Athenaeum School of the Arts Print Studio 


The Athenaeum School of the Arts PRINT STUDIO began with the generous donation of equipment by Dr. Edwin Petko of Los Angeles. Dr. Petko wanted to move his extensive collection of presses to institutions that would continue using them to teach printmaking and letterpress to future generations. His timing was perfect, as the Athenaeum had just secured space in the Bread & Salt building for the new downtown branch of the School of the Arts, with space specially designated for a print studio. The Athenaeum School of the Arts Print Studio offers classes in intaglio, linocut, woodcut, letterpress, and monoprinting, and book arts. In addition, Bay Park Press donated more type and equipment, and the PRINT STUDIO now has the capability to produce everything that is described below under Printing Techniques. CLICK HERE to see our calendar of current Print Studio classes.




Columbian Seggi Edinburg hand Iron press-1860

Imperial hand iron press-1850

Asbern letterpress-1964

Asbern letterpress-1965

Ettan etching press

Griffin etching press

Book press

Vandercook proof press




re·lief print·ing  This technique utilizes a cut or carved form, made from rigid material. The print is made by inking the areas that remain in relief and improving the image onto another surface. The image can also be transferred by rubbing.


wood·cut The woodcut and wood engraving together are referred to as the art of xylography. A wood engraving is done on hardwood, cut endgrain, and laminated to create a larger block. A woodcut is done on soft wood cut parallel to the grain of wood. The image is made on one or more blocks of wood with the areas not to be printed cut away with a knife or gouge. The areas in relief are inked and printed by running the block and paper through a press or by rubbing. Multicolored prints are usually made by using several blocks.



Linoleum is cut or gouged with tools and the areas in relief inked and printed in the same manner as the woodcut.


col·la·graph The printing image is a collage of diverse materials that are inked and printed as a relief.


in·ta·glio This process uses a manually incised or chemically created image on sheet metal, usually copper or zinc. The print is made by rubbing ink into the incised or recessed areas below the plate’s surface and wiping away the ink remaining on the surface with a tarlatan (stiff cloth used for wiping). The image is then impressed onto a dampened sheet of paper, usually under high pressure. In this way the ink is pulled from the grooves or etched surfaces. The metal plate usually leaves a plate mark.


en·grav·ing The image is created by using an angular cutting tool called a burin to cut out a V-shaped groove. The line has a clean edge when printed.


dry point The image is created by a metal or gemstone pointed tool that creates a groove surrounded by the displaced bits of metal, thus creating a fuzzy line when inked and printed.


mez·zo·tint The image is textured by the use of tools called rockers or roulettes that pit and raise areas capable of holding ink. When printed, these areas result in various tonalities with velvety texture.Lighter areas can be created by smoothing the pitted surfaces.


etch·ing A copper, zinc, or brass plate is covered by an acid-resistant ground, either hard or soft, and drawn into with an etching needle. The plate is then submerged in acid bath solutions called mordants. The exposed areas of metal are eaten away by the acid. The depth of the bite is dependent on the strength of the solution, the temperature, and the time the plate is exposed to the mordant. Selected areas can be further etched to create deeper bites and hence darker tones.


aq·ua·tint The plate is dusted with particles of resin and heated to cause the resin to meld to the plate. When the plate is immersed in the acid, the areas not covered by the rosin are eaten away resulting in a textured area capable of holding ink. Progressive treatments with resin result in differences in tonality when printed.


lift·ground, sug·ar·lift A water-soluble pen or brush drawing is made on a plate with a sugar solution. Diluted liquid ground is poured over the surface to stomp out the undesired areas. The metal plate is held under a stream of running water so the sugar solution is lifted away revealing the positive image desired. The plate is submerged in acid, inked, and printed like an etching.


mon·o·print, mon·o·type A single print made by transferring a “painted” image from a smooth surface such as glass, plexiglass, or metal by rubbing or using a printing press. Technically, a monoprint is a print pulled in an edition of one.