DIY: Ocelot Print Shop does it together

Arts / Article

Why do it yourself when we can do it together?

One of the common misconceptions about DIY culture is that consumers are saving money by making for themselves what would otherwise be mass-produced. With rare exception, a cost-benefit analysis will show that mass production has the edge when purchasing raw materials (mass demand creating the ability to buy in larger quantities), let alone the labor cost for a human process versus one that has been mechanized at great expense (which then amortizes over thousands and thousands of production units). What doesn’t figure into the bottom line, however, are the relationships created by DIY culture, between object and maker, and between makers in a community of makers. Enter Ocelot Print Shop, a fledgling screen-printing collaborative and brainchild of some of Detroit’s longstanding artisans.

Ocelot co-founder Kinga Osz-Kemp at the 2012 Dally in The Alley

Ocelot co-founder Kinga Osz-Kemp at the 2012 Dally in The Alley.

As founders Kinga Osz-Kemp, Stacey Malasky and Bayard Kurth can tell you, finding a way to make the screen-printing business break even is a tightrope walk. But for these three and the growing circle of collaborators that have joined the Ocelot family as they prepare to move into their official space within the Cass Community Neighborhood Development Center, it’s worth walking the line to create a space that will enable anyone with interest and inspiration to learn to print their own shirts, fliers, fabrics, signs and more, as well as provide a base of operations for small-scale working screen-print artists to grow their own businesses.

Have a dream? Stick with it!

Have a dream? Stick with it!

You can track Ocelot’s progress as they move toward their official June opening, either electronically through their blog and Tumblr, or in person, by dropping in on the space at 3535 Cass Ave. (behind the CCNDC Offices).  An array of affiliate and membership roles are open to people of all experience levels. Once the space is officially running, screen-printing classes will begin, and the facility will be open for space and equipment rental. In the meantime, the Ocelot corps is already taking print jobs that will help fuel a strong opening. You can see their work in action on the shirts and posters for Flower Day 2013 at the Eastern Market, and the coveted limited-edition t-shirts for the 2013 Urban Roots graduating class (designed by one of the program’s graduates).

Malasky (left) and Osz-Kemp (right) share a dream of accessible expression for all

Malasky (left) and Osz-Kemp (right) share a dream of accessible expression for all.

Kurth representing Ocelot at the 2012 Detroit Urban Craft Fair

Kurth representing Ocelot at the 2012 Detroit Urban Craft Fair.

Anyone with interest, inquiries or input should contact the shop at [email protected] Stay posted for more information, as a new creative force for DIY makes its way into being.