I first heard about Zygote Press last year during a book making class at The Cleveland Museum of Art and I've wanted to go ever since. Since 1995, Zygote Press has operated as a fine art printmaking studio on East 30th Street in Cleveland. They offer a variety of classes for artists from children to adults and when I read about Saturday's "Mommy and Me Monoprinting" class taught by Liz Maugans I knew Little Tiger and I had to check it out.
Liz began class by introducing us to the equipment and taking us step-by-step through a sample print. She made Little Tiger feel right at home by greeting her by name the minute we walked in the door and stacking pallets on the floor to make sure she was able to reach her work station. Little Tiger hung on Liz's every word and couldn't wait to get started.
The first thing Little Tiger wanted to do was mix some purple paint. I could tell using the rollers required more muscle power than she anticipated, but she was intrepid. Once she created the perfect shade of "light purple," we went over to a table where Liz had an extensive collection of elements to add texture and visual interest to our prints. Little Tiger selected a piece of butterfly paper and we were off to the press.
I was prepared to turn the ENORMOUS wheel on the press for all of Little Tiger's prints, but she wanted to do it herself. I could tell it was hard work for her, but she was determined and was extra proud of her work as a result.
Here's her first print, titled "Peace."
Pleased with her print and the purple paint, Little Tiger wanted to mix more colors for her next print. After mixing sky blue, pink and green, she found a flower stencil and printed "The Colorful Flower."
In her sample print, Liz showed us how natural elements could be incorporated into our prints by including a leaf on her plate. Little Tiger was really taken with how the press pushed some color out of the leaf and left a light green mark on the paper. She wanted to try this herself, so we went outside and picked some weeds from the edge of the parking lot by the studio.
Little Tiger uncovered her print and was pleased to see that, like Liz, her plant left a green mark on the paper. This detail inspired the title of this print called "The Green Plant."
We had time for one more print and Little Tiger and I were both curious to see what sending bubble wrap through the press would be like. On our first attempt, we set our plate up backward, but Liz helped us turn our disappointing results into something really cool by suggesting Little Tiger re-ink the flower stencil she was using with the bubble wrap and send it through again. This print ended up being my favorite for the end result as well as the cool noise the bubble wrap made as it went through the press.
Before helping Little Tiger put her work into a portfolio to take home, Liz showed her how and why to write "A/P" on each of her prints. She also showed her where to put her title and signature. Doing this made Little Tiger feel both proud and professional.
On the way home we stopped at The West Side Market for crepes. At Little Tiger's request, we took our food up to the market's balcony where this was our view:
Since it was the Saturday before Mother's Day, the market was especially crowded so Little Tiger was happy to observe the hustle and bustle from above the chaos. As we ate, we talked about our printmaking experience. Little Tiger was happy about learning a new art form and I was excited about discovering a new gem in my city.