A few hours from Buffalo down the shoreline of Lake Erie lies Cleveland, OH, another rust belt city with a long legacy of manufacturing and printing, and the eventual decline of both. Home to the Chandler & Price company (1881-1964), manufacturers of the infamously dangerous open platen press (as well as paper cutters, book presses, and other printing equipment), Cleveland played a pivotal role in the world of letterpress – and thanks to Zygote Press, artists today still have access to printing equipment in a shared studio space. I visited Zygote from December 21st-23rd, 2014.
The studio features a number of different etching presses, two Vandercook proofing presses, a full screen printing studio, and even a digital printing lab. The letterpress studio features thousands of cuts and ornaments (including an amazing copper cut of the original Chandler & Price factory), as well as a sizable collection of wood and metal type. Full shop access is granted to members for a reasonable fee.
Zygote Press was founded in 1996; in 2006 it moved from its original home in the Saint Clair-Superior neighborhood to its current location on East 30th St. Since its inception, it has been growing and changing, doing more and more to accommodate artists of all stripes, but in 2011 they developed ZPASS – Zygote Press Artists Share Space – a 1,500 square foot loft apartment 1 floor above the printmaking studio meant to house visiting artists, artists-in-residence, and other guests. Staying at ZPASS while I worked at Zygote was probably one of the coolest parts of the trip – being able to walk down the stairs 24 hours a day and print. Most recently, they’ve been developing a plan for what they call the Ink House – a satellite location where they’ll host more visiting artists. I’ll be headed back there in the Fall!
I want to extend thanks to everyone who made this test-run possible: Liz, Elizabeth, Wendy, Lindsay, and my outstanding roommate, Jacob Lang, who makes amazing work that you should check out on Instagram.