What: Studio 6000 printmaking space

When: Visitors welcome when members are present

Where: 211 E. Sun Ranch Drive, Unit C, Sisters

Contact: bookplatt@gmail.com

In the wake of Bend Art Center’s recent closure, a group of eight artists has opened Studio 6000, a printmaking collective in Sisters. The high-ceilinged, white-walled, 2,000-square-foot space is home to three etching presses and sits in a cluster of warehouses on Sun Ranch Drive.

For the printmakers involved in Studio 6000, its creation was a labor of love.

“I came through the door the other day, and it was like walking into a dream,” said founding member Carolyn Platt, “but it’s a dream come true.”

“Moving on to this place has been rejuvenating for all of us, just to know that we have a place,” Member artist Jane Quale said. “It’s not gone. It just moved to cheaper property.”

The group, which moved in Aug. 1, named the space Studio 6000 in honor of Bend artist Pat Clark’s first printmaking space in Arizona, which was situated at 6,000 feet in elevation, according to Platt.

If you’ve never been to the Southwest, but Studio 6000 still has a familiar air, that could be because of Atelier 6000, the Bend printmaking and book arts studio Clark opened in Bend in 2007. The printmaking studio, also known as A6, endured 12 years. Most recently, A6’s home was the rear portion of the recently shuttered — but not deceased — Bend Art Center, which was in the Bend Box Factory until closing in August.

Of the three presses on hand, two were made by Portland machinist Ray Trayle. Trayle’s presses are revered by printmakers, including the folks at Studio 6000. One of the presses is owned by Clark; the other by member artist Janet Brockway, who was not present during the interview.

“We’ve got two of them, so that’s pretty lucky,” Platt said.

“They are very cherished in the Northwest,” Quale said of the presses.

Platt and Quale serve on the board of BAC, which Platt described as being in a “gestational” state as it seeks a new location. In the meantime, Studio 6000 plans to host printmaking classes under the BAC imprimatur.

“We didn’t want to liquidate all of this equipment because we’ll want to use it,” said Quale, Bend Art Center’s board president. “So we were looking for a place to store it and had talked to a couple of organizations that were talking about storing it for us in barns and that kind of thing. And then Carolyn found this space, and it just seemed like a really good fit that we (Bend Art Center) could lend the equipment to this collective so they could use it until we figure out where we’re going to be.”

Unlike A6, which sold studio access to artists, Studio 6000 is a collective of eight artists sharing a rental space — and they have room for a handful more artists. Pine Meadow Ranch, an artist residency in Sisters, has signed on as a ninth member, “so they can have printmakers come do their residencies, stay there, but then work in this studio,” Quale said, “which is really great for our membership, because it brings somebody with a different skill set, a different approach.”

Though just settling in, Studio 6000 plans to offer punch cards for those who want to purchase access to the presses “but don’t want to bite the bullet” and become full-fledged members.

Member Barbara Kennedy was on hand last week at the studio along with Quale, Platt and Platt’s husband, Paul Alan Bennett. Kennedy said she appreciates the kind of creative collaboration the space affords, as well as the ease of getting there. Neighboring spaces are home to other makers, including a tile maker and a fine woodworker, “so there’s a bunch of creatives in here,” she said.

Kennedy said her aesthetic tends toward earth tones. “My thing is open spaces and desert landscapes and dramatic skies, so you see those colors a lot in my art.”

She was busy prepping a few new plates last week for what she called an experiment in viscosity, in which thicker and thinner inks are used to create dimension.

“I’m trying to master the technique because I like the look of it,” she said.

Studio 6000’s members come from around Central Oregon, including Sunriver and Bend. Kennedy, a retired forest service worker, drives from her Crooked River Ranch home, about a 30-minute commute each way.

“With the traffic in Bend these days, I can take the back roads and get here much faster, about half the time,” she said. She plans to be there three or four days a week.

“I want to get good,” she said. “There are a lot of people to learn from here. One of the things I love is the energy of the people, and so many people that have so much expertise. I feel like we can learn and inspire each other.”

Kennedy stressed that “the purpose here is a working studio. … This is not a gallery. It’s really not our intent, at least on a big scale, to display — other than special occasions — or have shows on a regular basis. It’s more (a) space to work, create.”

There are, however, possibilities of member shows in other galleries and spaces as well as Christmas and spring sales out of the studio, the members said. The consensus among the four artists present was that Studio 6000 will be joining the Sisters Art Association, after which it will likely take part in the association’s yearly studio tour.

“You’re talking to us before we’ve had our meeting,” Platt said, laughing. “Four of us are speaking for eight.”