Getting creative with a pop-up printmaking studio
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Feb 07, 2017 | 13630 views | 0 0 comments | 440 440 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While studying architecture in college, Frank Kiernan also found an interest in printmaking. Since then, he’s always had the goal to run his own printmaking studio. Now, he wants to establish a printmaking studio for children.

Starting in March, there will be a pop-up Art Studio and Printmaking Workshop for Kids within The Shops at Atlas Park. Children will learn how to create large-scale collaborative works of art and navigate independent printmaking projects using a variety of media.

Previously, Kiernan ran a design studio for more than a decade. But when the 2008 financial crisis hit, he quit his studio and partnered with a commercial printer in Long Island City. A year-and-a-half ago, he created the company Little Pulp, which sells personalized print materials such as the highly-popular personalized sketchbooks for kids.

With the rapid growth of the new company, the facility had to move to upstate New York, but Kiernan worked remotely in Queens for most days of the week. As Kiernan experienced a case of “cabin fever,” he stumbled upon the idea for a printmaking studio for kids.

“Printmaking is an artform that involves patience throughout the process,” Kiernan said. “Today, there’s so much instant gratification, with things like the iPad.”

“The printmaking process includes taking a sketchbook and sketching ideas, coming up with a concept and look at how you can improve it,” he added. “At the end of the day, you can print an edition print so you have an idea of what you want and go from there.”

While his original idea was to open a printmaking studio, the idea expanded into a large-scale collaborative workspace after Little Pulp secured a 4,000 sq. ft. space at The Shops at Atlas Park. With large-scale pieces reflected in different shapes and medium to utilize the area, the Little Pulp space will mirror a loft art studio.

During the weekend of March 3-5, Little Pulp will host a Printmaking & Collaborative Art Workshop open house for kids of all ages.

There will be a timed session, two to three hours long, where Kiernan will work with the children to develop concepts to create a themed piece that they will all contribute to. The piece will be on view for the rest of the month. At the end of the month, the piece could possibly be auctioned off with proceeds going towards a local children’s hospital.

At the workshop, Kiernan will also teach the techniques of printmaking.

“Printmaking is a lot like painting but it’s also a lot like sketching,” Kiernan said. “You can sketch an idea and transfer it onto a plate and work on that and print from there.”

The artform involves painting artwork on a plate using ink, texture and surface. One then rolls it onto a press to make the print. Little Pulp will have drying racks and frames available. For all of the projects, the business will only use kid-safe ink that is water and soy based.

While working on the concepts of using a roller and using pressure, the kids will be able to use a unique set of tools to create texture and form, Kiernan said. Typically, professional printmaking rollers wrapped in leather or rubber are rather costly. So, he will create rollers out of PVC pipe and brown paper tubes as well as a brush made out of a thousand toothpicks.

After the first weekend, Kiernan will determine how to shape workshops going forward. During the week, while older kids are in school, younger kids and toddlers will be sessions for age-specific groups with guardians.

On the weekends, the program will be targeted to children aged 18 months and up.

“This is a testing ground for what I want to do, which is to open a permanent printmaking studio,” Kiernan said.

Inspired by local arts and crafts businesses such as Oliloli Arts and Crafts Studio in Forest Hills and The Potter’s Wheel in Kew Gardens, he wants to continue to host workshops. His goal is to shift into a studio space where he’ll have a print shop and office. At the end of the pop-up, Kiernan might transition into a smaller space located within The Shops at Atlas Park.

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