The Rapidian

Dinderbeck Studios opens to public

The local print studio is shifting from artist collective to open community studio. Dinderbeck is providing space and resources for area printmakers.
Anthony Reed and Kyle Isabell

Anthony Reed and Kyle Isabell /Eric Tank

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For more info on how to access the studio

 Open studio and pricing information 

Anthony Reed at a four color silk screen press

Anthony Reed at a four color silk screen press /Eric Tank

The 1912 Chandler and Price Co. letterpress

The 1912 Chandler and Price Co. letterpress /Eric Tank

Located across the river in the South West Area Neighborhood is a 3,000 square foot space chock-full of reclaimed printing presses, buckets of ink, papers of all weave and weight and racks of prints of all styles and genres. 

Named Dinderbeck Studios after a night of philosophizing about words and meaning - it's not a surname as one might suppose - the print studio that started off a couple years ago as an artist collective has now repurposed its mission to serve the needs of the larger community. Billed as a community printmaking and artist studio since this past July, Dinderbeck provides the space, equipment and resources that most printmakers don't typically have access to outside of an academic institution. 

The studio operates as an LLC with three partners. Kyle Isbell, Anthony Mead and Steven Rainey run the day-to-day operations. All graduates of Kendall College, the three along with some others originally pooled their resources together in order to continue printing in studio after they had graduated. Many of the original members have moved on, continuing their craft in private studios. 

"We found that when we got out of school - like Kyle said you have all of the specialized pieces of equipment - and you've been trained to use them and now you don't have them anymore. So, you have this piece of paper that says you know how to use them, but you don't have anywhere to use them because they're just not available to you," says Mead. "We didn't want anyone else to run into that problem."

Dinderbeck offers open studio time, by appointment and for one-on-one training. After a thorough orientation period which an applicant must demonstrate their level of print making knowledge can they be authorized to safely operate certain equipment. The studio is open to all levels of printmakers from the novice to professional, yet tends to lean towards the professional. 

Dinderbeck engages the public by participating in Avenue for the Arts shows, gala events, live screenings and hosts college visits from schools like GVSU, Aquinas and Kendall. 

"We try to take our presence out via shows that either we host and curate or that are part of a larger event that we can have a presence at," says Mead.

"Now that we've got our feet wet with the open studio portion we're looking towards some sort of schedule for classes and workshops, like shorter end bits to where you can work as a group on projects where everybody can learn or get a quick demo on screen printing," says Isbell. 

About 85-90% of all the equipment in the studio has been reclaimed donations. There are tables from Kendall and SiTE:LAB. A proof press was donated to Dinderbeck from Kendall. In the south east corner of the studio sits a 1912  Chandler and Price Co. letterpress from Cleveland that sits next to a custom built silk screen darkroom.

Next to that is a 1950 Vandercook letterpress that was brought back from St. Louis, Missouri. It was given to Dinderbeck by a senior citizen who had once been a letter pressman. It had been sitting in his basement for decades. The 2,300 lbs. of equipment needed to be dismantled on site and took nine guys to remove it. Once back at the studio, it took a team to unload and reassemble the press. A Bendini etching press was also brought back from St. Louis. 

The entire space is designed for workflow to move from a prepress end on the south to the finishing tables on the north. Two companies, Woosah and Conscious Imprint currently partner with Dinderbeck and work in the space. 

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