Last May I participated in a class with Julia Talcott at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown. In this class we carved 24″ X 36″ linoleum blocks and created big black and white prints. We printed the blocks using a steamroller.
Over the last few months I worked on additional linoleum block prints and now I have a series of four prints completed. I worked at MIXIT Studio in Somerville during the summer to print the four pieces in editions of ten. The prints are inspired by the Hokusai show I saw recently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the work of John James Audubon.
I had not been to Haystack in over 35 years. I was there three times as a young emerging artist, twice in ceramic classes and once as a teaching assistant in printmaking. This place is as beautiful and inspiring as ever. Even more so than it was for me in my twenties. To have two peaceful weeks in a studio filled with artists of all ages and backgrounds to pursue some new directions in Japanese woodblock printing with our teacher Takuji Hamanaka made me delirious with the possibilities. I was in the studio until midnight most nights. Haystack thoughtfully brings together passionate teachers and a delightful mix of artists/makers/craftspersons/game changers.
The buildings are perfectly designed by Edward Larabee Barnes for working and for resting (mostly working). Haystack is designed to nurture creativity and to encourage questioning and to respect and revere the search for meaning. I was touched that the campus has been so lovingly rebuilt over and over and it was still there for me when I was ready to go back there this summer. So much was the same. The sense of community, the great food, the conversations between the generations, the freezing dips in the ocean, the auction where so much generosity was put forth to raise money for scholarships. Below are a few views of the thousands of worn shingles that cover the buildings at Haystack.
Since 2007, the Monterey Peninsula College printmakers have devoted the first Saturday in May to printmaking. What began in the Monterey Bay Area of California has become a worldwide event, with printmakers participating from over a dozen countries, on five continents. We didn’t even know this as we planned to print fifteen large (24″ X 36″) linoleum blocks at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA on May 2nd, 2015. A class taught by Julia Talcott was culminating in a Big Print Day where we were using a steamroller as a printing press. And we were accidentally part of an international day devoted to printmaking! My two prints were designed as an homage to Audubon’s large-scale bird paintings. One is a wading bird and the other is a flying bird where the wingspan fills the three-foot length of the linoleum block. The backgrounds of the two prints are filled with swirls and patterns and circles and stars and comets.
Fifteen artists worked together rolling out ink and wrangling huge sheets of paper and cleaning all of the blocks and rollers over and over throughout the day. All thirty prints that we made on May 2nd were big and bold and black and white.
We also printed a Charles River Alphabet organized by Leslie Evans, with 26 artists participating. We each chose a letter and created an image of something associated with the Charles River.
In July I was privileged to take a class called Cut it Through with Beatrice Coron at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown (FAWC). Beatrice has made her career in the fine arts by cutting stories out of paper.
Her favorite “paper” is Tyvek because it is strong and lightweight and easy to cut. Tyvek comes in black and white, but Beatrice special-orders large quantities of black tyvek that has an additional layer of black pigment so it is black-black. Beatrice creates editions of her works by having them laser-cut, usually on a smaller scale than her original hand-cut pieces. She also makes garments and sculptural pieces with this versatile material.
I took advantage of a week with no distractions to cut lots of paper, and make stencils which I used for printing images on paper and fabric.
I also created two artist books using black Arches paper. The covers were cut from Mi-Teintes colored paper.
This summer I taught a two-day workshop in white line woodcut at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA. I had three talented students and we spent our time together discussing the whys and wherefores of making things while carving lines into clear pine boards and painting watercolor onto the boards to create printed images on Japanese paper. No answers as to why it is so satisfying to learn about color and texture and to explore new materials and to engage in creative problem solving, but we did all of these things as we worked and talked together.
I took a class with Amy McGregor Radin in April of 2013 at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA. I discovered a technique that brings together printmaking and watercolor painting: two of my favorite things. White line woodcut was developed in Provincetown, MA in 1915, and made famous by Blanche Lazell and a number of other artists who embraced this simple technique as an alternative to Japanese woodblock printing (which requires a separate block for each color).
Below is a new print entitled Evening Owl. I love the subtle gradations of color and the textures that are transferred from the wood.