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Behind The Scenes
cook & gates

Sara Gates Shows Off Her Space

Sara Gates has been live-working from the same location in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for forever—long before most people were converting lofts and familiarizing themselves with the G train. “When I first moved in, I lived with a bunch of people, but over the years, the business has sort of taken over. It was half-house, half-studio, and now it’s more like three-quarters studio,” the woman behind the dye-happy bag line Cook & Gates explains. Here, she shows off some of the highlights and heavy machinery of the studio, where she also runs a screen-printing company.  “These are the two screen-printing presses that I use. I tend to do pretty small runs. I work with a lot of local artists and designers. I do up to a 1,000 pieces but not usually more that that.”“To create the printing designs, you put photo-sensitive emulsion on a screen, let it dry, and tape the image—which is black on clear—to it. You put it in this machine, which vacuums it in place, and turn a 6,000-watt light on it to expose it. It’s really bright—and also really loud. The light hardens the emulsion, and the black blocks the light. Then you hose it down.”“I do a lot of oversize printing, which a lot of printers don’t do because you need huge screens and huge equipment. There are little versions of the equipment, but printing tiny objects just on T-shirts is not that compelling for me.”“The dyeing I do for Cook & Gates happens everywhere. I have buckets all over the place—I do a lot of it on the roof. That bag on the clothesline has been living on the roof for three months. That’s its home.” Sara made a tote that is a total game changer—see for yourself. 
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Sara Gates Makes Some Print-Happy Art

“I’ve been making art ever since I can remember. I started out with painting and still think of everything I make as a painting,” says Sara Gates, the Pratt Institute-trained designer behind the fly, hand-dyed bag line Cook & Gates. And though many of her creations these days can be flung over your shoulder—we’re talking hard-working totes and duffles—she’s done some much larger-scale works, too. Here, she brings the big guns. —genevieve ang “I created this installation for Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art in 2009, and it was really massive. It covered an entire room. I screen-printed everything, and you couldn’t really differentiate the books from the wall because everything was covered in the same pattern.” “This was another large-scale collaboration I did with three other artists for an installation at the Live With Animals Gallery in Williamsburg. We built everything from scratch (yes, the entire house!) and even had a backyard, which we seeded with grass. It was really cool to walk into the gallery and be faced with this house in the middle. It took me about three weeks to complete—working nonstop.” “When I started my screen-printing studio Kingsland Printing, I struggled to figure out how to make my own work around that. These paintings come from desperation, to some extent—I made them around the studio, sometimes by accident. The one on the right is paint and off-spray ink from where we wash out screens. The one on the left was actually just water and dye that I put on canvas on the roof. It’s really interesting for me to see the patterns that emerge from accidents of intention.” “This graphic, black-and-white painting is a screen-print of a piece that I hand-dyed. My favorite part about dyeing is how you can do the same thing over and over but get different results every time, and what I love about screen-printing is how you can get identical patterns every time. It’s really interesting to combine them in this way—I’m playing off the limitations and nuances of these opposite practices.” Sara made us a copper tote with leather straps that’s preeetty perfect.
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