Saturday, February 27, 2010

Karen Kunc Demo

On Thursday, a friend invited me up to her printmaking class at Wheaton College (Norton, Mass) to sit in on a woodcut demo by Karen Kunc. This was a wonderful opportunity to see the artist in action, hear her discuss her techniques and processes and then view her work in the Beard Gallery.

I have always been intrigued by the unique opportunities that the transferred image affords. Over the years, I have researched and worked in a number of processes and never tire of the technical aspects of the various mediums. I welcome the opportunity to see what "tricks of the trade" others have to offer. Fortunately, printmakers are a very generous bunch who love to share their expertise.

Tear, Tear

Didn't get a lot done in the studio this past week. I was slightly derailed by a physical discovery on Monday morning, which lead to various appointments and records gathering. Sometimes things just crop up out of the blue and everything else takes a back seat. As I was organizing some work, to keep busy, I came across a piece I did the last time nature threw me a curve ball. Fortunately all turned out well then and I'm convinced that it will be the same this time.

I titled this print Tear, Tear. It's two plates, a collagraph and a photo intaglio, with chine colle and thread. I loved the fact that the same word "tear" had two different meanings but those definitions seemed to be so linked and appropriate at the time.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

OK, So I'm a Magpie

As I was straightening up my studio, I was noticing how many "little" collections have cropped up over the years. I just can't seem to help myself when it comes to picking up or hanging on to stuff. Before I realize it, another collection is born.

I know that I have another container of keys stored away somewhere as well as another box of glasses. There's jars of wishbones, watch parts, and insects and 3 envelopes of moth wings.

As a nod to my love of the Wizard of Oz, I've inadvertently started a collection of hour glasses and if the Tin Man should stop by, well my collection of oil cans would serve him well.

Six antique irons stand ready on a windowsill. They're actually quite useful so I think of them as tools rather than a collection. They're used as weights when gluing collagraphs, collages and books and to hold printing paper in place, on the press bed, when printing multiple plates. I also discovered that two of them spaced just so are perfect when it comes to holding my large roller when I'm in the process of printing.

I've been a Magpie all my life; I can't help it. My collecting tendencies were magnified when I was teaching because I was always looking for interesting things for my students to draw. It was not uncommon for me to drag home some pretty strange things for my classroom and I actually developed quite a reputation for setting up fantastic still life arrangements. (Someone once called me a frustrated window designer.) You can imagine my still-life closet after 35 years of teaching! The kids were often blown away by what awaited them and the best part was that they were inspired and couldn't wait to do some solid observational drawing.

The bottom line is that I need "treasures" around me
. I love their forms, colors and textures and find inspiration in objects; not to mention that it makes for an interesting environment. I just need to be mindful of keeping this habit in check.

There's Nothing Like a Good Book

A few years ago my husband made me this wonderful bookshelf. (He's fantastic in the wood shop!) It's composed of 3 vertical and 8 horizontal planks of wood that slide together and interlock like a giant puzzle. There's no mechanical fasteners used and if you need to move the shelf, you just slide it apart. It's a great piece of furniture and a work of art in its own right.

Lately I've been thinking that I need to do a little weeding out before books and magazines take over completely. (I'm a sucker for art books.) I plan on going through everything and pass on volumes I don't need.

This may turn out to be easier said than done.

Finishing Touches

Spent the morning punching holes, tapping in eyelets and lacing thread onto my recent edition.

I wanted (and needed) to get the bits and pieces, tools and whatnot out of the way so I could straighten up before starting a new piece; a clean slate so to speak.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I just completed "Bound".

I'm happy that I moved the quartet of images from the center of the background and introduced a more random lace pattern. There are two plates. The background plate was inked as an intaglio with a warm yellow and then a surface roll of gray blue ink was applied. The small intaglio plate was inked in a dark blue gray, placed in position, and run through the press.

I finished the print by adding metal eyelets and black cotton twine for lacing. Yellow ocher thread was hand stitched in the central section.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stepping Back to Move Forward

The piece I'm working on just doesn't seem to be coming together; it's too static. I've decided to experiment with other options so I've cut up some of the proofs and played around with rearranging the background. I ended up making a new negative, on transparent mylar, that is a combination of a printed lace pattern, Stablio pencil, and Graphic Arts water-based ink. After making a new plate, I'm ready to pull some proofs and see what happens.

Sometimes you just have to take a step back to move forward.