Hand Pulled Prints, Books, Drawings and More

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reduction Cut - her name is december

The Holland Project, a local non-profit organization in Reno, Nevada that promotes artistic and musical events for young people, began the Holland Editions project about two years ago. This will be their third year producing the Holland Edition; a collection of prints by 12 artists in the Reno area each one featured in it's own month. Megan Berner, a printmaker and the organizer of this project as well as a board member of the Holland Project, was kind enough to invite me to participate in this years print portfolio.

As often happens I came up with a beautiful concept very soon but wasn't sure exactly how I would create it. There are so many options with printmaking and each method has pros and cons. The original idea called for creating a copper plate etching and then doing a drypoint and monotype on top to get some extra color and detail. Instead I ended up at the Black Rock Press with one mounted linoleum board and a solution - reduction cut block printing.
"her name is december" by Rachel Kaiser

Thanks to Megan Berner for the photo.

Relief is very direct. There is less process than with most intaglio techniques when creating wood or linoleum blocks. A reduction cut, sometimes called a "suicide cut", was a technique used by Pablo Picasso among other artists to achieve multiple colors from the same block instead of multiple blocks. Beginning with the first, lightest color, make the entire edition of prints. Then cut into the block a second time and print the entire edition again, rinse and repeat for the number of colors the image contains. For myself there is usually a  10-15% loss when creating multiple color prints, and that was true this time as well. The only way to get a copy of this print is to purchase the Holland Editions Portfolio. I must say I like it very much and hope to continue creating work like this in the future.

Inexpert photo by Rachel, see a few more details in this one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Free Swag!

Come early to the Indie Reno Holiday Craft Fair and get a free bag of goodies from all our vendors! Only the first 25 will get this sweet reward so don't delay - mark your calendar for NEXT SUNDAY!
Only a few days from now the Indie Reno Holiday Craft Fair will take place!  Many local artists will be selling their items from mosaics, jewelry and children's clothing to books, tote bags, and henna designs. This is a great opportunity to give back to the community and support local artists.

It's the happiest season of all - the Holiday Season! My family and friends are busy people and though we all make time to get together throughout the year there is something special about keeping the spirit with the ones you love. No matter what faith you hold dear the holidays are a good excuse to make merry, lavish your friends with goodies, and bake that extra pie.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Paper Cutting

Came across the lovely work of Annie Vought at Design*Sponge  last week and was thoroughly impressed. Her letters are an intense combination of imagery, display and word power. The lights from above showcase both the precise paper cutting and the thin nature of her material. Though she has shifted to letters I'm also a fan of her older work, the heart in particular which graphically delineates the organ without making it seem fleshy or raw.

Heart by Annie Vought 2005

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not everyone has former students of their father come up to them and ask "So was he, like, a spy or something?" when they realize who, exactly, your father is. To me this is not uncommon. No, my father has never been involved in espionage. He did speak Russian, and he did work for the government during the late 1980's and 1990's writing about communist countries like the U.S.S.R. and China for congress.

Phillip Kaiser, amazing educator/my dad

But what's more important is that now he uses that knowledge to teach young people about their own potential to influence their country through government. He is a high school teacher. I was very proud to find my dad's picture and an article about his experiences working for the U.S. Government in the local Reno News & Review today. He, Phillip, and my mother, Susan, have always held education in the highest esteem and passed their love of it to me. If all I can do to repay them, for how they have helped me throughout this life, is say "thank you" then here it is - thanks for being wonderful, ethical, passionate people and raising me to be the same. I am very lucky to have such supportive and intelligent people for parents. Their stories give me the inspiration to follow my dreams and the conviction to believe in my own mind and opinions.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Calacas Update!

It's so refreshing to see your art in new locations. I am so glad I participated in Las Calacas International Print Exchange, the print was beautiful and now my image is traveling to Nicaragua! So many amazing artists participated, including Wendy Willis who I was lucky to meet in person at the Rocky Mountain Printmaking Alliance this past April. My portfolio of prints from this exchange is still winging it's way to me across the country through the United States Postal Service, but there have been many amazing updates from different locations across America and Central America as the exhibition prints go up for display. 

Las Calacas Submission
My image is a copper plate etching and aquatint. A framed proof of this print is for sale at L'gallery in the 720 Tahoe Street studios. Head down soon to see my art in person. All purchases support student travel!
Under the dancing Diablo's trident you can see my print peeking out from the wall. How cool, my art is in another country!

