Photography Meets Printmaking at Zygote Press

Five years ago, Zygote Press made transitioning to an environmentally friendly studio a priority. Key to making this change work was ensuring that all printmaking processes would still be available, and the resulting prints would be as good or better than using the traditional toxic chemistry. Since then, through research and innovation, Zygote has evolved into a green shop. Eliminating toxic materials made printmaking in the space safer for everyone, including those sensitive to chemicals. This commitment to green printmaking led to the inclusion of two new processes in the studio: nontoxic stone lithography and polymer plate photogravure.

With generous support from the Ohio Arts Council, Zygote was able to research and further develop environmentally friendly stone lithography. This technique is evolving all over the world as other studios look for creative ways to green their shops. After a year of dedicated work, Zygote is now the only studio in Ohio offering this process. Access to this technology and training makes it possible for artists to create their own work in the studio and for instructors to bring the technology back to their shops.

As the lithography press was being assembled and stones stacked, Zygote artist Bob Herbst began the build out for a room dedicated to polymer plate photogravure. Another completely green process, photopolymer plates are etched in water as opposed to the highly toxic chemicals used in copper plate photogravure. The process allows artists to achieve extremely fine detail and continuous tone in their prints, making it particularly attractive to photographers. Like the eco-friendly stone lithography, Zygote is the only resource in the region, including colleges and universities, which has this process.

Providing access to printmaking at every level has always been at the heart of Zygote’s mission, which is why group workshops and one-on-one sessions with instructors are available to artists and hobbyists alike. Providing silkscreen, intaglio and aquatint, monoprint, letterpress, relief, polymer plate photogravure, and lithography equipment and instruction all under one roof is unique. Keeping it green makes it one-of-a-kind.

1410 East 30th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44114