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History of Print Day in May

The art of printmaking can be traced back many centuries to the Han Dynasty in China, somewhere around 200 BC to 200 AD. Originally, woodblocks were used to print on silk and the printing on paper followed sometime in the seventh century.

Since that time, printmaking has grown in size and scope, although some people are concerned that the modern use of technology has shown a decrease in the interest of this type of craft. The hope for Print Day in May is to unite printmakers and encourage a revival of this type of work.

The first Print Day in May took place in 2007 and, ever since that time, founders Robynn Smith and the Printmakers have devoted time on the first Saturday of May to printmaking. This event started locally in the Monterey Bay area of California as a grass-roots celebration, but it has grown over the more than 15 years since it was established. Today, this event has spanned the globe and is now considered to be a worldwide event with participants from more than 80 countries joining in!

Whether a person is a professional printmaker with a studio and a business, a novice who is just learning, or somewhere in between Print Day in May invites anyone to be part of this day. In kitchens and garages, on sidewalks and beaches, wherever a person makes their prints, and whatever format they use, they are encouraged to do so on this day.

At the end of the day, folks who have participated in Print Day in May are invited to share their work on social media as well as on the website for the day to show off a little, raise awareness and encourage each other through a community chain that spreads around the world. 

How to Celebrate Print Day in May

Get connected with Print Day in May and start by celebrating with some of these ideas:

Engage with Printmaking

In its most basic form, a print is made by making a design on a sturdy surface, rolling ink over it, and printing it onto a piece of fabric, paper, or some other medium. Some children may have engaged in a rudimentary type of this art by using a potato!

Modern printmakers often use linoleum along with a printing block. Basic supplies needed for this are ink, linoleum, cutter, brayer (ink roller), and an inking tray. For complete novices, printmaking kits can be purchased, or it might be fun to sign up to take a class to get started.

Join the Print Day in May Community

Get more connected with what other printmakers around the world are doing by registering to join the online community for Print Day in May. Registering allows participants to receive email newsletters, participate in the day by adding printmaking photos to the website, as well as becoming eligible to win prizes from the various sponsors of the day. Also check out the Facebook Group to join in on the conversation with others who have similar printmaking interests. 

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