Dia de los Muertos Festival
Also just received my International Print Exchange portfolio from Green Door Press. My collection is lovely, though I admit being partial to a lovely intaglio and cine colle piece with beautiful line work illustrating a man slowly losing his head. It's pinned up on my makeshift cork board!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Want to see my art in person? Prints of mine are on display at L'gallery at 720 Tahoe Street in Reno, Nevada until the end of November as part of the Haunted show put on by the Inkheads printmaking group. There are some breathtaking prints at very reasonable prices for sale at this gallery, most of the proceeds will fund a student's trip to the Southern Graphics Conference in March of 2012.

November is underway and I have had so much on my plate I haven't been updating as much as I like. I am the newly minted captain of my local Etsy team which has been re-named the Indie Reno team! Our lovely website www.indiereno.org has all kinds of information about our team, the next craft fair, and what we do both online and in Reno, Nevada. Thanks to David for being our bril webmaster!
FREE SWAG for the first 25 shoppers!

The Indie Reno Holiday Craft Fair isn't my next show, but it will be the first show I have a large hand in organizing. With the help of the indefatigable Shelly of Zizzies and Izzies, Heather of Chickadee Shop, and Erin of Erin Donnelley-Ellis I am taking leadership of my team as much as I can and bringing together our second independent holiday-themed craft fair. Our event will feature beautiful handmade art, clothing, prints, cards, tote bags, stuffed animals, embroidery, knit accessories, purses, feather adornments, geek items, and more. Vendors will have items in a variety of price ranges. Please visit the Indie Reno website to look at some of the fantastic shops that will be joining us for this fair. Last year we had almost 50 people waiting in line before our opening to get free swag and first pick of the many items inside. We even got a wonderful write up in the local Reno News & Review!

The High Desert Montessorri School will be hosting the Friends of HDMS Craft Fair on Saturday, November 12th. This wonderful school is an alternative educational environment with small class sizes and a different approach to learning environments and ideas for all ages. The Friends of HDMS Craft Fair will be held in their school at 2005 Silverada Boulevard in Reno, Nevada and will be open from 10am until 4pm. If you enjoy intimate craft shows with focused and well informed vendors and volunteers, like the Indie Reno Craft Fairs, then I hope to see you on the 12th.

A new art studio is opening down on Dickerson Road! The Wedge Ceramics Studio will be taking applications for members and resident artists as well as workshops. The proprietors are local, very knowledgeable and live close by. The Wedge is a great place to relax, work on your pottery, and partake in a community of other artists
drawing with a nib pen can be beautiful
Your bottle caps await!
Fall workshops at the Nevada Museum of Art are beginning to fill - please be sure to contact them as soon as possible to secure your place in Bottle Cap Creations (Saturday, November 12th), Beginning Book Binding (Saturday, December 3rd), and Pen and Ink Drawing
(Saturday, December 10th)!

In addition to all of this I am in the middle of creating my edition for the Holland Editions printing project, the cities of the world print exchange, and I am now employed full time. Please bear with me as I organize all of these changes and keep watching for more frequent updates as I accomplish these goals.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Words as Art

Fall is going to be one fun season this year! Chock full of workshops, classes, craft fairs and more I will also be continuing to develop my portfolio. Thankfully my work seems to be developing fairly naturally. One of the things I'm working on is calligraphy. After studying typesetting in college, and reading up on typography and design my abecedarian fascination continues in the world of handwriting.

There is an intimate je ne se quois about hand written letters, addresses and notes. An amalgam of ourselves, our families and our instructors the way we write tells a story. Who we are, how we communicate and how we educate ourselves are all made clear in a simple scribble. Working in an office and having friends who live far away means that I am lucky enough to be in the path of a lot of mail. Only occasionally do I find hand addressed envelopes or letters in my work but at home they are touchingly constant. I have saved almost every piece of correspondence I have received meaning one of my two desks is half full of empty envelopes and half full of words reminding me of graduations, birthdays, and occasions long past.

Calligraphy is not handwriting. Calligraphy is conforming the hand to reflect a certain style then adding a bit of yourself for flavor.
typesetting at Black Rock Press
 Typesetting is even more obedient in it's visual vocabulary. Yet type is so regular the organizer cannot help but add themselves to the equation even if it is through exactitude. Both of these art forms involve the power of declaration and literacy. A viewer is given no choice when exposed to calligraphic or type set art, they are as compelled to read into the piece literally as they are to reading stop signs and billboards. Literate people are subconsciously cued to understand or at least try to understand what they recognize as language. Even when printed in a mirror image or upside down people will tilt their heads or murmur to themselves as they try to read what is printed on the page. 

Denis Brown's A Thousand Wishes Series- calligraphy engraved in glass
 It takes talent and ingenuity to use words without literal expression. The amazing Denis Brown has developed many different styles of calligraphy full of energy. His website, Quill Skill, shows his traditional training and conventional hands next to some beautiful experimental work such as his big scale, performance and glass calligraphy. How can an art form so different from your own influence your work? What tools or materials do you "traditionally" and why? 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nevada Museum of Art Workshops

Great news - my fall workshops hosted through the E. L. Cord Museum School at the Nevada Museum of Art are all online and ready for sign-ups! Check out the Happenings tab above or the links below to learn more.

Bottle Cap Creations: Sign Up At the NMA, also listed on the Reno News and Review Events Calendar

Beginning Book Arts: Sign Up At the NMA, also listed on the 

Pen and Ink Drawing: Sign Up At the NMA, also listed on the Reno News and Review Events Calendar

Keep checking for more info on the Inkheads Show, my next craft fair and other artful surprises!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Inspiration for October

Autumn and spring are both influential times of the year. Where I live in northern Nevada they are short, perfunctory, a cusp of time between more earnest seasons. In my desert the sun is harsh, no matter when it shines, and the wind is just as tireless. Fall's signature is curvaceous and bright before the dry paleness of winter begins.

Fantastic link on the Inkheads blog lead me to a demonstration of a basic lithography process you can do in your kitchen. They recommend you have an etching press but keep that wooden spoon handy in case you don't find a mint-condition press in the middle of the road on your way home tonight.

Do you draw? Do you hate drawing? Do you like being connected to drawers everywhere? Check out the Sketchbook Project; a moving, growing, digitizing library of art books by creators from all over the United States. You can even sign up to participate!

Marriage. Between people it is a connection that escapes definition because each union is so diverse, so natural and so private. If you think of a white princess cut dress whenever you hear this word get inspired by a true Maharani. From the design, traditions, and flowers to the dancing, lenghas and religions this is celebration in a different light.

Keep in touch to learn about the calligraphy class I'm attending and find out about my next craft fair appearance in the Reno area.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Black Rock Press Book Arts Show

Black Rock Press student work on display

The art of binding books is ancient. Today students are still learning the craft of stitching, folding and cutting books by hand at different universities, museums and conventions all around the world. Reno and the University of Nevada, Reno are undeniably lucky to have Bob Blesse and the Black Rock Press. Bob's studio features many different letterpress machines, driven by foot, pedal and motor, as well as hundreds of pieces of wooden and metal type for student use.

Books created by his students will be on display at the McKinley Arts & Culture Center in downtown Reno until Friday, September 23rd and this is not a show to be missed. Students often produce some of the most interesting books as they are still in the exploratory stage of book creation. There will be a variety of techniques and materials in the exhibit and did I mention that it's free?

Head down to Riverside Drive, just beside the Keystone Bridge, and follow the signs to the Book Arts Exhibits. Find them on Facebook to keep up on future exhibits and more.  You won't be disappointed and you might just get inspired.

Don't forget I am teaching Beginning Book Binding this November at the NMA, you will be able to learn most of the methods featured in the show during my workshop!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Procrastination is NOT your friend!

Plans are always subject to change.  This fact will not change for Hell, high-water or a different definition of Earthly physics.  Even if you thrive on deadlines and early morning trips to the post office it is always a good idea to have a contingency or three for when your plans list lazily, or ferociously, to the left.  Organization can be a struggle for me given that I have an abhorrent memory.  To combat this defect I write down just about everything that comes my way.  Whether it's info about the next show I can participate in or what time my cat needs to take his medicine most of my life is held within the little pages of my daily journal.
On rare occasion I find myself slightly more organized that usually forecasted, as in the case with the La Calacas International Print Exchange.  I had just finished my IPE edition and was itching for another exchange, something with an attractive theme, a small edition size, and a deadline of a month or so.  All I wanted and more was in La Calacas, not only was it a skull/Dia de los Muertos theme but it was scheduled to travel to Nicaragua! I paid my fee, started etching a plate and was able to send my prints off in a timely manner. This afternoon I received an email from Carlos Barberena, the organizer of the exchange and a printmaker from Granada, letting me know that my prints arrived safe, sound, and on time!

