DETROIT — The concept of being a “community letterpress shop” might be somewhat abstract, at times. Though Signal Return Press offers workshops, group tours, and community events at other locations, in addition to facilitating the creation of original letterpress works by novices, members, and visiting artists, their leadership, including print artist and Director Lynne Avadenka and Master Printer Lee Marchalonis, is always trying to think of ways to meaningfully connect with a Detroit audience beyond those who might be naturally interested in a bespoke print shop that deals in the increasingly archaic form of letterpress. Most recently, they conceived of a project called On Press: Making Visible an Unseen Detroit.
“The idea for the project came out of conversations between me and Lee, who has been interested in working directly with Detroit artists since she got to town in 2014,” Avadenka told Hyperallergic in an interview. “We had a few different goals in mind. We wanted to bring Detroit artists into the studio, whose work we admired and who had no experience with letterpress and relief printing — because we wanted to find a way to let the artistic community see beautiful examples of what is possible in printmaking. We also wanted to share the important work being done by less-known Detroit nonprofits with the community of visitors that come into our space on a busy Eastern Market shopping day.”
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Image by Sabrina Nelson for Black Family Development, Inc.