Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My favorite project of all

Oh, little blog-- where did the weeks go?
Strap yourself in, I have lots of ground to make up for!

I have long maintained a love/hate relationship with living in a four-season climate—meaning I hate it in the winter, am over the moon for the first days of spring, take full advantage of the summer, and mourn with the changing trees in fall.

This time around winter has been crazy busy-- normally this season drags by in the snowy north, filled with cold mornings scraping the car windows, white knuckle drives to work, and daily musings about why on earth I live here. I'm happy to say that this time around, winter was a complete blur. I hardly noticed the snow, and barely had time to miss the sun until I realized last week that it was suddenly beginning to make appearances!

My busy winter has everything with do with my work—I haven’t been printing until very recently, but have had a plethora of other lovely projects come my way. As many of you know, I have started working with Blue House Ann Arbor-- a sublime handmade studio created by an amazing woman named Siobhan Lyle. Blue House's mission is to be a sort of one stop shop for local artists and crafters. Siobhan re-imagined a graceful old home on Main Street, turning it into a place to create, gather, shop and learn. I have been fortunate enough to have a part in almost all of those ends-- I have been doing some signs for the studio, am selling my work in the shop and at its inaugural event: Handmade at Blue House, and, best of all-- I get to teach.

At the risk of sounding a little hippie dippie, I will say the act the printmaking-- the many, many steps that lead from start to finish, keep me sane. There's been a lot of attention paid lately to flow -- the art of being so fully immersed in one's work that focus, joy and concentration is at an all time high. It’s almost like meditation in a way, but with the focus on your work instead of yourself. I find this flow in printing constantly-- it’s a way of making that is simply set up, through the act of being process driven, physical, repetitive, and problem solving in nature, for this level of absorption to take place.

There are lots of reasons why I fell in love with printmaking and enjoy teaching it. Flow is central. Printing is also unique in that its history is just as much trade and craft as it is fine art. It operates within a set of rules, uses a wide and enticing variety of tools and materials, and follows a sequence. As someone who has always struggled to say “this piece of art is done” I love printing because it decides for me. You make decisions early in the process and live with them at the end—that resonates much more clearly with my personality. In fact, I have kind of brought that process over to anything I make. If I make a sign I draw out four or five plans first, making all of the choices—color, font, text size, before I start. By making all of my choices right away, I reconcile my imagination with my somewhat Type A personality.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you find yourself in a creative slump, or think you’re not that creative to start, give printmaking a try. If you’re in the area, consider giving it a try with me. :)


Janice La Verne said...

Hi... Janice La Verne here...
Love your work! and...
Really enjoyed your friend Adam's blog about their road trip. I wanted to email them to offer them a nice, shady place to park if they are coming to Eugene, Oregon, but couldn't figure out how to contact them. My partner is from Florida and loved the Florida photos and stories. My email is:
and... I just started using Acua intaglio ink. What type of ink do you use?
ok... way too many questions from me!

Marcy said...

Hello Janice!
Thank you so much for the wonderful compliments! I will pass on your comment to Adam and Joel-- I'm sure they will appreciate a nice shady place to park in Eugene.

I just checked out your blog-- LOVE you work. LOVE. I have always loved figure drawing and painting, but have always struggled to find that quality in myself that can manipulate it in beautiful and intriguing ways- your work carries that off fantastically.

I haven't worked in intaglio in a long time-- no access to a press sadly-- but miss it bunches. Love the rich velvety blacks that come off a zinc plate.

I use Speedball oil-based for woodblock prints. For screen prints I use Speedball Fabric Extender Base and dye it-- I love the transparency I can achieve with that method.

Thanks again for dropping in!

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