Featured in the All Fired Up Box
Hi, I'm Rachel!
I've always been an artist, but I fell in love with printmaking when I went back to college after my son was born. Once I graduated, I no longer had access to the presses and equipment necessary to continue, and as part of the early Lowe Mill community, I discovered fellow artists had the same problem. After a few months of extensive research on the few community printmaking studios around the country at that time, I started the Green Pea Press Printmaking Collective in 2010 to offer artists studio access to printmaking equipment, opportunities to collaborate, exhibit, and sell their work, and educate the public through workshops and demonstrations. I started taking on custom printing orders so that I could pay myself and to help support the studio; over the past 10 years, we've grown exponentially as a collective, custom printing business, and retail shop! We now occupy a 4,200 sq ft studio in Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment as well as a 1,500 sq ft screen printing shop just up the street on Governors Drive.
What's your process for making your products?
My kitchen series was inspired by my mother, a local Montessori teacher who created and published a cookbook for classrooms that was used by schools all over the world. So that each child could make their own dish, she created display cards for the instructions that included a large action word and a line drawing for those who couldn't read yet.
Once I have an idea for a "punny" phrase, I draw the image, scan it into the computer, and add the text. The final design is printed in black onto a transparency and exposed onto a screen, which is a fine mesh stretched across a frame and coated with photo emulsion so that it becomes light-sensitive. The transparency is placed on a light table with the screen on top, and exposed for 2 minutes. The light hardens the photo emulsion except where the black areas of the design block the light. Those areas are then washed out with water in a spray booth, which allows ink to be pushed through the mesh only where the design is. We print everything by hand in our shop, using a squeegee to push the ink through the screen onto the fabric below, then curing it with heat.
What's your favorite part about being a Huntsville maker?
I think Huntsville has a great tradition of supporting the arts and local businesses, which has only gotten better over the years. It has been amazing to see the rate of growth from the time I grew up here to now! I believe our community understands the value of makers in creating the culture of a city, including food, music, design, public art--these are what make for an enjoyable place to live.