Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bearded Lady Screenprints




My name is Maya Powell and I am a Printmaking major. In March I began sending internship inquiries to several screen printing, letterpress, and design studios in Minneapolis and Austin, where my parents live. I was hoping to find a small studio that would allow me to do a good amount of hand son learning, as well as the possibility of creating my own print work. I didn’t want to work for a purely commissioned print shop I wanted the employees to be creative people that design some of the work that they produce. Bearded Lady Screenprints, a shop in Austin that fits all of these requirements, replied with interest, as the separations manager is a 2001 MICA graduate. I sent them an online portfolio, as well as my resume, and they accepted me as the summer intern.


My supervisor was Abi Daniel, the separations manager at Bearded Lady (this means she handles the digital files and separates the layers into individual films to be printed as positives). She’s a really talented artist and does freelance illustration work as well. I was mostly given tasks by her or Josh, the owner. Both of them had a good idea of what needed to get done each day, and suggested several things I could do to make that run more smoothly, example: clean a stack of screens, catch t shirts for Cory, check in a new shipment of blank shirts, count out paper to be cut, clean squeegees and tools, check inventory, or price and tag in house inventory.
After a few weeks, I was able to figure out on my own what I needed to do, instead of asking. I also spent a few days printing beer koozies, an exhausting and super fun project. At the end of the internship, I was able to print about 50 tank tops of my own design, as well as a 5 layer double sided poster. Both items are to be sold by myself online.
I absolutely loved my time at Bearded Lady. I learned a tremendous amount about the technical
aspects of the shop, such as how all the presses work, and how they manage keeping 100
screens clean and in order. I also learned a lot about interacting with clients, some of whom
know nothing about the printing process. Not only did I pick up these skills, but I was able to
make my own body of work, an opportunity that I feel very blessed to have been given. I’ve never
made that quantity of shirts or posters before, and it was an incredible experience to be able to
create something so complex and craft it from start to finish. My internship at Bearded Lady was an amazing experience, and it helped solidify and intensify my goal of running a screen print shop in the future.

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