Hark! What great news! It almost never happened.
Due to schedule changes and family obligations I had to alter my original plans of when to print. Luckily I had given myself a week of wiggle time to work on my plate, change my mind and more. Because I had begun my plate and printing process almost eight days early I was able to submit to this fantastic exchange. Please go check out the photos and look at the lovely work submitted by other artists from all around the world including Nicaragua, the U.S. and Mexico.

Also look out for the InkHeads - the printmaking group based at my alma mater and trying to make their way to the national printmaking convention, Southern Graphics Conference International. I am lucky to be showing with them this October during their fundraiser show.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Print Exchanges Etc.

Sneak peek at my latest plate
Sometimes it's difficult to find the proper motivation when beginning a project or body of work. For this reason it's great to participate in events involving other artists whether they are openings, social meetings or exchanges. Printmakers enjoy the ability to create multiples and that makes exchanging educational, interesting and helps connections with other artists. It's also a way to watch what other artists are doing and get inspired. This year I got excited and signed up for about eight exchanges so that's just about all I've been working on this summer. I find it helpful to work on things that are unrelated in theme and size to find out if there are certain motifs emerging. 

This plate is for La Calacas
After organizing 2.25 I have even more respect for the dedicated people who initiate and follow through on the print exchanges in which I participate. The most fun part is revealing all the prints! I wouldn't want to spoil that surprise, but I would like to give you a glimpse. Links to print exchange galleries and better photos will arrive soon after the curators post.

My IPE 2011 prints, can't give it away yet!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Workshops at the Nevada Museum of Art

Sneak a peek into my workshops for the Fall/Winter Class Schedule at the E.L. Cord Museum School - check the Happenings tab!

Stay informed about upcoming classes, workshops, shows and events by regularly reading up on my Happenings.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Old books make for great inspiration.

Over a year ago my friend, Katy Govan, was still finishing her Master of the Arts degree in Book Arts and felt that Reno deserved a quality book community. Between the great number of students that Bob Blesse has taught through the Black Rock Press over the years and the new popularity enjoyed by book arts as a craft Katy gathered a nice group of people. Our "Book Club" met about once a month. There was no formality - everyone brought their own supplies, there was a nominal fee to help Katy purchase supplies for the group and reimburse Bob for our use of his beautiful space. It was even collaborative when it came to teaching and learning different techniques! From creating and altering paper to learning new and old book bindings and box structures there was a different concept every time we met. To keep things lively we would choose a theme out of a hat every time we met, then work on our project in the month or so between meetings and bring our item, or another project, for show and tell.

However, as Katy came to the big finish with her Master's she obviously had less time to eat, sleep and do things besides creating books, boxes and a thesis paper much less run our club. Semester end is a busy time for most people in any case and we took a bit of a break.  We soldiered on in our studios, living rooms and second-bedrooms with thoughts of new binding structures dancing in our heads. "Book Club" was missed.
Book Club Member hard at work
our new techniquue
A free and open learning environment is truly priceless, especially when it connects you to other local artists, crafters and creators. Though I had a lot of other projects and demands on my time last year I always made sure I would be able to attend "Book Club." I need the kind of boost that comes from a collaborative and pressure-less working environment as much as I need the inspiration and stress of deadlines for my print exchanges.

Megan instructing us
This month Megan Jewett came to the fore with the initiative and commitment to send out emails, consult with Bob and organize a meeting. What bliss - what joy - what a horrible time! Summer is quickly coming to a close and school is just around the corner for students of every age. Unfortunately only a few of us were able to make our first re-meeting, but we definitely had a nice time! Megan brought a book idea, supplies and information for us to learn from and pretty soon we were all creating beautiful little ornament/bookie/things and in my opinion there is nothing better than something both ornamental and book related. Still hashing out thoughts for the next meeting.
What would you do with an old book?
What kind of group would you start if you had the time/money/venue? Are your goals and ideas realistic? Could you be making things too complicated - all you need to do is call a few friends, gather a few supplies and clean your living room!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nevada Museum of Art 2D Workshop

Recently I took part in an interesting two day workshop at the Nevada Museum of Art. Igor Burk, a graphic and product designer and owner of Protein Design, taught our workshop about moving from two dimensions into three. The concept, while simple, was also very vague. To be perfectly honest I was a bit disappointed and befuddled the first day of class, especially when the most inspired object was created by a 10 year-old.

What was I to do - despair over time wasted and a lack of inspiration? Could I compare myself to a pre-adolescent who was obviously more talented? Should I re-think my entire aim of being an artist based on such limited skills and knowledge? Of course! Artists are better at "agonizing self-scrutiny" than they are anything else. But after the despondence I surfaced with a warm, cuddly thought that greets me almost any time I am in an artistic quandary - just make a book.

Thus a book I did make, and stand, and "closure" device.
With images of fantastic book structures dancing in my head I took off for class on the next morning totally undecided about what I would do. Luckily time was a major factor. Not only was the class on it's last day, but at the end of the evening we would be displaying our works in the NMA lobby for the next four days! If I know one thing about myself it's that I am excellent on tight deadlines, as long as you aren't expecting magic. While I was expecting magic for myself I realized that I was not, actually, a witch so I decided to do an open-face double accordion structure. Disregarding all of my original ideas I busted out this strange monstrosity which I cannot help but love. It looks wonderful. It's not archival, it's not even really pretty in the traditional sense, but it is a great beginning and a fantastic conceptual starting point.
what do you see?

Thanks to Jill Jensen Mayorga for this photo.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Viscosity Monoprints

Happy accidents and experiments often yield great results.
Awhile back I posted about the amazing relief viscosity technique taught by Candace Nicol. This method was originally a metal plate intaglio etching process which Candace has altered and experimented with to create an entirely different application for the concept. Instead of etching metal plates we carve a relief plate made of Borco Board, a thin but sturdy and flexible plastic plate, and use ink of a different viscosity in several layers to produce a beautiful multiple color image.

Each print is very different even with the same color scheme.
This weekend past she had a fantastic class and was so generous as to allow me to participate for a few hours. Because the image is different every time it is printed, it's incredibly difficult to control all the variables introduced in this technique enough to create a faithful edition. To this end most viscosity prints are unique. You might recognize my plate if you read my first post about this method, but I think you would agree that this is not the same print though the image might be the same.

Thanks again to Candace for allowing me to take part in her workshop, and also to Tia, Lynn, Penny, Carol and Sue for welcoming me into their space for however short a time. See images from the rest of the workshop here on Candace's Blog.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bottle Cap Projects

Sign up to take this class at the Nevada Museum of Art on November 12th, read more about in on the Happenings tab.

Do you love drinking beer, soda and other fine liquids that are bottled? Well swig away, my friends, but save those bottle caps because they are the next cool thing! While I'm not following in the bodacious footsteps of Luna Lovegood and creating necklaces I have learned that with a little resin you can preserve almost anything the size of a penny in these lovely little vessels.

bottle caps full of resin

Bottle cap magnets and charms are a great way to recycle your bottle caps and preserve a small memento. From acorns, buttons, small knots and charms to photographs, drawings, and beads anything little can be suspended in clear resin and makes a useful and beautiful keepsake or gift. These are the best stocking stuffers ever. Candace Nicol taught me how it's done though I first learned the technique with my Etsy group the Handmade Hustlers, check out pictures of us making them on our facebook page. I am hoping to teach a workshop or two in this simple and fun process later this fall at the Nevada Museum of Art where I will teach Monoprinting with your Environment on August 13th this summer. 
bottle caps on my fridge!

beautiful little leaf

Friday, July 15, 2011

Moveable Type - Literally!

In this video Kyle (the blonde in the middle) is setting type in a chase to see if it will fit on the Platten press to my left. Eventually she had to move her project to the sign press on my right. This is a great view of her studio space including her furniture cabinet - which has a door! - her two presses and the number of people straining to catch a glimpse.

Last week I had the opportunity to meet the brave and beautiful Kyle Durrie of Power and Light Press at a Holland Reno event. If you've ever heard of Drive By Press, who came to Reno last year, this is a similar story of taking printing on the road.
When I first heard of someone taking an entire letterpress print shop on the road I was puzzled and impressed. Larger than people and weighing as much as a ton, letterpress machines are not what I would call portable. Transporting these ancient and heavy presses often costs thousands of dollars and Kyle had announced that she would be traveling all over the country! Needless to say, I was entranced.

The print I pulled with Kyle and her lovely business card

Moveable Type did not let me down. There was an epic amount of workshop space inside the linen truck Kyle had converted with custom cabinetry to hold not only some beautiful little presses, the likes of which I have never seen, but all her furniture, type, leading paper and even some plates. It was really a dream on wheels.
Though Power and Light Press is in Oregon, Kyle will be giving demonstrations at schools, museums, and workshop spaces all over the United States. Already she has been all over Washington, at the Hamilton Type Museum, and San Francisco. If you are close to one of her confirmed destinations (or en route to one!) there is a place on her website to request her visit! Yes, that's right - if it isn't too far out of the way you might be able to get Moveable Type in your own hometown! More information can be found here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

2.25 - My First Profesionally Curated Print Exchange

The 2.25 International Print Exchange

Bring the kids! Bring your parents! Most important, remember to bring yourself to see the latest print exchange to come to my art studio. Read more about how I organized the theme and created my own submission under my Creations tab. See the beautiful prints that were submitted for this exchange online at Candace Nicol's Blog!
my kitty example!

2.25 is an international print exchange, artists pay a small fee to support the creating and distribution of their prints then send in an edition of images for display. In this exchange artists sent in 10 prints and will receive 10 prints in return from other printmakers who participated. This is a fantastic way to learn about other printmakers, see what techniques people are using, and have a project with a deadline (if you need that sort of thing) As an added bonus, your print will be displayed either in a gallery or studio space of another artist. Learn more about this exchange on the Happenings tab.

This will also be the first opportunity to see the inspiring U.S. History Portfolio in which Candace Nicol is taking part. The exhibits will be up through all of the Artown celebration this July.
C.Nicol's beautiful 4-color etching from the U.S. History Portfolio

A breathtaking collection of expertly printed works of art, the U.S. History Portfolio showcases some of the best current print artists in the United States. Techniques, colors and inspirations are diverse. Each print touches on important events, people and inventions during a certain year in American history.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Clam Shell Box Making

Small workshops equal a lot of fun. With fewer people to keep track of, I can encourage individuals to explore their projects on higher levels. Projects become more complicated and unique when students know they have the direct attention of an instructor. A couple weeks ago I taught a box making class and though everyone's boxes were the same size each enclosure was unique to the creator.
beautiful clamshell and book by C. Wozy
Clam Shell enclosures, as they're called, are great in a number of different capacities. Beautiful as gifts on their own these boxes are exquisite "gift wrapping" especially when you make them yourself!  Clam Shells open to lay flat and have two interior trays to cuddle close whatever you choose to entrust to their care. This structure is perfect for portfolio cases, and if I ever get around to developing a serious body of work I will definitely be making my own portfolio cases and enclosures.
They are a great alternative for housing old photographs, prints, greeting cards and letters. I know my mom is constantly adding to her collection of family photographs but there is only so much room on her mantle, walls, and piano for framed pictures. If you like to keep images loose (and away from acidic non-archival papers, tapes and plastic) this is a nice way to preserve your memories.

My group was so inspired after the Clam Shell Box that they asked to create another enclosure! It's so invigorating to hear that people want to learn what you know. We created these small boxes out of some thicker board that I had given up on cutting down to the correct sizes for the Clam Shell project. Our enclosures were constructed from archival quality binder's board. Think REALLY thick cereal cardboard - not corrugated, not chip/tagboard - nice thick (well... 1/16th of an inch thick) and strong, perfect for building walls! The extra box was made from double thick board which was ordered for a class that didn't need the supplies, bonus for Rachel, but is (as I said above) twice as thick as the board I regularly use to cover books and create boxes. It was very difficult to cut down to the sizes we needed even with brand knew X-Acto blades. I will have to do some neat experimenting with that thick board, see if I can use it to my advantage.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

By Our Powers Combined

the amazing Mattias Adolfsson of Mattias Inks

A delicious union of my favorite science fiction series and paper art. This is a fantastic representation. What if the Borg were intent on making themselves a perfect balance of automata and flesh - as inspired by the Rococo and Baroque movements? This is the seed of inspiration germinating in a mind made fecund by more than just history, literature or education.

Let us all think this freely and see what wonders might be created.

Summer Print Exchanges & 2.25 Hanging this week!

2.25 International Print Exchange is a portfolio I am organizing and curating for exhibit at Oxboo Press during the month of July. The theme is simple - a square measuring 2.25" x 2.25" is all the size you have for your image. Artists were invited to print any original image with any printing technique. Earlier this spring I was in despair for my exchange. Only a few people had indicated they would participate and fewer had actually sent in their art. In the last two weeks I have received, literally, dozens of packages in the mail from Oregon, Texas, Puerto Rico, and California. Even more encouraging is that many more participants have paid the fee and have yet to send in their work! The show will be hung next week and I can't wait to see all that beautiful work up on our gallery walls.

