Who we are
Wachiay Studio is a screenprint shop operated by the Wachiay Friendship Centre in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. We provide textile, poster, and fine art printing services and host a wide range of workshops, trainings, and community events.
Our studio is located in the traditional lands of the K’ómoks and Pentlach First Nations, including Sathloot, Sasitla, leeksun, Puntledge, Cha’chae, and Tat’poos.
A little history
In 2013, screen printer Andy Macdougall and Northwest Coast Artist Andy Everson founded an after-school program at Wachiay Friendship Centre to teach youth to screen print. The program, called One Tribe, bridged art and entrepreneurship, with students selling their wares at markets and other community events. The program’s success led to the incorporation of Wachiay Studio in 2015.
Over the past seven years we have grown into a creative hub, education centre, and commercial print shop; we have printed banners for Idle No More, problem solved how to print on unique materials like drums and hides, created tour posters for Said the Whale, renovated and doubled our studio space, developed a fully-online screenprinting course, and have grown a community of ink fiends.
What matters to us
Wachiay Studio operates using the principles of social enterprise, meaning our activities and profits support our community. Our goals are:
- To share screen printing, design, and business skills with our community
- To promote and collaborate with Indigenous artists and peoples
- To support small-scale artists and entrepreneurs, particularly those living in rural and remote areas
- To bolster local economies through supporting artists and entrepreneurs
- To innovate more sustainable screen printing methods, for example by using water based ink (link)
What we do
We are more than just a ‘silkscreen’ shop.
As a creative hub, we welcome artists from across North America to learn, collaborate, and create through screenprinting and help to bring their visions to life.
As an education centre, we provide a wide variety of training programs from basic to advanced. This includes bringing specialized workshops to elementary and secondary schools, hosting evening and weekend introductory courses, and offering one-on-one training and mentoring.
As a commercial screenprint shop, we source and print garments, posters, fine art prints, and a range of materials including wood, plastics, metal, glass, drums, and hides for a wide variety of local artists, regional retail and manufacturing businesses, clubs, and schools.
Studio Director, Production Artist and Studio Technician
As an avid creator, Scott loves working with wood in the shop, and likewise, loves building and designing on the computer. He is learning the art of programming and likes to sneak in a computer game or two in his spare time.
When not building or designing Scott can be found somewhere out in nature, working in his backyard, or practicing martial arts.
Intricately crafted objects
Andy MacDougall helped establish Wachiay Studio in 2015. He retired from day to day duties in 2021 but continues to work with staff on special projects & educational initiatives, including screentheworld.org. In 2007 he was inducted to the Academy of Screenprinting Technology for ongoing contributions to the industry including producing the books ‘Screenprinting Today – the Basics’, and a ‘History of Screen Printing’, numerous magazine articles & live screenprinting demonstrations from Montreal to Milwaukee. He currently hosts the podcast & column ‘Art, Ad, or Alchemy’ for Screenprinting Magazine in the USA.
Red Smokey, a sunny morning, a motorcycle on an empty twisting mountain road.
Lead Production Printer
Wilson’s creative journey began during his hockey career when he started creating unique goalie masks for himself. He built his first laser cutter (and his second, and his third) and dove headfirst into stencil work. From here it was an easy transition to screenprinting and voila! As a self-taught stencil artist, and now as a production printer at Wachiay Studio, Wilson is fueled by a desire to problem solve, improve on his skills, and put stickers on everything. He is a cat person to his very core and his enthusiasm for screenprinting is sky-high and contagious!
Cats (especially Wicket), Andy MacDougall (see above), Wu-Tang Clan
Emily Thiessen (she/her)
Community Art Coordinator
Emily screen printed fundraiser t-shirts and protest banners in her bedroom for three years before moving to beautiful K’omoks territories to work at Wachiay Studio. She is also an illustrator, muralist, and climate justice organizer. Nerd out with her about analogue design, traditional crafts, Photoshop tricks, and colour!
Emily comes from Malaysian-Chinese and Mennonite ancestry and grew up in Victoria on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories. Find more of her work on her website.
Kenojuak Ashevak, Beautiful Trouble, posters from the 1930s, the Puntledge river
Acacia Goble (she/her)
Acacia is the master of details; whether it’s dreaming up a unique character to draw down to the freckle or folding a perfectly crisp shirt. Acacia’s passion for screenprinting grew from her highschool art class. Since then, she has established her own home studio where she prints posters and t-shirts, is completing her Diploma of Fine Arts at North Island College, and is an indispensable member of the Wachiay team!