Help Starting a Print Collaborative for Madison, WI?

Since moving to Madison I’ve noticed there aren’t really any people/organizations/etc that offer public printing studios or arrangements for artists to attain access to printing studios. Coming from Chicago, we have both independent local printing collaboratives (No-Coast, you pay a minimal fee for access to equipment and host 24hr printing nights or Spudnik Press) as well as institutions like the Center for Book and Paper Arts (which after taking a class, you can volunteer or pay for studio time) or Chicago Printmakers Collaborative (members pay a monthly fee, get access to a range of fine art processes from lithography to etching). The list really goes on. And I recognize it is a larger city with a larger concentration of artists but I really believe this sort of thing should be available in some form, in most cities, especially one housing an astute university such as UW.

As of late my desire for access to work on my prints has driven me to think that perhaps I could get the ball rolling on the idea of creating such a space in Madison. However I completely aloof to the bureaucracy and procedure that one has to go through to start such a thing. I’m writing to people on Briar Press in hopes for help or any tips in starting your own shop (first steps, grants, etc?) or if anyone would even be interested in helping me? Obviously these things are not started over night, and I’ll admit it’s a bit scary to even be thinking of such a venture, but I really believe Madison deserves a print collaborative as not everyone can afford rent and their own private studio or wants to live in Chicago forever (love to Chicago though!)

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Hi there!

What do you think about having a public meeting and inviting local printers to come and brainstorm about a co-op? I could get a room at the Union, and know of some people who might be interested. (I could give you some background on various ventures that have come and gone.They were good places, and we’re certainly ripe for another.) Write or call me.

Best wishes,

Tracy (Honn) @ work 263-4929
or cell 608.770.8540

That, is a great idea.


I was going to recommend that you contact Tracy. She was the first Madison person I spoke with regarding local letterpress. I’d be interested in working with a Madison group and have some time to help with organizing.

This is a great idea! Have any other conversations or developments happened since February?

i just recently moved here from san francisco and was delighted to see this post! i use letterpress printing for lots of my work, have not studied this technique yet myself, but would love to learn! i would totally be down with helping in the makings of a coop, and am eager to hear more… anyone still out there??
oh, and have you seen the work at ‘studio on fire’, wow!!!

We’ve started some groundwork. It’s slow going, but we’re making headway.

If anyone would like to participate, we have a google group set up for our meetings. Our next meeting will be in September.

If anyone has sage advise for a new group, please share!

We’ve got lots of letterpress in Dubuque, a few miles down 151! Come & visit!

Good luck with the co-op, seem like something Madison would have had long ago ;-)


It is odd that there isn’t more there. Steve Miller, Professor of book arts at University of Alabama started out there in Madison before moving to NYC and later to Birmingham. UA’s book arts program puts out a rather excellent podcast where they interview famous printers and other book artists. You can subscribe via iTunes. Did you check with the university (UW) there to see if they’re aware of or provide resources?