Scholarship Recipient Mackenzie Drozd at Penland

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By Liz Smith, Associate Chair | Associate Professor of Art, Ceramics »

Student Submission
Mackenzie Drozd
BFA Studio Art, Emphasis Graphic Design
Internships or Assistantships

Mackenzie with Spiral Lockup.

The UCA Department of Art and Design was fortunate to be selected in the Penland School for Arts and Crafts workshop lottery for the summer 2022 season. This allowed the department to partner with Penland to offer a fully funded two-week workshop to Mackenzie Drozd, the successful applicant, who was selected by the full art faculty to take part in this amazing opportunity. IN this article she shares her experience, advice and images gained from this amazing opportunity.

Penland Workshop: All-You-Can-Eat Letterpress Smorgasbord with Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary, June 19- July 1

It is difficult to stay creative when surrounded by others who don’t share the same thinking.

Working, chatting and dining alongside creative individuals at the Penland School of Craft enabled me to flourish and network as an artist. We worked as a team, and the support and knowledge gained from a Penland experience is priceless. Penland hosts a gorgeous view of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, which were as inspirational as they were glorious to wake up to every day. I attended the letterpress printing workshop taught by Jessica Spring of Springtide Press and Chandler O’Leary of Drawn the Road. Both were amazing instructors that were able to teach us a textbook’s worth of information in only 2 weeks!

The first week was devoted to learning the important letterpress printing basics of composing and locking up lead type in a press bed. Techniques in our tool belt included two-color printing in one pass, linocut carving, photopolymer plates (developed in the studio dark room), daredevil typesetting with specially made press furniture by Jessica Spring, Rubylith and hand-inking prints. We were encouraged to combine techniques we learned in printing our broadsides. I challenged myself to set type in a spiral, which included much experimentation with leading and strips of paper to come to the final result.

GAP02 – Going Away Print Lockup

Day one I was immediately drawn to the cans of metallic inks, determined to use gold. My prints would all feature quotations from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan (Peter and Wendy), and the metallic inks fit the idea of a childhood fairytale perfectly in addition to adding fabulous eye-catching shine. During the two weeks in the workshop, I pulled three different prints (15-30 sheets each), along with postcards printed with the leftover ink on my studio mate’s presses. I would spontaneously print before they cleaned the press with a spur-of-the-moment creation, and they got a bonus press-cleaning buddy. It was a challenging adventure!

Going Away Final Print” “Mackenzie Drozd”

My graphic design background was enhanced by taking the letterpress printing workshop. Hand-setting lead type allowed me to physically see and do processes automatically mimicked on a computer screen. When you lock-up type with press furniture, composition must be considered in regards to all image and text placement; especially when layering. I learned to work fast and be open to additions or changes to my initial vision. It was really neat to see the progression of everyone’s prints, as well as the final work of everyone at show and tell. I am thankful and humbled by the opportunity awarded to me by Penland and UCA! To existing students: