Hand Pulled Prints, Books, Drawings and More

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Independant Art Fair at the Governor's Mansion

On November 20th I will be selling my printed wares at the Indie Reno Art Fair sponsored in part by the VSA of Nevada and hosted at the Governor's Mansion down town on Arlington Dr. This lovely affair will feature the goodies of many local small business owners and Etsians. Find out more and look at the link to my Etsy shop - Velesia's: Hand Printed Gifts - at www.indiereno.com. Everyone who is participating in this art show is local to Reno, Nevada so come out and support your neighbor artists!

Some of the Prints I made during the Viscosity workshop will be for sale. There will be a wide variety of things to purchase in the way of jewelry, knit goods, and accessories. My stall will have hand-pulled prints, books, cards and T-Shirts. Prints will be available either matted and encased in a clear plastic display sleeve, or framed. Many types of books will be available including hard-cover machine bound books and my "mini - books" which are usually between 2.5x2" or 2.5x3".

If you miss out on the VSA Indie Reno Craft Fair, be sure to check out the Oxbow Press Mini Xmas Sale on November 21st! Everything sold at the Mini Xmas Sale benefits Oxbow Press but also students who have attended workshops and classes since we opened in June of this year. This sale will begin on Sunday and people will be able to buy art, hand-made books, and more right off of the walls at the reception and right up until December 24th.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Experimentation with Ink Viscosity!

Had an excellent class with Candace Nicol Sunday and Saturday exploring the possibilities of printing multiple colors with one plate by combining intaglio and relief techniques using Borco Board and different rollers. Three rollers were used and each were different in their softness. The class used a 20 durometer, a 35 durometer and a 60 durometer roller, each of which are made by Takach Press. The lower the durometer number the softer the roller.
Inking station for the Viscosity Class
Candace Nicol demonstrating layer techniques
 This was a two day class which focused on press use, inking techniques, and color combinations. Each student was able to mix a color and most learned how to clean the beautiful, and expensive, rollers that we used during class. Because of how quick this technique is, and how experimental, the class was very prolific in some very interesting ways.
Students mixed ink and tested viscosity

The other big variable is the inks, and that's where the viscosity trick comes in; when inks are particularly thick or thin they react differently to the plate, the paper and each other. By combining and layering inks, each with a different viscosity, we were able to create some beautiful prints.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Etching Class at Oxbow Press

This December I get to teach Intaglio Etching for my birthday! Nope, not kidding - I'll be instructing a basic etching and aquatint class the day after I turn 23. There are only a couple spots left, so if you're interested, free on the 4th and 5th, and will be in the Reno area in December check it out. We will have lots of fun and will be learning about all kinds of things! Mezzotint, chine colle, burnishing and scraping, acrylic and soft ground and more will be talked about and each student will etch, aquatint and print a copper plate during class time. Depending on the enthusiasm of the students I may decide to offer a one day workshop in advanced intaglio techniques.

Copper Plate and Printed Image by Rachel Kaiser
In November Oxbow Press will be hosting a Miniature Christmas Show. Anyone who has participated in a workshop or class held at Oxbow will be able to submit art objects for sale and display in the Christmas Show. All entries are due to Candace Nicol and myself before November 10th while there will be a reception for the exhibit on the 21st. Anything displayed will be for sale until Friday, December 24th (the mythic Christmas Eve!), please contact myself or Candace if you are interested in participating in a work shop or if you qualify to submit for the show.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yummy Book Arts

My multiple signature class went exceptionally well this past Sunday. Two enthusiastic students, Carol and Penny, and I made some lovely books incorporating some glass work they brought to class.

There will be a Christmas Show at Oxbow Press opening on November 20th. Anyone who participates in a workshop at Oxbow Press before the show is allowed to submit their art for sale and display in the exhibit. I will be making at least two small, hard-cover sewn structure books for the Christmas Show.

Hollander's is having a sale this weekend, 10% off all purchase items!  Sounds like it's time to stock up on supplies. These are just a few of the beautiful papers we used in my book arts class, I can't wait to see what else Hollander's might have in stock.

Thanks go to Galen and Carol Brown for allowing us to use this beautiful book press at Oxbow! Here the press is used by my class to prepare their text blocks for casing-in to their cloth bound hard covers; it has been indispensable for my book making classes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Studio Space

My methods, insofar as art creation are concerned, resemble organized chaos. Each show that is displayed in the Oxbow Gallery hosts a reception allowing the public to come look at the studio. Many people come upstairs where there is community work space as well as the studio space of myself and several other artists.

 It's nice to have studio space that is separate from the main workshop area. The community work space upstairs is a "dry" area meant for things like drawing, book arts, and dry-point in stead of inking, painting and screen printing. 

 Multiple signature books with Penny and Carol

Between six and seven people can comfortably use the area at one time and still have the room to work. I like teaching in this area because there is little to distract my students. When the shop is closed to the public (on days when only members and resident artists are allowed to visit) this is a wonderful place for me to spread out. Come by in person on Thursdays to see it live!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Printmaking in Reno

Recently I was interviewed by the University of Nevada, Reno's school newspaper, the Sagebrush, about printmaking in Reno and it occurred to me that many people in my own community are unaware of the art that I create and the community here. Read the complete article at the Sagebrush website.

If you've ever visited Reno, NV you are aware of it's faults and charms. Reno is a lovely, scenic city where nearly every street corner affords enlightening views of the Sierra Nevada and Ruby Mountain ranges, there is world class skiing within forty minutes of driving as well as the eighth deepest lake on the planet - the famously clear Lake Tahoe. However, it is a relatively small city which means that many things more common to cosmopolitan areas are lacking.

Reno is lucky to have a nationally ranking art museum in the Nevada Museum of Art, an institution that not only hosts and displays works from Europe and abroad but offers local artists the chance to show work as well as hosting classes at their E.L. Cord Museum School, another place I teach.

There is a wonderful group of printmakers who call themselves the Printmaker's Conspiracy. Printmaker's Conspiracy meets up routinely to share new techniques, discuss current work, and develop group projects that are either collaborative or simply provide the opportunity to show work as a club.

An altogether different kind of printmaking - letterpress - is what happens up at Robert (Bob) Blesse's Black Rock Press. Affiliated with the University of Nevada, Reno, the Black Rock Press was founded in the 1970's, it is a specialized publisher who invites authors to print work with them in limited editions. Students of the University who take book arts classes have access to multiple presses, all letterpress machines, the oldest of which is a cast iron Colombian newsprint press which was created in the 1800's and is still in working condition.

Oxbow Press is the newest addition to the printmaking scene in Reno, having opened in June of 2010. We are still in the process of finalizing our 501C3, but are operating at full power hosting classes in printmaking, book arts and more. As opposed to being a school sponsored organization or a small group Oxbow Press is an educational opportunity for anyone interested in delving into the fine and fascinating world of printmaking. Our classes are affordable considering the expense of acquiring three presses, each of which are worth several thousand dollars, as well as allowing certain materials to be accessible to members and workshop students at any time. Most importantly we offer free events and an admission-free gallery where the public can look at print art. The press is also open to the public three days a week - Thursday, Saturday and Sunday - if neighbors or friends are interested in taking a tour of the gallery, print shop, resident artist studios and more.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Book Arts and Printmaking

If  you weren't aware - I LOVE books. When I realized it was possible to combine my love for books with my passion for art things got exciting for me very quickly. Lately I have been teaching book-making classes at Oxbow Press. It's quite different being a teacher, I enjoy being able to pass on my skills to enthusiastic learners and the process is quite fun.

 The books and box I made with techniques I learned at the Black Rock Press with Katy Govan and Bob Blesse, the framed print is a four color etching of my kitty in a window.

There are many different avenues to explore in the realm of book-making. Many artists focus on one part of the book, such as the binding, the enclosure, the cover paper (or cloth) or the text block. My art books are usually focused on content. A book full of empty pages says many things to me, it speaks of potential, of opportunity, but also of lack. If I make an "art" book their pages include images, story, or more.

These are books I have made with Katy Govan as well as my first two book arts groups. 

The process of making a book is exact, precise and structured. Because traditional book-making is in sharp contrast to my usual methods I find that it can be a great way to focus and relax simultaneously. There are many avenues through which I can make my mark on the book, but at a certain point it all comes down to the process. Tomorrow will be the last class in my book-making series, we will be making multiple signature hard-bound books. Stay tuned for further pictures.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Current Works

In the past my work has been more focused on mythology/literature and their roles influencing modern culture. Lately my inspiration has been much more limited.

Growing up with dogs was lots of fun, but even as a little girl I always wanted a cat. When I moved out and my partner and I decided to get a pet cats were on the top of the list. Ahab was our first adoptee from the SPCA of Reno. Crotchety, dignified and majestic Ahab is as obsessive about cleaning himself as his namesake was about cetaceans. Only a few months ago the fat, fluffy and less than intelligent Alphonse decided he would come live with us. The cats interact with each other, us, and their environment in many different ways. Though they are both cats they both deal with things very differently. My "cat art" explores the intentions and imaginings of my two pets.

One of my first forays into screen-printing.

 These are images from a project I did for the Reno News and Review produced by the Sierra Arts Foundation. Candace and Alexandria Nicol, Carole-Ann Ricketts and myself all decorated RN&R news stands to be displayed around Reno in an effort to spread art and awareness about Sierra Arts and Oxbow Press. The quest is still on to find where they actually placed my newsstand, stay tuned for more pictures when I find it.

Kittyzilla Attacks!

 Kitties in the Catnip Tree
My favorite - Kitty vs. Kraken

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Traditional Art Forms and Eco Friendly Methods

Printmaking is ancient. One of the first things that attracted me to printmaking was the knowledge that I would be learning one of the oldest art forms known to man! Through the centuries relief printmaking has stayed essentially the same but there are many other techniques that have been created or discovered only recently. Traditional methods are important to me, I relish the knowledge that I participate in such an old art form. However, many of the materials and procedures first used for printmaking are very toxic.

To protect the printmakers' body and the environment, Oxbow Press is as "green" as a print shop can be! Instead of using mineral spirits or paint thinner we use vegetable oil for cleaning plates, inks, and tools in combination with safe cleaning solutions like Simple Green. Unfortunately there are some printing processes that cannot be done without toxic materials. However, it is possible to complete most printing techniques with oil, water or alcohol clean-up.

Stay tuned to check out photos of my studio at Oxbow Press (www.oxbowpress.org)