Hand Pulled Prints, Books, Drawings and More

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.

Join Us! Facebook Us!

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.