Tuesday I posted about my recent class that I taught at MISSA (The Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts) this past weekend and what a wonderful creative time it was. I went back there during the week to take some outdoor shots of the lovely building the class was in. The image above shows this ‘floating building’. We had the entire upstairs area to work in. More pics from MISSA can be found here.
While we were blessed with wonderful space and surroundings it was the human surroundings that made the weekend so special. The positive creative energy that we shared was tangible. This sharing is one of the great benefits of art workshops, for most visual artists work in isolation. Not so for printmakers. The significant costs of equipment and space needed for printmaking often requires them to work in shared printmaking studios. While this can be distracting it is usually a positive perk that adds to the joy and artistic development of the artists. I wrote an artist statement about this for a printmaking show a few years ago. I would like to share it with you here.
Printmaking – A Labour of Hope
The dulcet tones of Buddhist chants play quietly in the background. Around the room you can hear the pleasant sound of voices sharing advice, anecdotes and laughter. But it is the soft, squirreling of paper being rubbed on plates and the groan of the press’ wheel being cranked that declare where we are, in a printmaking studio.
I glance down at my plate to decide whether it is ready for printing. This is the crucial stage in the process. After all the planning and plate-making it all comes down to the inking. Have I chosen the right blend of colors? Have I left the right amount of ink to give me the dark and light passages I seek? I can only guess now, and hope. For printmaking requires a large dose of hope. Unlike a painting, where you can see exactly what you are producing, in printmaking you are never sure of what your image will look like until you pull the print.
It’s my turn at the press. I place my plate down first and then my paper, being careful to follow the registration lines so that the image is centered as I have planned. Over this fall the newsprint and blankets which will protect all and allow for accurate pressure. I grab the wheel and begin to turn it, the tension and excitement mounting in me in equal measure as my creation is being squeezed into life on the press bed in front of me. I give the press rollers two passes over my work then lift up the blankets and finally, holding the far end down so that it doesn’t shift, I gingerly raise the near corner of the paper and reveal the print.
Oohs and Aahs from my fellow printmakers accompany the reveal, that wonderfully exciting moment that is the fruition of many hours of concentrated labour. I look at my first trial proof critically and find the little flaws that need correcting. But it is a good image and I am pleased.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!