Interview with The Fiddleback, “an independent, online arts & literature magazine edited by a reclusive band of poets, writers, and audiophiles from across the country.”
A Pattern of Processing
Now showing today and tomorrow (Thurs) 9-5. Hope you can make it…. Woodcut-printed wallpaper and upholstery, with fancy-framed, reduction-woodcut portraits, and a meat locker. Fun stuff!
…at the Overture Center for the Arts.
More info: Overture Center, Gallery 1
It’s a huge relief to be done with this and have it up on display. I mean it was fun to do, but printing by hand with a wooden spoon (my press is “only” 30in wide….the chicken block is a 4ft x 8ft plywood block) is not easy, especially with so much solid black. An exercise in patience most definitely.
What a great speaker Michael Moore is (he was at the protests today). A very moving speech, and it gives me hope.
We (Briony, Patrick and I) just printed this today–our screen-printed, 4-color, 25in x 17in poster! Part of the edition will be available for sale at our reception.
Finished another page in the Bestiary (Bestiary/Study guide to animal taxonomy and behavior… being created for my MFA show in May, 2011). Detailed printing info follows (below). This is part of the chicken section/signature of the book (there is also a pig section, dog, turkey, cat, deer, and so forth….). All the sections in my book will have a medieval bestiary page (like this) near the front, and on this page, the text is the actual text from MS Bodley 764, a mid thirteenth century Bestiary. The images are my own creation (style closely modeled after the late Gothic style, with gold), with me taking center stage. Here I go medieval, about to axe one of my roosters:
Text: a gothic font face I found that was as close to the “MS Bodley 764 bestiary” font as I could get. The text sections were then printed out (with laser printer) onto Pronto Plates. Then those plates (and the murder scene, done in Sharpie on another Pronto Plate) were inked up with litho inks and printed onto good papers (Somerset, Arches…) on the Takach Press. Finally, the scene (and the drop caps) were hand-colored with Golden acrylics–gold and other colors. Pretty 21st century for a 13th center knock-off, huh?
Taking an awesome class with Jenny Schmid at Penland right now. She’s amazing, and I’ve been a fan of hers for some time. Anyway, she’s teaching traditional mezzotint, and I jumped at the chance when I saw it listed (I’ve always wanted to learn the traditional technique, using a rocker). Result above.
I’m hooked! Looking forward to making more mezzos when I get back, for inclusion in the Bestiary (A Study Guide…), an artists’ book for MFA show (scheduled for May, 2011).
So, I’ve been wanting to do a big woodcut for some time. At the Frogman’s workshop this summer, we cut on birch plywood−first time for me, so I thought (when buying the 4′x8′ sheet once home), “why not use the whole sheet?.” So I cut a 4×8 hog−the model being one of my full-grown feeder pigs. And how great would it be to do a big pulltoy with this big print on one side? It would be perfect for a piece for our 3rd-year grad student show. So, here’s the progression (click any image to see it larger):
1.) Carving the woodblock: a 4ft x 8ft sheet of birch plywood. Here, I’m cutting with a reciprocating carver (as opposed to a rotary−it moves back and forth−it’s an electric gauge). Definitely saved my hands, wrists and forearms…. Almost no pain cutting the entire block, with alternating between the reciprocating carver and the hand-tool gouges:
2.) And here’s the cutout shape upon which the print would go. I was going to use a jigsaw, but J says: “No, you have to use a Rotozip.” “But how do you know? The wood girl said use a jigsaw and she’s a woodworker!” I stupidly asked/retorted. Argument ensued. J went and got the Rotozip out and showed me. He was right. It rocked!! And more, I could cut it out myself and do an ok job. Super (pretty super) fast. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah! Cut out 2 shapes out of OSB, screwed in 2×4′s in-between the 2 (to give it some depth), then cardboard was stapled all around the edge of the whole shape (to enclose it, make it look as if it was a thick, solid wooden cutout−like the little wooden pulltoys). Here’s the cutout, with Zuzu for scale:
4.) Once block carving is finished, it’s time to print. I have an awesome Takach roller, which helps immensely (a good quality, large roller), although I gotta say, inking the damn thing was a pain. Think about it (I didn’t, really, beforehand), you have to roll over the whole 4ft x 8ft sheet, without actually stepping on it/in the ink, meanwhile getting a consistent layer of ink over the whole thing. All I can say is that it’s a good thing I’m tall with long arms, and that I didn’t thoroughly think this through ahead of time (I don’t tend to trully consider the potential problems of a thing until I’m in it, which I think is my way of not talking myself out of something−I vaguely consider/imagine how it’ll happen and just mentally “ok” the process). Oh, and the paper. I couldn’t find any 4ft wide paper in a roll, so in keeping with my previous collaged work, I printed on feed sacks−not really the ideal printing surface. But the thing I loved about the final print was that the feedsacks showed through the overlaying hog print. Here are the printed sections on feedsack sections (top) and practice prints on big sheets of tracing paper below that:
7.) Printed side finished! Rope aged (dipped in bucket of water, black ink, acrylic paint), and attached with chain and hook eyes. Wheeled the thing out to the road, with little dogs pattering beside me and then posing. Such good little terriers:
8.) On the other side, I wanted to do the cuts of the hog, when butchering–I love making things educational. I didn’t have time to cut the blocks and print all the words, so I painted in a graphic style (as if it was printed) with somewhat-transparent acrylics, again on top of feedsacks:
You can see this piece for a few days still, at our 3rd-year graduate student show: Triple Crown at the UW Art Lofts in Madison, WI.