#6 - Maggie Burns

I first came across Maggie Burns’ name upon reading a posting on Ink Kitchen centering around Barrel Maker Printing, a print shop located in the Chicago area.

When I went to Barrel Maker Printing’s site, and saw that Maggie had the title Lord of the Screens, getting her on the show was a necessity.

I love the concept that someone wants to run the Screen Department. She mentions in the episode that a lot of people don’t think about the screen portion of the print process too much. Good to know someone is looking out for us!

Through doing some research about Maggie’s work, I came across her personal art and was interested in talking about her drive to raise awareness about mental illness. My concern was that it didn’t fit the theme. Nobody, however, is a flat-image. So, if I’m going to have interviews with people, it would be wise to cover all their sides.

After checking with Maggie, neither of us saw any issues in talking about it and it’s one of my favorite segments of the episode. I hope it brings you value.

Upon conducting the interview, I was pleased to find that not only is Maggie extremely knowledgeable about her work, but also humble and funny. I couldn’t be happier to have someone like her on the show.

Let’s get started!

First off, we had some technical glitches throughout the podcast. I enjoy the Anchor app, but you must have a strong signal or you’re asking for trouble. Live and Learn.

Maggie was a trooper, though, and we powered through.

• We began by talking about Maggie’s time at Northern Illinois University and her switch from a photography major to the printmaking program.

“The way I see it is you can’t have a great print unless you have a great screen.”


• I love how Maggie clearly sees the importance of her role, and the roles of others, in the shop. Not only does that speak to her understanding of her work but how much Barrel Maker values the process. So great to see!


• Printing is a game of mitigating the mistakes that will occur. Maggie’s method of thinking through the steps of creating a screen makes the process of figuring out how to learn from errors a lot smoother. By tracking herself, she is able to eliminate variables and, oddly enough, throw a wrench in the works to ensure she is working at an optimum level.

“With so many art forms…so much of it is trial and error. There’s only so much you can be taught.”



• Maggie’s arrival at a print shop and progress thereafter was similar to mine: Craigslist, happenstance, and immersion. It was cool to see how others can find a passion job by taking a flyer on a position.

• Hearing Maggie talk about Barrel Maker drives home the idea of shop culture. She clearly loves working at the shop and feels part of a team. That feeling seems to make her, you know, like want to pursue her passion in the workplace, Everyone wins.

• I’m starting to see the reason they have such a great reputation in the industry: happy people = great prints. Go figure!


“If you had to ask me to describe printmaking in one word, it would be “nuance.””


• Love Maggie’s thoughts on how the idea of “Master Printer” should be looked on as someone who has a love of the process. Perfection is impossible, so we should just focus on improving our processes.


• Totally hit home to me when Maggie was talking about people telling those who struggle with depression that they just have to get on with it. I’ve been guilty of that and it made me think about how my actions, even when coming from a loving place, can be harmful.

• Here are the Hyperbole and a Half comics that Maggie mentioned: Adventures in Depression and Depression Part Two.

Maggie’s online portfolio.

“You know someone. You might think you don’t but you do... I think it’s really important to understand them. Because that’s the way you can be the best friend, or partner, or whatever it may be to the people in your life who do.”


Rob Green