Print Studio Proposal v2
This proposal was posted on Tuesday September 30. You can compare it to the earlier September 10 proposal here.
Proposal to split Timeless, Infinite Light into two collectives (Small press + Community print studio)
Timeless, Infinite Light’s original proposal to Omni was twofold: an office space for our poetry press, and a separate space to operate a community print studio. We began paying $1,000 a month on October 1st, when the upstairs space became available. Since being in the Omni building we’ve been moving equipment into the basement and setting up a community print studio. Our intention for the Print Studio is to create a community resource with open hours, as well as free trainings, workshops, and events.
So far all this work has all been done under Timeless, Infinite Light as it was originally proposed. As there are currently ten core members (representing six presses) involved in creating the Community Print Studio, we decided it would make more sense to have this group be its own collective, rather than to have it operate under the umbrella of Timeless, Infinite Light.
In this proposal, Timeless, Infinite Light would pay $400/mo (+ utilities, taxes, insurance) for Bedroom A upstairs, and the Community Print Studio would pay $600/mo (+ utilities, taxes, insurance) for the space in the basement between the Library Wall and Sudo Room. (See attached: Print Studio Plan, Version 1)
Splitting this group into two member collectives will lower the costs of insurance/taxes/utilities across all Omni collectives, and bring fresh energy and more people to Omni.
Community Print Studio
We are starting a Community Print Studio at Omni! We are a collective of people dedicated to the art of print and publishing who have come together to share skills, knowledge, and resources. Our goal is to create an accessible space that fosters radical creative engagement and collaboration between a variety of micro-communities. The Print Studio will host weekly open hours, as well as free events, workshops, and trainings in order to expand letterpress and offset printing as a powerful way to communicate and share ideas.
We invite collaboration with anyone interested: small presses, artists, writers, activists, and community members. We also imagine working alongside Omni collectives on projects such as playbills, books for reading groups and classes, promotional materials for collectives and events, and editions of 100 artist books or poetry chapbooks.
We currently have a core of 10 collective members.
We have begun setting up the main production center of the Community Print Studio in the Omni basement, and as will need to set up a few more worktables for bindery operations, we would like to articulate the space between the library wall and the wall of Sudo Room as dedicated Community Print Studio and Bindery space. (See attached: Print Studio Plan Version 1)
We are willing to adapt to the changing conditions and needs of other collectives as these arise and as long as our basic needs are met, bearing in mind that our equipment is difficult (but possible) to move, and it should not be moved repeatedly, or casually.
As we intend to make this space available to the public at large, we will also need to purchase a large cabinet (or possibly use the cabinet where the law books were) and a few lockers to house our more sensitive equipment and to store materials and printed matter, these will be located within the Studio space.
We are committed to using eco-friendly cleaning solutions during clean-up. Regular operation of the equipment will not require the ventilation system to be turned on, as no chemicals are used in the printing process. Clean-up typically takes 20 minutes
We’ve been working with HVAC to set up ventilation. Our current location was chosen specifically for it’s close proximity to an exhaust fan.
In order to allow the basement to remain multi-use, we would schedule use for the louder equipment in the same way that public school would schedule a class. We will also encourage members to print after-hours to help minimize scheduling overlap.
Here’s an example of what it sounds like to operate a letterpress: https://vimeo.com/46010095#at=20
Here is a wiki page detailing the space needs and functions of the equipment we currently have: http://wiki.omni-oakland.org/w/Print_Studio
Committed individuals can become members of the collective by actively contributing to group meetings and decision-making, maintaining the studio, writing grants, and/or paying dues.
GROUP FINANCES AND PAYING RENT
$600/mo + utilities + insurance + taxes (for now) In order to get started, we will pay our rent each month by taking dues from collective members.
