Written by: Josephine Bridges
Once monthly, Portland, Oregon printmaking studio Atelier Meridian hosts Ink and Drink, a workshop friendly to both printers and imbibers, for $5.00. Participants get much more than they pay for.
Why does this make good business sense?
Ink and Drink is a printmaking workshop, but it is also a social gathering. In fact, the workshop is free of charge to those who come not to make prints but to socialize and network. Here potential printers can meet actual printers, try out printmaking, and learn about the variety of services Atelier Meridian has to offer. Beginners and experienced printers can share inspiration, techniques, and laughter. Adults and children can admire each others’ efforts. Great food and drink abound. It is not at all uncommon for Ink and Drink participants to put more than the $5.00 fee in the big tip jars scattered about the studio.
Atelier Meridian offers both regular and special workshops. Regular workshops take place for three hours two nights a week, and are good value at $15.00 for the Monday Woodcut Open Studio and $10.00 – with an initial supply fee of $15.00 – for the Tuesday Etching Open Studio. Special workshops in everything from monotype to collagraph to letterpress range in price from $95.00 to $225.00 and are scheduled on nights and weekends. Workshop participants are entitled to a bonus: they can print unassisted for free every Friday for the next two months, and some materials are even included.
Printmakers who lack their own printmaking facilities can choose from among the five presses at Atelier Meridian, available for rent by the day for $25.00 or $80.00 for a four-day punch pass. Monthly memberships, which give printers access to the studio except when workshops are in session, are available for $125.00. Monthly members receive discounts on supplies and are eligible for workshop discounts.
In addition, Atelier Meridian offers fine art prints by member artists, students, and visiting artists for sale.
At February’s Ink and Drink, also known as The Third Annual Valentine Smashdown, Atelier Meridian co-founder and master printer Jane Pagliarulo explained that the night’s activities were a fundraiser to “boost our woefully inadequate supply of electricity,” and joked that the business was started as a for-profit venture at the beginning of the recession, “and now we are our own non-profit.”
Atelier Meridian may not be raking in the big bucks, but the studio hasn’t shut its doors, either. Atelier Meridian provides a variety of services at a reasonable cost to the creative community it serves, and those services include fun, which can be good business.
You can see more at ateliermeridian.com.