shift.
Funding for art and music programs has been greatly reduced in the Bellingham School District, so educational programs like the screenprinting class are a way to navigate these changes, Girma said.
“Attending our workshops is a great way to tap into different art styles, connect with artists in the Bellingham community and get involved in different events in a low-barrier way,” Girma said. “I think our workshops would be a wonderful way for students coming to Western and students already in Bellingham to get involved in the local arts scene and build community through that.”
At Western, there is a printmaking emphasis within the fine arts major. Lisa Turner is an associate professor within the department and one of the classes she teaches is ART 355, or screenprinting.
Turner says that there are several reasons that a screenprinting workshop outside of an academic environment would be useful for someone. Not only is it a low-stakes technique to try, but it’s at an affordable price in a non-intimidating environment.
Kindl was a previous student of Turner, and so is Priya Shalauta, a fourth-year student at Western. Shalauta is graduating this June with a bachelor’s in studio art and a concentration in printmaking.
Her experience as a printmaker includes taking classes and being a teaching assistant in multiple classes, including ART 350 – Printmaking 1 – where she taught students how to screenprint. She has also displayed her screenprinted projects in the senior art galleries at Western and worked at Blue Collar Print Shop for the past three years.
Shalauta says that the benefit of taking screenprint classes is sharing the knowledge about the art form.
“A lot of people generally know what [screenprinting] is, but not necessarily how much work goes into it,” Shalauta said.
Shalauta also notes that a benefit to screenprinting specifically compared to other printmaking methods is the quicker production rate and the ability to get multiple prints in different color schemes easily.
Whether you’re totally new to printmaking and want to try something new or you want supplemental education to your artistic endeavors, the screenprinting workshop at Make.Shift is a great way to fulfill either of those desires. An added bonus is being able to wear something that you made yourself.
“Having community art classes is extremely important for making art accessible,” Turner said. “The class offers an opportunity to learn new skills in a supportive environment. … Not only do you meet new people, you are supporting the artist/educator and the local arts center, Make.Shift.”
Aislinn Jones (she/her) is a city life reporter for The Front. She is a junior majoring in visual journalism with a concentration in art history, so her work often reflects her interest in art and/or music events. Outside of the newsroom, you can find her taking photos on her film camera or hammocking in the sun. You can reach her at email@example.com.