The barbecue last night was a blast. We had free burgers and booze, and gave away all of the display posters from the Propaganda in Print exchange. The artists each sent us 15 prints, and will receive 10 prints back - the remaining 5 prints were for display, sale, other use at the press. Since the prints were all on non-archival paper (which will yellow and warp within a few months) we decided to spread the love and give the posters to people who would display and cherish them for as long as they were viable art pieces.

Saturday last found me printing an edition for Candace's participation in the Littlest Print Exchange, curated by Christopher Clark, which I am also VERY lucky to be a part of this year. I printed her solar plate and it seems that she intends to do a screen-print of some kind on top of that image. It was a lovely way to spend three and a half hours, and as I need to do my own edition for this exchange, I am very much looking forward to getting back on the press. It's been over a month since I actually printed anything. Even though I was not printing my own work, the method and the feel of the press - tight against the plate, ink of my gloves and the smell of veg oil in the air... well it obviously got my printing juices flowing again.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Welcome Friends - Open Studio Weekend!

Come Chill!
Come by my studio most any time this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and I will be making art, hanging out and other cool things (like convincing my Selectric typewriter to work!)
Come on typewriter- help a girl out, here!

Monday, June 13, 2011

NADA DADA Art Festival

Sunday June 19th at 5:00pm
NADA DADA Closing Party and BBQ
2035 Dickerson Rd. Reno, NV 89503 
BYOB and we supply FOOD, MUSIC, & ART!

June is in full swing and, if you know the art scene in Reno, that means it time for the annual anti-organization art festival called NADA DADA!

Facebook Page has more info

Over the years the non-profit art festival known as Artown has taken over the month of July in Reno, showering performance, gallery and family art events all over the city but especially downtown. Artown is an amazing organization of devoted people, artists and businesses that "bring art culture" to Reno during this annual event. To participate in an Artown event there is no cost but a long and extensive application and advertising process and the events are juried (a.k.a: they can tell you "no thanks, we don't want you to be in our party.")
The NADA DADA concept began as a reaction to Artown, local artists rebelled against the idea the Reno didn't have artistic culture. To be completely honest Reno is not San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, or any of the many other large and cosmopolitan cities that claim to be bastions of "culture" in the U.S.A. However, that doesn't mean that there are no artists in Nevada, or that there is no support for them (just almost no support.) The fact is that Nevada is a very rural state whose citizens have priorities other than art, especially with almost 15% unemployment in some of it's major metropolitan areas these days. There isn't as much state and federal grant money for artists these days and it usually comes with plenty of strings attached.
Artown, as a reliable and popular receiver of funds, is able to get uninterested citizens in "art" and "culture" by bringing recognizable performers and creators to the area. While it's nice to have a chance to see "famous" people, it's not supportive of the home team - artists and performers who have labored to maintain a creative environment and eke out an existence for themselves in this town. As the years continue more local events and artists are getting involved, hopefully one day the local population will get just as excited to see their neighbor's art as they are to see People From That Famous Place's art.

NADA DADA is the complete opposite of the organized, mediated, grant-receiving Artown. There are no leaders, founders, or favorites there are just participants and attendees and even that line is blurred. The concept is basic - find a hotel, rent a room. When artists decide they will get together and do it the same weekend at the same hotel it becomes NADA DADA. It's $150 to buy a table for the weekend, or you can open your studio.

Open Studio is the option I chose. From June 16th through the 19th I will be in my shop as much as I can, creating art, and hopefully selling a few cool things. On sale in my area in the back will be posters, art prints, cards, books, and magnets. There is also a whisper on the wind about grab bags with mysterious but cool contents for only $5! But you'll have to come by to check it out for yourself.

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Don't Forget! : Sunday June 19th at 5:00pm NADA DADA Closing Party and BBQ
2035 Dickerson Rd. Reno, NV 89503

Party will be held at Oxboo Press (my studio included) and at the Sierra Water Gardens across the street
It's Bring Your Own Beverage, but John will be cooking enough food for 50 people - so come early, meet cool people while seeing art and eating yummy BBQ food!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Put Me To Shame

Block Printing in India

If you weren't aware I have a hideous love affair with fabric and sewing. Hideous because I'm not that good at it yet, but I'm still quite devoted. This video was posted on INK+WIT, an interesting blog I stumbled upon today while looking for shirtwaist dress patterns. 

The technique this artisan is demonstrating is relief printing applied in the most basic possible way, but he is creating a lovely and complicated design with nothing more than a long table, a few different design blocks and a newspaper. He doesn't use registration but his precision is remarkable, especially in the second half of the video where he begins a lovely windowed design. He only has one color of ink, but his fabric is beautiful anyway. The technique couldn't be simpler, but even if his blocks were of geometric shapes instead of intricate paisley patterns they would be just as breathtaking.

