So you want a printmaking studio, but don’t have the £thousands it will cost to set up? Please don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be expensive! My studio has taken a couple of years to get to where it is now, but I have some super useful tips that may help you!
When I first started printmaking, I used the kitchen table. This is absolutely fine if you’re happy to do LOTS of cleaning and sanitising. All you will need is your tools (see previous Blog Post on Learning to Linocut) and paper. The bugbear with this one is where to put your prints to dry – but I have an answer!
Grab yourself a clothes airer and some pegs! You can fold it up when it’s not in use and it’s super easy to store. Just be careful to ensure your pegs don’t damage your paper.
If you have the space for a studio, where do you start with furnishing it on a budget?
The most important purchase you’ll make is your work surface. Without it, you have no way of creating. You need a surface that you can easily wipe clean – something wooden with crevices is no good as ink will sit in them and then bite you when you least expect it. I bought 2 trestle stands from IKEA and a cheap, white table top to put my press on.
Search marketplace on Facebook too as you’ll see loads of desks etc for sale. Don’t buy new if you don’t have to. There’s no point, even if you can afford it. I only bought one as there was nothing available after weeks of searching – just my luck!
I also made a clean desk by buying a tabletop from the discount area of IKEA and placing it on two cube units which we already had. These then double up as storage. Again these are available from loads of shops and you can find them readily on Marketplace or eBay.
It’s important to have 2 desks if you can – a messy one and a clean one, otherwise you’ll find yourself cleaning constantly. Which is distracting.
So what’s next? A seat. I’ll be honest, I don’t spend an awful lot of time sitting down. But it’s important for when you’re drawing, researching or having a cup of tea! A stool always seems like a good idea, but I’d suggest one that adjusts in height so you avoid hunching over. I got a great little one from Marketplace for a few £ and local collection.
As you’ve probably read, I don’t have a full sized press as I couldn’t afford one. For a studio on a budget, try a Cold Press Laminator! You can get them in a range of sizes to suit your space, but at £100 for a huge 750mm unity you really can’t argue.
Let me make this clear: YOU DON’T NEED A SINK. This is one of the things that puts people off having a home studio. Please don’t panic about getting a plumber in yet. If you’re using oil based inks, use a spray bottle of vegetable oil, some paper towels and an old bath towel. If you’re using water based inks, the same applies but use a spray bottle of water.
Tool storage? Why pay out for a purpose made block when you can find a child’s toy on marketplace and use that instead!
I use plant pots from charity shops to store my pens and pencils and I have my paper in an old chest of drawers!
There really is no reason to spend a fortune. That way you have more money for ink, paper and linoleum!
So please don’t be scared of making yourself a dedicated space. It gives you so much reward.