Ink.Paper.Plate., hub for creative individuals, celebrates two years

07/14/2016

Ink.Paper.Plate, the printmaking studio and shop in Point Reyes Station, draws an array of people: professional artists playing with equipment, novices taking introductory classes, day trippers buying a print, youth groups making books from scrap paper, bands rolling out posters, musicians playing to a crowd mostly sitting on the floor and people looking for a gentle massage—to name a few.

The studio, which is celebrating its two-year anniversary, draws both tourists and locals who want to try their hand at an old art form that has been so eclipsed by digital media that some people arrive wondering where the printer is. For those who would otherwise struggle to find an entry point into printmaking, it provides the space, tools and support to start playing with the medium.   

“There’s a whole group of people who don’t have a place to go to make art. I feel like this is a living room,” owner and Bolinas resident Sirima Sataman said on a recent Friday, donning a paint-splattered smock.

Inside Ms. Sataman’s studio are her own large-scale prints, smaller ones for sale, art supplies and a collection of printmaking wares and curiosities. She has a 1968 Asbern cylinder letterpress, of which there are only 61 known in the world. Cabinets in the back are chock full of small cuts—made of wood, copper and other materials—and moveable type of many fonts and sizes filled other drawers. 

Born in Thailand, Ms. Sataman grew up in Southern California. She studied sculpture at Claremont College in the 1980s, drawn to the physicality of the medium. But since she needed to study three disciplines to graduate, she also took classes in fiber arts and printmaking “because they’re all sculptural. I liked printmaking because edging and carving made sense to me,” she said.

After graduating, she encountered the difficult reality of moving and storing big sculptures. She started carving small wood blocks; eventually, after relocating to Santa Cruz, she went bigger. A single two-by-three-foot woodcut once took her about 40 hours. 

“I was like, ‘Wow, that was a lot of work,’” she laughed. But Ms. Sataman wasn’t intimidated, and she was drawn to the power of size. “When they’re really big, there’s something about it that’s really arresting,” she said.

After moving further north to Davenport, she created a series of linocut trees, each about three by four feet. At the time, she was frustrated at her job doing web development with a company. She was working on a worthwhile project at the time—world hunger—yet the bureaucracy drove her a little nuts. 

After 15 years of various similar day jobs, she “decided to do a do-over.” Realizing that she loved teaching, she opened a printmaking studio in San Francisco for five years, but eventually sought a place more connected to a community, as well as a street-level storefront. 

As it happened, she had been housesitting in West Marin around that time and met former art gallery owner Heather Pratt, who suggested that Point Reyes could use a community arts space. 

Now Ms. Sataman offers a host of classes: letterpress, relief block, printing on fabric, monoprint and a “Scrappy Little Book” class, where she uses scrap paper to make tiny, playful booklets.

She says many of her clients are day-trippers and tourists. But a steady stream of locals use the space for projects, too. Ido Yoshimoto, an artist and woodworker, collaborated with Ms. Sataman on a show at Toby’s. “I had a couple good sessions under the eye of Sirima to learn the ropes with etching. Now I’ve been running with it,” he said.

Others, like Amos Klausner, a San Geronimo Valley resident, regularly use the studio for personal projects. Last month Mr. Klausner was printing three words—grief, anger and despair—in bright shades of magenta, in Trade Gothic, on the letterpress. For the past few months, he’s been using Thursday or Friday afternoons to print short phases, usually subject lines that he comes across on a valley-based list-serv.

“He’s putting them in an ironic color,” Ms. Sataman mused as he tinkered with small details, pulling out the commas and trying out different ways of arranging the words and letters on the pages.

Lisa Bleier, an artist and former hospice worker, organized some of her own endeavors in the studio. Ms. Bleier is wrapping up a 30-day journaling session during which people drew for an hour in the morning in silence. She also offers massage for humans and elderly dogs, the latter on Monday mornings.

Ms. Bleier, who has also made a few prints, said the shop is “like a best-kept secret that’s too good to be kept. It’s a place to dip in creatively.”

Though massage and printmaking are pretty different practices, Ms. Bleier drew a connection: their tactile nature, something many people may have too little of in the 21st century. “If you were to ask me what one thing makes a person a kinder, gentler person, touch does that,” she said.