Wednesday, October 29, 2014

David Wolfe Printer



My name is Eli Sobel and I am a rising senior majoring in painting. During the summer of 2014, I was an intern for David Wolfe, a master printer based in Portland, Maine. I
have had the pleasure of visiting the studio in the past to admire the machines, but have never had the opportunity to learn how to operate them. Throughout my Freshmen,
Sophomore and Junior year I stayed in contact with David Wolfe and shared with him images of my work and upcoming projects. In January 2014, I broached the subject of working for him during the summer. This spring we outlined my responsibilities, duties and work schedule as an intern after exchanging several emails.


David’s advanced training with fine art letterpress and woodcut projects caused the studio
work to be both diverse and engaging. In 1979, David graduated from MICA with a BFA
in printmaking and began work as an apprentice printer. He worked at several print shops
across the country before moving to Maine in 1997 to open his studio. Until he became a
master printer, his work focused on producing large book editions. His work has since
adapted to accommodate advances in mass-produced printed products so he now works
on commission: printing and designing business cards, invitations, books, posters,
pamphlets and artist projects.

David Wolfe, the owner of Wolfe Editions, was my primary supervisor although the sculptor Crystal Cawley and his full-time assistants, David Twiss and Pilar Nadal, also helped. Recent projects include printing five different postcards; each postcard was an edition of fifty; printing eight out of eleven layers of a map of Maine, designing and printing a Shaker poster for the Farnsworth Museum, typesetting and proof-reading a book of poetry, as well as helping to produce and prepare woodcut prints for the artist
Dahlov Ipcar.

Learning to operate the machinery, to recognize fonts and to distribute type helped me to gain enough confidence to work without supervision. The increased familiarity with the production process also helped me to typeset, proof and print the postcards independently. These skills contributed to developing and executing my own project, a woodcut, which I have designed, cut and proofed with limited supervision. Working at Wolfe Editions has made me realize that all students at MICA should have out-of-school experience with a mentor for developing technical skills and life skills. I have benefited from being exposed to printmaking techniques and media, as well as learning to pay attention to detail and problem solving. The experience has introduced me to the realities of an artist’s life after college and reinforced my belief that artist communities are beneficial for individual growth and support. I am thrilled that I was able to work with David Wolfe before my senior year at MICA,
and now have more ideas for my senior thesis.

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