To watch a craftsman so quickly and confidently creating is both humbling and inspiring. Within my studio and my home I am constantly thinking about potential projects and how to make them happen but it is easy to limit myself when I think of the supplies and space I would need. I am very lucky to have a nice home, a supportive partner, and a fantastic studio filled with all kinds of materials. The time to quit beating around the bush and waiting for things to come to me is now! Are some of your hobbies possible in such a simple environment? Would you continue to create if you were incapable of maintaining whatever space or supplies you currently have?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Letterpress Success

Printmaking is coming into vogue in the art and crafting community. After centuries of quietly printing away in their studios, letterpress printmakers in particular are being courted as the coolest thing since... well manuscripts. It's all thanks to Johannes Gutenberg, well... mostly thanks. It's probably true that the concept of moveable type was being bandied about by people before Gutenberg got involved but he was the one who is remembered for buckling down and getting his hands dirty. The concept, from today's perspective, is pretty simple - every letter, punctuation and number in a language are made into what are essentially little stamps. A type-setter puts the letters, punctuations, and numbers in the correct order (backwards and upside-down) to print (forwards and right-side up) onto a piece of paper using a press of some kind. In fact, the concept of referring to capitalized letters as "upper case" developed because non-capitalized type was kept lower on the shelf in front of the type-setter's work station (kinda like this diagram here.) Typography - the study of type - is truly amazing.

Setting type is time-consuming and requires attention to detail and precision even with professionals. And, of course, when you are finished printing you have to clean the type up nice and pretty then distribute it back to it's correct place in the cases. Distributing is probably the most tedious of tasks accompanying letterpress work but I find it to be therapeutic. Whenever I am lucky enough to work at The Black Rock Press I am consumed by the quietude and rhythm of type-setting. Since I graduated in 2009 the concept of hand-printing anything has become more than acceptable - it's offbeat chic. Because of the time and quality of work that goes into letterpress printing it is more impactful than digital printing. I seem to find the neatest print shops when I'm not looking for them.

Boxcar Press is in New York and strives to be a green as possible! An admirable goal I can relate to easily.
Briar Press is a community of letterpress artists and printmakers who talk about their beautiful machines techniques and more.

From wedding invitations to posters, and more the possibilities are endless when it comes to letterpress printing and it's always nice to see shops and communities succeeding.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Studio Changes and Stone Lithography

my messy new space
 Oxbow Press has become Oxboo Press. After a lot of hard work and difficult decisions my studio will no longer be pursuing a non-profit status and has become a private studio space. Mostly this means that I will have to get a business license in order to continue teaching but I will still have access to the workshop and my own private working area.This is going to be a change, but not a bad one. We will still be hosting many events, both social and creative, during the local Artown and NADA DADA festivals this summer. More info and dates will come soon for those events.

My Closeable Door and I!

In the mean time I am in the process of moving (again) to a slightly different studio space. Candace moved out of her office and I moved in! The space is perfect for me because it allows me to be in a social environment without being approachable if I need privacy. Vicki's giant piece of cork broke apart so I carved some stuff out of it to use myself. I'm pretty happy with the design I achieved - what do you think?

some of the litho stones resting
this one is backed with slate
Over this past week we were lucky enough to hold the truly amazing, talented and amicable Kathryn Polk. Check out her inspiring website - Non Indigenous Woman. Kathryn's specialty is stone lithography, an ancient and beautiful printmaking technique which has enthralled me for years. I was very lucky to be asked to create an image on one of our recently acquired stones as well as treat and print the stone! It was a truly fantastic experience which has re-awakened my love of printmaking in new ways. Kathryn was very generous to allow myself and a few others to observe her and Ann Hoff printing as well as allowing us to print ourselves. My heartfelt thanks go out to her. I had dreams about sponging stone after the first day!

my images after printing and etching
closeup of one stone
Traditional stone lithography teaches artists to use the LAW - Lithotene, Asphaltum, and Water - to achieve the "etch" that adheres an image drawn or transferred in grease pencil to the stone. However the genius George Roberts, who created many fantastic new non-toxic printmaking techniques including polyester plate lithography, and others discovered a way of using a certain kind of paste wax in place of the LAW. This was a monumental step forward from traditional chemicals which required respirators, ridiculous ventilation and were linked to cancer in artists who routinely used such substances.