Depending on the method, printmaking isn’t always the most eco-friendly process. With that in mind, Matthew Shapoff founded Handmade on Peconic Bay (HMPB), which is a one-man studio that specializes in Cyanotype and Vandyke printing. Relying on years of expertise, his work ranges from monoprints on paper to wearable accessories – each of which is crafted by hand in his Long Island studio.
In order to truly appreciate the work of HMPB, it’s important to understand the characteristics of both Cyanotype and Vandyke printing. Both processes were originally discovered in the 19th Century and thus require very little in terms of resources. All you need is a photosensitive solution, a receptive surface, natural sunlight, and a little bit of knowhow to create a print. Yet because there are so many variables (i.e. intensity of the sun or the strength of the solution), no two prints will be identical. In fact, it is in these natural variations of hue and value that make these processes so unique.
What I like about HMPB is that these characteristics are obvious throughout the entire collection. By nature, the photosensitive printing methods are extremely versatile in that they can be applied to different materials like paper, silk and canvas to name a few. In terms of imagery, Shapoff finds inspiration in his natural surroundings – whether in the form of lunar charts or zoological studies of marine life. Because many of these motifs are coastal, there is also a strong sense of place about his work that makes it that much more distinct.
In addition to honing the skills already mastered, HMPB is also embarking on new territory over the coming months. Shapoff is investigating ways to stimulate the American artisan economy by sourcing domestically produced linen and cotton fabrics for his own work. There are also plans to introduce different styles and goods – including an experimental collection of custom printed messenger bags.
If you are interested in learning more about Handmade on Peconic Bay, be sure to visit Shapoff’s website where you can find up to date information about new projects and inventories. In the meantime, feel free to scroll through some select images of his work in the gallery below.