At Toronto Made we know that you don't need brand-new machinery to make innovative work. You just need to be innovative, like Toronto Made member Jesjit Gill of Colour Code. Using a run-of-the mill risograph, the 80s-era copier found in school basements, @ColourCodePrint produces brilliant, cutting-edge posters and prints for some of Toronto's most talked-about artists.
Q: How did you get into printing in the first place?
A: Well I went to school for printing/painting. I studied printmaking at school, in OCAD. When I was a teenager I worked in a print shop. I've always been interested in printing. I guess it mainly started with my art practice. Now that I am out of school, I am more interested with the craft of printing, the technical aspects
Q: Did you have mentors when you started?
A: Yup. Michael Comeau [@ComeauSlomeau]. When I first moved to Toronto, I was his intern. He gave me a lot of insights into screen printing. And that’s kind of how I started—screen printing posters. He used to do that all the time. He did all the posters for Vazaleen.
Q: When you were setting up your shop, where did you get your machinery?
A: Some of it I got used. I got this Colour Codex from another print shop in Alberta. - Quite a bit of my equipment is vintage. There are also still dealers for some of this equipment. You won’t find them at regular copy shops, but they’re still very common in schools and churches. They're a really cheap way to make newsletters and flyers, stuff like that. The risograph’s main market, for instance, in North America is still Churches.
Q: Was or still is?
A: Still. I deal with an Ontario risograph dealer/technician , and whenever I ask him any technical questions—because I don’t know many people who use the risograph—like if he’s ever seen that problem a lot , if he ever worked on this particular machine, and he always replies “Yeah. There are hundreds of them in Ontario.” So they’re kind of rare—they feel rare—but they’re still around. You won’t find these at a Kinkos.
Q: What would you say is so special about them?
A: It has a tactical quality of screen print. So it looks like an ordinary photocopier but the prints that come out of it are very exciting and tactile because it prints with oil-based inks as opposed to photocopier which prints with a toner. you can really use the inks to achieve some interesting results. It’s kind of an in-between a photocopying and offset printing. Offset printing is a very expensive process; you have to produce a large quantify to make it viable
Q: What else do you print besides posters?
A: I print t-shirts, I screen print stuff. Most of my business is books—I do a lot of artists’ books, catalogues, comics, stuff like that.
Making things from metal, wood, and plastic is great. They’re durable and last long. But without proper machinery and expertise, it can be quite a challenge. Fortunately for Toronto’s intrepid makers, there is the Ultimate Workshop, one of the few Industrial makers’ spaces in Toronto. Located in the Junction (22 Cariboo Ave) since 2013 and open daily from 10am-8pm (and by appointment, for you night owls & early birds), the membership-based Workshop is, in its founder’s words, “a space full of tools and equipment to let you creativity run wild.” Mr. Charles Hartlaub, the mastermind behind the Ultimate Workshop, recently spoke with Toronto Made about what people will find at the Ultimate Workshop and what inspired him to open the Ultimate Workshop.
Q: What is the Ultimate Workshop?
The Ultimate Workshop is a space where people can create physical functional prototypes, mock ups and test their ideas and inventions. You can think of us as a garage for tinkering, with lots of tools.
Q: What does your membership consist of? What equipment do members have access to?
Membership consists of use of the space and equipment to design, create and test your ideas. We have a CNC (Computer numerical control) milling machine, a several lathes, a bandsaw, drill press, and a plethora of hand and power tools.
We also offer training and assistance in everything from basic hand tools usage all the way up to welding, CNC mill programming, and Computer Aided Design. If you have a project to build, we're here to help.
Q: What is a typical Ultimate Workshop member?
There is no typical member. We have all sorts of people, from all sorts of backgrounds. Musicians, technicians, engineers and retirees. The common thread is a passion for creating things with your hands, and a willingness to open up and share their ideas to make them better.
Q: What is coolest project created at the Ultimate Workshop?
Everything is pretty cool. But I have to say the one the rises to the top is an Engine that was made from scratch for the Shell Eco Challenge by the University of Toronto super mileage Team. They created an engine which had a fuel consumption of 2750 miles/gallon.
Q: Some local manufacturers have complained that its hard to find local workers with the necessary trade/labour skills. Do you find that people join UW to develop their "job skills"?
Definitely! People join the Workshop for all kinds of reason. Some are pure hobbyists, some are working on specific projects, and others just want to practice and develop their skills. That’s what makes the Workshop such an exciting place—so many things are going on at the same time, everyone is doing something different. It’s very inspiring.
Q: What inspired you to open the Ultimate Workshop?
I am an Industrial Model Maker by trade and I always loved making things. But outside of school or a company facility, there was never a place where I could go to work on personal projects. So I thought, if I need it someone else will also make use of a place like this.
Q: How many years have you been making or tinkering with things?
Since I was a toddler. My grandmother used to get so angry at me when I would take apart my all the toys and never put them back together. I just wanted to know how they worked. My Dad was a mechanic and I was helping rebuild engines when I was 5.
Find out more about the Ultimate Workshop and how to become a member at http://www.ultimateworkshop.ca/
In recent years, the City of Toronto has taken steps in protecting employment areas as land values have increased and new challenges have emerged from residential incursion in industrial areas. Toronto’s employment land policies are governed by provincial legislation and local zoning through the City’s Official Plan. In 2013, the City underwent an Official Plan Review, which detailed future designation for industrial areas under the broad-based category of ‘Core Employment Areas.’ A map provided below highlights applications for rezoning made to the City during that period. While most were rejected, opportunities to rezone are still possible if applications are brought to the Ontario Municipal Board.
Residential development or rezoning is often approved based on arguments for intensification. Goals of intensification appear in the Provincial Policy Statement’s sections on housing, settlement, and brownfield redevelopment (Ontario PPS 2014). It is defined as: “development of a property, site or area at a higher density than currently exists through: (a) redevelopment, including the reuse of brownfield sites; (b) the development the development of vacant and/or underutilized lots within previously developed areas; (c) infill development; and (d) the expansion or conversion of existing buildings” (Ontario PPS 2014: 6). Examining such policies is useful in the context of urban manufacturing as goals of intensification are often in competition with goals of employment retention. On this issue, labour unions have worked with residential communities near industrial sites, pushing the need for greater caution around development that may have a negative impact on jobs.
As an organization dealing with industrial retention, Toronto Made works to popularize the value of protecting employment spaces. We urge small and medium-scale manufacturers and makers to engage in this conversation at the municipal level. Whether it be contacting your local City Councilor or attending public meetings, we want more people to know that manufacturing is critical to a diverse economy.
September was a very exciting month for Toronto Made! The launch party was a great success, and we received some excellent media attention through CBC's Metro Morning. Click below for an audio recording of the interview!