Andy MacDougall is founder and past managing director of Wachiay Studio in Courtenay, B.C., where they specialize in screenprinting art, textiles, and teaching the process to both Indigenous and non-indigenous artists and entrepreneurs of all ages.
In 2007 he was inducted into the international Academy of Screen and Digital Printing Technology (ASDPT) & was a member of the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA, now Printing United Alliance) education committee who updated the most recent (2016) curriculum for highschool and post secondary based on current industry needs and applications (textile, graphic, and functional printing).
In addition to Wachiay Studio and since 2005, he developed live screenprinting demonstration programs for the American Poster Institute (API) at Flatstock Rock Poster Shows in Seattle, Austin, Barcelona and Mexico City, working with local printers and studios to build knowledge and activity, both cultural and economically. Andy provides specialized consulting, equipment sourcing, and
training to screenprinters around the globe, including small one person studios, universities, and commercial clients such as Nike, Facebook, and industrial clients doing in-plant decorating and printing. Recently he was at the Advanced Materials lab at University of British Columbia, installing their first screenprinting press for research into printing on flexible electronics and textiles.
MacDougall is a regular columnist and feature writer for Screenprinting Magazine (USA), as well as contributing articles to Wearables (USA), SignMedia (Can), and publications in the UK, India, and Brazil. He is the author of Screenprinting Today, the Basics, and helped (along with daughter Naomi, a book designer) publish the definitive A History of Screenprinting by Swiss author and educator Guido Lengwiler.
His dad taught him to letter with Speedball caligraphy nibs when he was 10, and now 57 years later he works with Speedball Art Products in North Carolina to develop and promote their screenprinting offerings to students and schools internationally.
Andy’s short lived career as a rock musician morphed into graphic design and then introduced him to the screenprinting process in Edmonton. After apprenticing in a number of shops and working in textiles and graphic printing, he started his own company in Vancouver. As the closest screen shop to Expo 86 (this was predigital) his company printed displays for many of the pavilions and exhibits, which in turn introduced him to the wider print and design community in Vancouver.
The company built a reputation as innovators and ?last resort? B2B printers, always up for a challenge to print on non-traditional objects and materials. These innovations included the first floppy discs in western Canada, the first printed satellite dishes, all sorts of 3D plastic parts and housings, edible dog chews, and a functional solar powered exposing system using light integrator and vac frame to control exposure.
Having used solvent inks and cleaners for years, he was an enthusiastic early adopter of waterbased inks in graphic applications, and in 1993 sold his commercial printing operation and moved back to Vancouver Island to print fine art prints and help others develop their waterbased printing skills by offering workshops and training. He also started manufacturing large format parallel lifting screen presses with partners – Parapress when they were made in Canada, and TMI Jaguar, made in Mexico. His Rabbit portable vacuum presses are found in the thousands worldwide, build from shared plans in his book and online.
Current projects include Screen the World, on online learning program that helps schools, artists, and entrepreneurs build their own screenprinting studio with locally sourced materials, and start creating work on t-shirts, posters, fine art, wood, and many other materials.
Locally done deeds in the Comox Valley outside of screenprinting and graphics include leading the project to relocate the Comox Valley Art Gallery into the old Courtenay firehall, and raising over $150,000 to upgrade the local theatre. He was the original marketing and media manager of Vancouver Island Musicfest (?97-2002) during its formative years, and still volunteers as MC on the Grierson Stage every year.
He loves motorcycle touring (current ride is a 2004 BMW RT1150) and enjoys playing loud rock, blues and whatever with his band mates the TBBz. ?
“Screenprinting remains one of the last bastions of the ancient art of Alchemy. What other process can turn a sheet of paper into a $1000 dollar bill with a piece of woven fabric, some ink, a squeegee, and human skill? – And then be used to create our cellphones, touch screens, solar cells, decorate textiles, rapid Covid and diabetes testing devices, and the controls of most consumer electronic devices and cars? It?s Art. It?s Science. It?s Screenprinting.?