The Gift of Space
Ida Mae Short working to share her love of printmaking with the Goshen community
My main goal with our space is to have members of the community know that we’re here, and that anyone—at any level—is welcome to come to the Goshen Printmakers Guild and say, ‘Hey, I’d like to try this.’
Printmaking involves these sort of wonderful, intricate, and time-honored processes that can be very joyful and meditative. We offer learning programs and workshops for the community, and we have around 10 guild members currently using the space; if we have 10 more members in a couple years that will be a success. We have letterpress equipment and several other machines. The oldest press we have was made in 1880, so there’s always something to do maintenance-wise.
Some of my favorite moments are when I get to help someone print something for the first time; there’s this excitement they have and it just feels so good to be a part of that. It makes me think back to my earlier days, and it reminds me of mentors—like my high school art teacher Darvin Yoder, and Kristi Glick at Goshen College—who did so much to inspire me in my creative journey.
Gaining experience, setting up shop
After graduating from Goshen College with a degree in printmaking, I moved away a few times trying to find the right fit for me, and I spent time in Oregon as part of an established, non-profit printmaking cooperative.
It was a great space and a really great experience. The co-op was in connection with a local college and there was a good community of artists; the door had a keypad for 24/7 access and we were provided equipment and resources. It was kind of a dream come true, and it was a great opportunity that helped me grow into my work. There are barriers to printmaking, and—for recent grads or people who are starting out—just finding access to the equipment and supplies can be challenging.
When I moved back to Goshen in 2020, I came back with the idea to try and recreate something like that for printmakers here; to be able to offer learning programs and provide printmakers with resources and access to printmaking space. I started running my first press here later in 2020 and we had our first workshops in 2021.
Always room to grow
Just like anywhere, artists in Goshen are all different, and everyone has their own sense of how to value and balance competitiveness versus collaboration and craftsmanship. Goshen is a wonderful community that values artists, but I also think two things can be true—and we’re also still a growing community working toward greater equity, inclusivity, and sharing of resources. Keeping that in mind—that there’s always room to improve—is important, but I feel lucky to be in Goshen.
This is a community where there’s support for the arts community and artists are familiar with each other. With downtown, and events like First Fridays, there is community involvement and participation and there are opportunities for artists to establish themselves, and grow, and thrive.
With Goshen’s rich history of ceramic artists, and with multiple guilds and the Goshen Arts Council, and all the Goshen College faculty living here—this is a very unique environment. There’s more collaboration, cross-mediums, here than I’ve seen in other places, and as a printmaker that means a lot; my collaborations with artists like Sadie Misiuk have been really positive and joyful.
Mentors and musings
I mentioned Darvin Yoder and Kristi Glick, earlier, because I thought of them so much in early 2020 when I moved back to Goshen. I was working to restore my presses, and it was really a challenge. You can’t just run a Google search to know how to go about restoring these old machines and getting them into working order.
I discovered, though, that the more time I put into restoring the presses the easier it became. Working through that reminded me of my mentors and some of their teachings; that you have to practice, and be intentional, and just keep working on.
Being a printmaker, and having been in different arts communities, I’ve come to really appreciate the gift of space; and I’m thankful that our space, here in downtown Goshen, is lovely, safe, and welcoming. I want people throughout the community to feel free to come visit us and see what printmaking is all about.
The Goshen Printmakers Guild, 213 S. Main Steet, is a community-focused print studio—open to all, regardless of experience or financial situation—that is inclusive and welcoming for people of all ages, backgrounds, and identities. The guild offers writers and makers space and equipment for creating and collaborating, and offers workshops, events, and training for the wider community. To get involved, or find out how to become a member, visit https://www.goshenprintmakersguild.com/.
Written by Jake Sandock
Original publish date Jan. 2024