Open Hours (day/time TBD-- ideally we’d be able to offer two or three days a week) will be staffed by a volunteer from the collective, who can provide free equipment training to anyone interested; having a highly trained volunteer during open hours is necessary both for education, and for the safety of the public and the equipment. Once proficient on a piece of equipment, an individual can come in during our Open Hours to use that machine.
All work tables, workshops, trainings and events will be free and open to the public.
Work tables in the bindery area of the print studio will be available for free to anyone at any time for their projects.
We will begin by training our core members to teach general proficiency to new members and other interested people. We will then offer free proficiency trainings on the equipment to the public.
We will also begin hosting free public workshops once a month. We are committed to being more open and more accessible as our capacity increases. We will work with local publishers, writers, printers, and book artists to host one free public workshop every month for a year. We have applied for a grant to enable us to provide each guest facilitator with an $50 stipend and $30 for materials.
Our long term vision includes hosting salons, artist talks, interdisciplinary performances, reading series’, and participatory printing events.
In addition to printing workshops and publishing, we plan on using a window between the TIL office and the upstairs common space to display artists’ work. This would allow the work to be on view whenever the Omni is open.
Print Studio plan:
Matt Senate had some questions about the proposal, and the Print Studio folks send these answers in response.
How does this project serve the community? What will it contribute to the commons?
Our intention in establishing this printshop is to enable greater social access to printing equipment that is often prohibitively expensive to acquire. We strive to open up these machines, and the skills to use them, to the community at large. Besides greater access, our printshop will bring a number of benefits to the Omni and to the community at large. Free training on this equipment and access to the shop will support Omni collectives by creating printed matter that they might need (pamphlets, posters, etc.) We are also willing to help create things for the OMNI as a whole, or collaborating with individual collectives on more complicated projects. This could look like:
- a great looking pamphlet that would describe the Omni mission, for curious visitors, potential collectives and the world at large
- small or large runs of perfect-bound books of readings for a conference
- readers for a reading group or class
- letter-pressed menus for a banquet of collectives
- playbills for shows
What is your decision making structure? Who would be your delegate?
Our group makes decisions through a combination of do-ocracy and consensus. We rely on formal consensus decision-making for more permanent or important decisions. Ian will be the delegate initially, and we plan on rotating delegates monthly.
What is the project's email address?
It is tentatively firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your solutions to Noise? Smell/Ventilation?
The noise is pretty minimal, to be honest, more like a subtle background drone, like a fan or something. Ventillation is only needed during cleanup (for 10-30 minutes at the end of a print run) , and we are planning on using a solvent-free, eco-friendly, cleaning system (alcohol, simple green, and diluted dish soap as opposed to harsh printing solvents, this is maybe meaningless to non-printers). This should minimize the immediate smell and ventilation issue.
The loudest piece of equipment is also the one that will probably be used the least often, the Offset press. This press will take the longest to get ready to use, and as it is the most complicated press to run, will require more training than the other presses. Therefore will get less use than the other presses (probably no more than one or two times per month, eventually). The other presses are very accessible, and anyone should be able to use them after 1-3 trainings. As a collective, we have discussed possible solutions for how to balance the Offset press’ sound with the needs of the basement commons, one solution being that time on the Offset press would be scheduled, similar to a Public School class or Ballroom event.
Additionally, Emji has been working on figuring out the ventilation situation with HVAC people. Although we want to have as green a studio as possible, we still need to have a working ventilation fan. Emji has a floorplan for the whole building and they’re in the process of mapping out where the vents are and what needs to be done, both for the print studio and the Omni as a whole. This is something that needs to happen in the building for a number of reasons, and will benefit other collectives as well.
Open Days - Will the print studio was open to anyone who has been trained on the equipment as long as a collective member is present? (not just during the "open hours")
We will set up a system where people who have been trained on the various pieces of equipment will be able to use those machines, even outside of open hours, as long as a collective member is present (which will be frequently!). Ian runs the shop access program at The Crucible, an industrial arts warehouse, and can help model the community print shop access off this.