Thursday, December 10, 2009

Printmaking Supply Resource Guide, New York City (and beyond)

A frequent question we get from artists, class students, and the general public is where to source printmaking materials and services. While we hope this guide will help those in the New York area, please feel free to let us know your recommendations and who your favorite suppliers are.

General art supplies
New York Central Art Supply is the best source for paper, and where we buy almost all the paper for our prints. The paper department is located on the second floor. The store carries general art supplies and a lot of specialty items--if you don't see it, ask, and chances are they have it hidden away. Printmaking supplies are in the basement and there are lots of silkscreen and etching inks, modifiers, tools, and some plates as well. The Printshop buys the bulk of  all our materials from New York Central. 

Utrecht and Pearl Paint are also general art supply stores that carry some printmaking supplies. They are good in a pinch, but in general do not have the best selection. 

Guerra Paint and Pigment is the place we go to for pigments, dispersion, glitters, interference, and metallic powders. 

Also, your local hardware store can be your best friend for all manner of materials: cheesecloth, gloves, plate polish, solvents, etc.  

Specialty Printmaking Supplies
Renaissance Graphics is where we get almost all of our supplies for projects and classes. They specialize in printmaking supplies and equipment for intaglio, screenprinting, and lithography. We recommend them for small orders of ferric chloride (acid for the etchers), as well as silkscreen photo emulsion,  felt blankets, etching grounds, and tools. Another similarly comprehensive source is Graphic Chemical and Ink. 

Rostow and Jung are the makers of Akua Kolor and Intaglio waterbased inks, which we use predominantly for our non-toxic classes, especially monotype.

Hiromi Paper is an importer of Japanese paper located in California. They work directly with papermills in Japan, so if the type of paper you want exists then they most likely will carry it. McClain's, located in Oregon, is mail-order only and is our source for everything related to relief printing and moku hanga, or Japanese waterbased woodblock. 

Victory Factory is where we buy most of our screens, but they also sell all of the chemicals and tools needed for screenprinting. We find that they have the best prices for screens, but you definitely need to plan ahead as they're mail order only.

Standard Screen Supply is the only retail store in the city we know of that is devoted to carrying everything you need relating to screenprinting. We recommend them for screen restretching, squeegees, and scoop coaters, but they also sell all kinds of emulsion, and inks, and screens.

Just to toot our own horn, the Lower East Side Printshop makes transparency films and shoots screens at a flat rate of $50 each. We can turn screens around in a day to two and we'll even print for you for an additional cost.  Contact us to learn more.

For inks, we use TW Graphics 5000 and 5500 series, which is waterbased screenprinting ink. THe ink is generally sold in pints and gallons. You can find them at New York Central and other supply stores or you can also order from them directly. We recommend Speedball Acrylic screenprinting inks for beginners, which are easily and readily available from Renaissance. 

Copper plates can be bought from CG Metals or Polished Metals, both of which are recommended for larger plate orders. Shipping can add a considerable amount to the cost, so if you do order from them make it worth your while and order at least a full sheet or more. CG can cut the plates down for you as well. Dave, our UPS man, has a special gleam in his eyes on the days when he delivers our copper order.

We recommend ordering from Renaissance for smaller plate orders or for when you don't feel like dropping a couple hundred on a large amount of copper.

Steelfacing for copper plates is available from the Printshop as a contract printing service, and helps maintain the integrity of plates that need editioning or have delicate platework. The maximum plate size is up to 24" x 36" and the rate is $0.25 per square inch ($25 minimum charge). 

Photopolymer plates (aka solar plates) can be bought from Boxcar Press or Hampton Editions. Hampton Editions also sells halftone/aquatint screens, and if you are short of time Boxcar will be happy to make custom plates as well.

Prefer continuous tone photographic etchings? We recommend Lothar Osterburg Studio, an artist and printer whose studio is in Brooklyn.

Digital Printing
The Printshop offers professional archival inkjet printing from our Epson Stylus Pro 7800, typically $50 per print. The maximum width we print is 24" and the length for continuous images is unlimited. Digital prints are available using a range of papers, and can be combined with many printmaking techniques. 

If you need a wider or larger print, we recommend Ribouli Digital (formerly Pamplemousse Press) or Laumont, both in New York City.

Printing Presses
For maintaining, moving, or purchasing pre-owned etching, lithography, and letter presses Perry Tymeson of Suitcase Press, NJ is an excellent resource. He also gives workshops on press care and maintenance at Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop.

Some sources for new printing presses include Takach, Conrad, and Griffin, as well as AWT for screenprinting vacuum tables. 

T-shirt printing is something we get many inquiries about. While we don't print t-shirts ourselves, we do recommend Kayrock Screenprinting in Brooklyn.

Interested in bookbinding or letterpress? The best place is the Center for Book Arts, which has an open workshop, bindery, letterpress studio, and classes. Talas, now located in Brooklyn, operates a retail and online store selling everything needed for bookbinders and conservators, and also offers archival storage and presentation boxes for artwork.

1 comment:

  1. Perry, I was just referred to you from a member of the Briar Press blog - I bought a new Charles Brand table top press in NYC in 1974 and it has been a long while since I have used it - do you have any access to a guidebook/instructions? I plan to use it soon again - Many thanks, Bonnie