Simply put: “open access” means available to all, from novice to established professional artist.
Historically, printmaking has always been a collaborative endeavour. In the past, artists would approach master printmakers and their apprentices to commission fine art reproductions of their original works (paintings, drawings etc) in order to sell as duplications. As such, the printmaking studio was a specialist facility, owned by the master printmaker, with the sole purpose of creating prints (serving a similar function to the digital print services we use today).
As time has passed and technology has developed, the line between the master printmaker and the artist has blurred, with the artist now opting to learn the discipline of printmaking themselves to include in their creative practise. Modern printmakers are often also artists working across multiple disciplines; from photography to sculpture, illustration to textiles. The restrictions of accessing printmaking presses, dark rooms and studio space as well as knowledge about the individual techniques has made it necessary for open access printmaking studios to exist.
The open access printmaking studio will, therefore, often both facilitate the practical, hands-on approach as well as being a resource for educational and creative development.