Near Eastside artist cooperative Cat Head Press recently celebrated its one-year anniversary as a community center and fine art printing studio. The facility will be hosting a public zine workshop this Friday, September 15 from 6:30pm-9:00pm. PATTERN recently sat down with directors Dominic Senibaldi and Liz Wierzbicki along with shop manager Ciaran McQuiston to discuss Cat Head Press and this upcoming workshop.
Terri Procopio: Can you describe Cat Head Press and its mission?
Dominick Senibaldi: We focus on fine art printmaking, but we’re not a commercial print shop. We operate as a non-profit to provide artists with a studio facility to create work. Printmaking is so equipment dependent and a lot of people can’t set up a studio in their house. We try to provide as much of the equipment and supplies as possible. There’s a lot happening in Indy and we want to see artists stay in the city. We offer a community so the arts scene continues to grow and becomes even more vibrant. In addition, we focus on making connections among artists and other small businesses. Fostering relationships is really important to us.
Liz Wierzbicki: We offer a collaborative space to meet other likeminded individuals. A driving force for us is making art a community so artists aren’t isolated, but are connected with others and feeding off of each other’s creativity.
TP: How long has Cat Head Press been in operation?
LW: Just over a year. We opened July 2016.
TP: How did you come up with the name?
DS: My wife came up with it. We’re both from Washington State and she grew up in Aberdeen, Washington, which is the home port of one of the last sail ships – the Lady Washington. The cat head is the part of a sail ship that holds the anchor and is carved into the shape of a lion’s head. We thought wood carving – that’s like printmaking – and the narrative sort of evolved from there. The cat head held the anchor and we’re trying to be an arts anchor in the community.
TP: Can artists rent space at your facility?
LW: Yes. They’re also part of our cooperative team and help to monitor the shop.
DS: Since our studio artists are part of the cooperative and help out in the facility, we’re able to offset studio costs and keep it really affordable compared to other studios in the city.
TP: Where do you see the Indianapolis art scene heading?
DS: There’s a lot of development happening and it’s an interesting time to be in the art scene. There’s financial support from grant dollars and an overall interest from the public; especially in cooperative style art studios like makers’ spaces. That energy is inherent of what we’re doing at Cat Head Press. We have a strong connection to artists since we’re all working artists ourselves. I never thought I would land in the Midwest, but once we got this going, it’s my home now. I love what’s happening here and we’re all really excited to be a part of a growing community.
LW: I’m also a transplant, being here about five years now. In those five years, things have changed dramatically, not just in the art scene but in the city itself. One of our driving forces for the space is to keep other artists in the city.
Ciaran McQuiston: As the one person who actually grew up in Indianapolis, I left for college and moved around for a couple of years and then came back. Indianapolis became so much cooler during the time that I was away. There’s a lot more keeping artists in the city. That’s a big draw for funding dollars. We want to fund art because it’s a sign there’s a vibrant culture.
TP: You are holding a zine workshop on Friday, September 15. What’s a zine?
LW: A zine is a humble, small run publication. They have some roots in the feminist movement because they were an easy way to spread information.
DS: Traditionally, they’re published DIY-style quickly and inexpensively, rather than sending a master to a publisher to then distribute. There’s also a presence in the music scene where musicians have put out small zines. It has this punk rock underground element to it, kind of a renegade type of publication.
TP: Can you talk about the zine workshop you are conducting?
LW: We’re focusing on collage-based zines, using magazines and cutting bits and repurposing them into little booklets. You can also add written information and hand-drawings. All materials will be provided and we’ll give you the tools to learn how to make a particular folding method. After you’re done making your zine, we’ll make copies to exchange with others so you can build your own library.
TP: What is the cost and can anyone attend?
LW: The cost is $10. Yes, anyone can come and you don’t need any experience to attend. We’ll play music and provide beverages and snacks. It’s a good way to interact with the community and other artists in an easy and accessible environment.
TP: What else does Cat Head Press offer to the community in terms of education?
DS: We’re constantly having workshops. Our biggest is screenprinting. It’s an all-day session from 10am to 6pm that we offer each month. It’s always a really popular workshop.
LW: It’s a way for people who don’t have any knowledge of printmaking to get involved in the process. Once you take the class, it certifies you to use our facilities during open hours. Screenprinting is a form of printmaking that’s really accessible and anyone can learn it.
TP: What are your printmaking studio rates and what do they include?
DS: We have two different open studio rates. The first is a day rate for $25. We also have a six-day pass. You can come in six times, but have to use it within thirty days. That’s $60.
LW: The fees cover everything you would need for the process, except for what you are printing on. You need to bring your own t-shirts or paper, but you don’t have to go out and buy screens and inks because we have them available.
TP: What else does Cat Head Press offer?
CM: We have a key holder program because there’s such a high demand for studio spaces. We offer lower cost options for artists who are printmakers and they use the shop unsupervised. They can come in at any time because they have a key, but they don’t have a physical studio in our building since we have limited space.
TP: How can someone get in touch with Cat Head Press or receive information on classes?
CM: Send a message through Facebook, or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also sign up for our newsletter on the website.