Back to Top

The Personal is the Pattern is the Political: Repeat Pattern Printing at Women’s Studio Workshop

January 17, 2020

In November-December 2019 I was fortunate to spend time at Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY, for a studio residency to focus on repeat pattern printing on fabric. I had been interested in this process for a long time, and had taken a workshop at the Braddock Neighborhood Print Shop and dabbled a bit with a makeshift setup. I have gotten deeper into sewing, constructing banners, creating a sewing program for adult language learners as part of my residency with Literacy Pittsburgh last year, and even starting to sew some clothing. I have a dream of sewing clothing out of fabric that I designed and screenprinted myself, on a larger scale, as an art and life practice. Here was an opportunity to really go deep and hone this process, in a supportive communal studio environment of other women and nonbinary artists. Women’s Studio Workshop is a pretty unique and amazing place, with a 40+ year history of supporting women artists, with a focus on printmaking. I had known about it since my undergrad days, and finally applied for a residency in early 2018.

yardage printing team
I pull you push
Possibility…using a graphic designed by Jusdtseeds member Shaun Slifer
the screen

I learned how to set up a repeat pattern to print on their 16 foot table, using 30 x 40″ screens, so large that it is impossible to pull the squeegee alone, so you are always printing with a team (shoutout to Lorraine Cruz and Aurora Brush, my amazing intern print team). I created substrates from ink drawings that I scanned and laid out, and also from rubylith, a material that entails working to size, with a lot of cutting and peeling. I focused on intersecting themes of queer ecology, feminism, and individual agency and collective ethos. In the end I created not only many bolts of five distinct patterns, but I also made an editioned artist book of swatches, Exuberant Resilience, that will be available for purchase through Booklyn.

new book!
Biological Exuberance: Birds closeup
Biological Exuberance: Birds. Long shot

I had such a wonderful time in this studio environment, with the other artists, interns, tech support, daily potlucks, and the rail trail right outside the front door, where I spent many hours wandering the strange and beautiful region of the Catskills.

An exciting PS is that I was invited back to WSW to teach a Summer Institute week-long course on repeat pattern printing this July! More info and registration here. Come print with me! If this residency sounds dreamy to you, you can apply for a studio residency here. They just announced a new round of residency opportunities, and it is now free to participate in one. I cannot recommend it enough.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posts by Mary Tremonte

FedUp! Benefit with RMO

FedUp! Benefit with RMO

August 20, 2008

RMO is coming to Pittsburgh! The Rude Mechanical Orchestra is a 30-odd-piece New York City radical marching band and dance troupe and will be augmented by Pittsburgh’s own Break Away…