BC’s printmaking classes: Learn printmaking skills and techniques

This winter quarter, the Bellevue College art department will provide two printmaking classes, beginning printmaking and printmaking II.  Printmaking classes have been available at BC for almost four years now; the first year was solely focused on hand printing while the two following years expanded to printmaking with a press.

The end of this quarter will see an even newer press that will become a permanent fixture in one of the art classrooms.

Linda Thomas, BC art instructor, is currently the only printmaking teacher. She is responsible for the development and creation of the program as well as the new press. After winning the Lockwood Faculty Excellence Award the previous year, Thomas used the grant she received in addition to various other funds. Although the school currently has two different kinds of printing presses, the newer press will provide a different technique to be learned by students. This equipment allows students to acquire versatility in their printmaking skills.

As for the class, the students learn and apply different printmaking techniques  whether with the printing press or by hand. Students gain experience carving from linoleum blocks as well as copper and zinc. Some projects that students partake in include “the exquisite corpse … they work … as a team and they don’t know what the other is doing … one person does the head, one person does the torso and one person does the feet … at the end they make a poster using one of their prints and it can have some sort of [message].”

The class is almost three hours long and offers students the opportunity to learn and practice various techniques using many different kinds of tools. The class also incorporates many different artistic skills such as designing and drawing. This approach provides students with the opportunity to build upon existing skills as well as develop new skills.

“It’s fun,” explained Thomas about why students should take the class. “It’s creative actually, I mean this is very technique-based. Students have to learn a lot of skills; how to use the press, how to cut and how to use the tools but still they get to create stuff. In a lot of classes it’s much more dictated as to what they get to create. They’re learning really specific skills. It’s [also] a 200 level class which is good.”

Despite the artistic focus, Thomas encourages anyone to take the class. “It’s great if they’ve had a little drawing, it’s great if they’ve had a little design, but there aren’t essentially [anyprerequisites].” However, the beginning printmaking class serves as the prerequisite for printmaking II. Both classes can currently be registered for online.