Artist in Res­i­dence

Sail away Take a guided tour in­side Tug­boat Printshop, a back­yard wood­cut press lo­cated in Pitts­burgh, Penn­syl­va­nia

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Set sail on Pitts­burgh’s Tug­boat Printshop, with Va­lerie Lueth at the helm!

Tug­boat Printshop was founded 10 years ago in the front par­lour of a 100-year-old Lawrenceville row house. Op­er­a­tions were kept tidy and made to work, but space be­came a big need pretty quickly.

This past year, a new stu­dio out­build­ing was con­structed on the prop­erty to host Tug­boat; print­ing re­sumed in the up­graded lo­ca­tion last au­tumn. The new space is bright and airy – it’s a big cube of pos­si­bil­ity! The Wooden toy pen­cil sharp­ener – I love things made from wood! ease of mov­ing from home to stu­dio is in­cred­i­ble (time’s tight in a house­hold with small chil­dren). I’ve been brain­storm­ing some wacky plans for an even­tual green roof and gar­den… the view up top is breath­tak­ing.

Hav­ing a stu­dio nearby and ready to go is amaz­ing. I can ei­ther breeze in and start anew or pick up an on­go­ing project with ease. The build­ing is set into the earth (the prop­erty is on a gra­di­ent), with a tall blue box fa­cade fac­ing an al­ley zigzag­ging with roof lines and chim­ney tops. His­toric Vic­to­rian brick build­ings are ev­ery­where.

The view out the stu­dio win­dows is my home and gar­den, with in­di­rect sun­light fil­ter­ing in all day. Dutch-style doors open in­ter­change­ably to the al­ley. The stu­dio space is used for a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent pur­poses, so its lay­out is fluid and cus­tomis­able. Tug­boat Printshop is an artist press spe­cial­is­ing in tra­di­tion­ally made wood­cut edi­tions. Its printshop was founded in 2006 by Va­lerie Lueth and Paul Ro­den. You can see more at www.tug­boat­printshop.com.

Ink is rolled and smoothed on the glass slab to elim­i­nate in­con­sis­ten­cies be­fore rolling up the block to make an im­pres­sion. This sofa has just been re­placed with a draw­ing bench. Be­ing able to trans­form the room to fit new needs was a top con­cern and one of the main rea­sons the space was kept so boxy and sim­ple. These I-beams aren’t just for show – they’ll even­tu­ally sup­port the Tug­boat Printshop roof gar­den. This cen­tral ta­ble is made from ply­wood and wrapped with can­vas on sawhorses. I use an as­sort­ment of Ja­panese- and Amer­i­can­made tools to carve wood. A hand­ful of V- and U-gauges make up my tool­box.

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