I often listen to podcasts while doing rote or simple tasks and this morning, while carving on a linoleum block, I listened to one of my favorites, CounterSpin from Fairness and Accountability in Reporting, or FAIR, @ https://fair.org/counterspin-radio/. The program interviews a lot of sources that do not commonly get approached by corporate media reporters and talks about how corporate media often under- or mis- represent very important issues, policy or cultural trends to the detriment of citizens. The show I listened to today was an interview with Amin Husain, an organizer with the cultural activism group Decolonize This Place. The show’s host and interviewer, Janine Jackson, asks us to consider, “Cultural institutions are important sites of public conversation, but the public doesn’t have much say in who gets to lead that conversation, or the stories they tell. Activists are asking us to talk about what that means, and what it would mean to change it.” Her interview with Amin Husain discusses a lot of good points about colonization, ethnocentrism, wealth and equality. And it poses really important questions about the value of art, as culture, as manifest spirituality and as something that we assign monetary worth. It’s a really good listen, even if you’re not particularly interested in art and museums.
This is the image I practiced with yesterday on the proof press. The one on the left is good (!) and was what I was going for. But, as the other two prints show, I still need more practice: The middle one isn’t the worst one I did, but I think a sloppy insert to the clamp before rolling skewed it just enough to preclude a clean print. The one on the right was even more sloppy, but I trimmed off the edges so some of the ‘slide’ is gone and I think is less obvious. It’ll be a postcard, so that’s okay. Then, since I had the ink on the rollers, I made a couple of postcards:
Some of the variations from my last exercise:
Okay, I know these fotos are sub-par in quality, but they do show what I was trying out yesterday in the printshop. I applied the last two layers of ink, an opaque light blue and finally, a dark blue. The image on the left is what I was starting with, the yellow and green (which was actually a layer of transparent blue) inks, and the image in the center is close to what I had planned in the first place, with the colors I was interested in and the use of/practice with opaque and transparent inks and, mostly, registration. This print is the second-best version of this plan and it’s clear I didn’t get it perfect. sad. The print on the right is pretty cool-looking, but not what I’d planned. A couple of things I do realize after this project: I should consistently use good quality printing paper; I think that my too-varied variety (lots of construction paper of different qualities and some very nice printing paper) precluded my getting just one good registration position because some of the paper stretched (I think) and messed me up. etc… Another thing is that I should prepare for the project much more thoroughly, from start to finish. Seems obvious, right? Well, I’ll try. Anyway, I’m still pretty tickled, but I know I have a ways to go before I’m satisfied…
This image (which is blurry–I’ll replace it soon) is of my new curtain fabric; I dug out an old lino I’d used for a reduction cut handprint, and inked it up. I started by printing this fabric on the press, but it was just too much fabric and I started running out of time, so I just went ahead and printed it by hand (which still took some time, actually) and got adequate-plus results. I’ll run them up by the end of this long weekend, and they’ll be ready to brighten up the bedroom for the new week!
Here is the print that the design came from:
This is the stuff going on in my scene: Here are the paddle fans I’m almost done with; this is what they’ll look like, mostly (I’m still figuring out the heart–a lino stamp, or a block on the letterpress, or maybe a cutout heart of other paper? hmm…). I’m pretty tickled so far, gotta say.
The two prints are from some letterpress practice as mentioned below. The purple one will be a book cover, I think. The blue and mustardy one I think can stand alone–I really like the accretion of ink and textures there and will pursue that effect some this summer.
The little flower picture shows what I was treated to when I opened up the kitchen door this morning–Huzzah! The first poppy on that side of the house. Lovely!
I had a few extra minutes in the printshop yesterday and the type on the bed was for the First Amendment paddle fan I’m working on, so I quickly dug around for a few large letters and some cut-offs from the local university’s copy shop and got to it! It took a bit of time adjusting the spacing, but I find that, just a couple of weeks back in the shop, I’m getting faster and more accurate, comfortably.
Anyway, write on!
Here’s the project I worked on the other day in the printshop: I’m a First Amendment ‘fan,’ myself, so I decided to make fans for the group I spend the occasional noon hour with in front of the Courthouse, advocating for free speech and our political beliefs. Another proof reading is needed and I still have a couple of decisions to make about text placement on the back–a little higher?–and about what kind of heart, and what color, to stamp on the front. It should be done by the time it gets really hot.
Here is the first batch of fans. They’re not quite perfect, so I’ll think on it (and see how they work) and figure out what approach I might be more satisfied with. Anyway, hoorah!
I’ve spent a few hours in the print shop of a local community college and have been, slowly, getting back into the print groove…It’s a very different feel from my woodworking classroom and it’s a real relief to be in a bright, spacious and sawdust-free workspace. It still takes a lot of energy and focus, but the reward is almost immediate and the ink smells like home.
printmaking classroom, press furniture, Challenger letterpresses, Cherokee syllabary type
Here is the desk set, in its right place. I love it and it works well here. It rolls along the floor well, too, and should be of service all over the house. Nice. This is the last project from my woodworking course. I learned a lot over these two years and, once I catch up on my sleep, I will start looking for a way to continue to make large wooden objects.