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Touring America’s print studios

Touring America’s print studios

Printmaking technician and owner of Print to The People, Jo Stafford headed to the USA to further her practice and learn more about the recent print resurgence. Jo took part in an internship at the renowned Hatch Show Print and toured print making facilities across The States.

Read this blog on Jo’s trip.

Jo Stafford holding letter press
Jo Stafford

"I find with how my creative practice operates, it is more about amalgamating experiences and lessons into my everyday work - whether it is at Print To The People or NUA and growing that way."

Jo Stafford

Expanding my knowledge

Back in 2009, as a recent graduate working towards setting up my own print studio (Print To The People), I was always looking to American studios and designers to see how it was done. Those studios and designers seemed to be at the forefront of the Print resurgence and were much more visible in the days before everybody had an Instagram account.

As my career as a Printmaker grew, so did the worldwide Print community and so did my desire to visit some of the studios and designers that I had been following for years. Everything fell into place in order to make the trip possible at the beginning of 2018, with the Print To The People in a steady enough position for me to take a 3 month sabbatical to make the trip possible.

The trip to the USA

I wanted to visit a variety of printmaking studios and creative enterprises from community studios, commercial printshops, educational facilities to shops and galleries. In total, I managed to visit 15 places in each city!

In Portland my highlight would be visiting Egg Press which is a Letterpress Card Printing Company which had 10 presses operating non-stop daily to keep up with demand all operated by recent print graduates. It was just really interesting to see hear about how they had grown and made a thriving business out of this supposedly once redundant process!

Another highlight would be Scout Books a custom notebook company and one of the few B Corp Certified Businesses in the US (like fair trade label for Coffee but for business). It was great to find out more about their ethical ethos and how they want to use their business for good.

I also got a chance to visit PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art) whilst in Portland and I got shown around their Printmaking facilities!

In Nashville my highlights include Elephant Gallery which is a brilliantly quirky gallery that hosts shows from artists across the country on different themes and subject matters.

The people running it were really passionate and you could tell they put a lot of thought into curating each show. Another one is Isle Of Printing, which was a Willy Wonka style factory for all things print. The projects they work on were so creative, using print in ingenious ways and looking at involving the public at every stage.

Jo Stafford

What I learnt

It was such an incredible trip, it is really hard to nail it down to one specific thing. But I find with how my creative practice operates, it is more about amalgamating experiences and lessons into my everyday work – whether it is at Print To The People or NUA and growing that way.

That said I have plans in the pipelines to look at having a Print Festival in Norwich and trying to arrange for some of the people I met in the US to come over and talk or teach workshops so watch this space….!