Welcome back, all, to my two part blog series on my upcoming Nature Poetry and Printmaking workshop coming up on Sunday, August 28th from 9 to 11:30 AM at Hartman Reserve (register here!).
Okay, now that I've gotten my little sales pitch out of the way (seriously though, come if you can--it will be a good time!), I want to talk a little about my approach to printmaking and my approach as an instructor tasked with devising this workshop. This is all so you know what you are getting into if you make the (very wise) decision to come to said workshop.
As I have said before in this ol' blog, I am fairly new to printmaking as an art form. I have a lot of visual artist friends, and so I know I had been around printmaking stuff in the past, especially in college. It always interested me, but I didn't know how to go about practicing.
Fast forward a few years to this past Spring when I am, as the kids say, bored. As I sometimes do when bored, I decide for the 500th time in my life that I am going to get serious about teaching myself how to paint. For real this time. I pull out my phone to look up supplies on an art store website, when I see a linocut printmaking kit on sale on the homepage. I wish I could tell you there was more to this story than me going "huh why not?" and buying the kit. So I went "huh why not?" bought the kit, and made a couple little stamps and things and whatnots. It was fun! I decided to keep doing it, and when I saw the application period for the Visiting Artist program come around, I thought continuing this hobby was the perfect way to complement what I know about poetry.
All of which is to say, I am still pretty new to printmaking. And so for the printmaking portion of my upcoming August 28th workshop at Hartman Reserve (smooth plug, huh?), please do not feel intimidated if you have little or no experiencing with the form. We're all learning together!
The workshop will be centered around using found objects. Anything from fallen leaves to bits of string to pizza boxes to stamps you already have laying around (I suppose this ones cheating a tiny bit but hey I won't tell). I'll show you what I have learned and have found to be the most effective techniques for getting really cool shapes and patterns and textures on the page.
I have never been the best drawer, or painter, or anything that requires too steady of a hand. But that is part of what is nice about printmaking, and particularly with printing poetry broadsides. To me, what is more interesting is what you can do with the composition of the page. The deliberate selection of color to evoke the emotion of the written piece. The balance of negative space to positive. So if you're self-conscious about your artistic skil, please don't be! I've tried my best to make this very accessible to artists of all experiences.
And finally: I have been carving linoleum blocks for most of my projects this summer. This workshop will not involve any carving of any kind at all. Again, to make this accessible to everyone, we wanted to avoid any sharp objects and potential incidents. Additionally, while I love linocut printmaking, it is not the most convenient hobby. Linoleum is somewhat expensive. The ink is pricy. You also need lots of space and a water source readily available. It would work alright in this kind of workshop setting, but then I run the risk of sending you off with a skill that you maybe now dont have the space or resources to continue building on. I wanted this workshop to be something you can take with you when you leave, and with this found object printmaking, I think you'll be able to do that. And hey, I am always more than willing to talk linocut elsewhere.
And finally finally (for real this time), here is a picture of the most recent broadside I've been working on. Went with a messy look on this one. Think I may have some layers left to bring it all together.