Printmaking

Keeping Busy

I’ve been good about always having a project in the works — never being entirely without some art endeavor which requires my attention so that I avoid the dreaded enervating inertia — and it seems to be working.

This week our collaborative team produced 9 unique prints for the upcoming TVAA exhibition “Four Eyes: An Optical Collusion.” Here are 3 of the more varied versions:

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Perfect repetition was never our goal, in part because we wanted to see how varying the ink would change the final result — and we really do love the variety — but also because we knew we would never be able to achieve perfect repetition and had no desire to take all the joy out of the process by having an unrealistic expectation.

As you know I also had plenty of time to make pom poms this week and this is the end result of my “Hit & Miss” marathon. Pom pow!:

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I’ve also been working on my new Inspiration Book. This one will have things I want, or that inspire me, sprouting out of heads. Here are a couple of pages. Some done. Some not done.

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I’m just keeping busy. Perfect repetition is not my goal, but repeating the pattern with room for variation seems to leave lots of room for joy in the process.

We Ink it Up & Pull it Off…

Our background prints had two orbits of the sun to dry, so first thing this Monday morning, Terry, Marilyn, Shirley — my mom, and I were back at Wingtip Press to ink up our second blocks and pull our final prints.

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Terry would have to do the math to tell you the number of variables we had with 4 artists, 10 blocks (I had 4 not 2), 5 colors, and any number of fractions of inches of difference between river connections twixt the blocks.

But, even I can tell you this…registration is very tricky!

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Each of our prints is slightly different, but each is also beautiful in its own way.

Here you can see the variation between two of them:

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and…

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I even think the blocks themselves are beautiful after we’ve pulled the prints:

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Now all that remains to be done is to select the print we will show in the TVAA exhibition of collaborative works which will be hung in the offices of Boise State Public Radio.

That exhibition will be called “Four Eyes: An Optical Collusion” and opens June 6, 2014, so go ahead and mark your calendar.

In ink.

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Laying the Groundwork

Dang. I was really hoping to have a nice tidy post with a whole “start to finish” story laid out for you about the wood cut collaborative print I’m working on. But things are never tidy that way are they?

And there’s the rub.

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Well, actually there’s the rubbing of our four blocks after we carved them, and before we printed them. My feathers are at the top.

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Today we met at Wingtip Press and set up to begin printing the background layer of our prints.

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Luckily Terry Burkes is one of the artists collaborating on this project and she is good with numbers and geometry and quadratic equations and how long it takes to orbit the Earth, and other important things you need to know when you are printing more than one color with more than one block and making more than one print. If you know what I mean. (And good on you if you do, because I have no idea what I’m talking about.)

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We made 9 prints with our background colors of Crimson and Yellow Ochre. You can see the blocks above which are inked and ready for the paper to be placed, pressed, and the print pulled.

Next week we’ll be back in the studio doing the second layer, with the detailed images in the rubbing above, using darker cool colors. They are going to be beautiful — and in this case, I know exactly what I’m talking about.

Confluence

I’ve been working on a woodcut for a collaborative print which I’ll be producing with three other artists at Wingtip Press. Our piece features a bird’s eye view of the Boise River which runs through each of our very differently patterned blocks and ties the four pieces together. Each of us chose a theme appropriate to the river — cottonwood fluff, a nest of goose eggs in the tall grass, trees along the river’s bank, and my block which has an overall pattern of feathers.

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The process of creating the block has been really satisfying as I had forgotten how much fun it is to carve one, and then be able to make multiple images. I literally had not carved a block since I was 9 years old!

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While all of this was going on, I got together with a new friend I met a year ago but had not been able to reconnect with until now, and who I’m sure I’ll be sharing more information about in future posts — Betsy Balch. Betsy designs scarves which she produces and sells, and I have one of her beautiful cashmere “bandana” designs (which is frankly awesome with my painted cowgirl boots!).

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Betsy loaned me one of her favorite inspiration books (which I will also be covering in a future post) called The Printed Square which is a picture book of vintage handkerchiefs like this one:

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Now, I don’t know about you, but my mind can’t help but make one of those “SET” combinations I’m so fond of out of all of these things. And then, throw in the Boise river too, and what have we got? We’ve got confluence!

Confluence: the coming together of 2 or more streams, people, or things; their place of junction; assemblage.

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I LOVE this kind of thing! Birds of a feather coming together my peeps. Birds of a feather!

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