Saturday, January 29, 2011

Visiting artist in San Antonio

I traveled from Seattle to San Antonio on Tuesday to do a two-week artist residency at the South West School of Arts and Crafts. I had worked here about 4 years ago when my husband was doing a four month training at Fort Sam Houston. When Margaret Craig, the printmaking instructor told me that they were starting up a visiting artist program, I was happy to get the opportunity to come back. They have a great printmaking facility here.

I started working at the print studio on Wednesday and have been working on a reduction linocut since then. The image is based on a true story about an incident that happened here in Texas to some of my friends. My friends planted African violets in the flowerbed in the front yard. Over night the local deer that treat their yard as a buffet, came and plucked out all the violets (did not eat them!) and laid them nicely on the walkway.

I started with some drawing to figure out the composition, and then succeeded to get more detailed figuring out how a violet could jut out of a deer’s mouth as it was removing it from the ground.

To print the reduction linocut I built a registration jig like I have at home. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see it here. It was a little bit more challenging to print on a larger etching press, we’ll see how well it worked out when I start printing the second color. I was getting a lot of push with my plate, and to fix that I was holding the back end of the paper up and letting it down as the plate went through the press. Ink pushing looks like stretch marks in the ink. It happens towards the end of the plate as it goes through the press. The paper is being stretched as its being pushed between the plate and the roller.

To combat this, I was keeping the felt up and over the top of the roller, and holding the paper up as it went through. One of the ladies working in studio (Molly) gave me an ingenious trick to keep the back of the paper lifted while printing. We cut pieces of soft foam (often comes in packaging when you get something fragile) and put them down at the end of the plate. That way I only had to hold the paper steady long enough for the front to catch under the roller, and then I could move over to spin the wheel more easily. I did not attach the foam to the board, so that they would not get dirty while I inked the plate. I just kept shuffling them on and off the printing base as I was printing.

On Friday morning I printed the first lighter color and continued to carve the plate for the second color. First thing Monday morning I will be very excited to see the second color! I’ll post more images as I get them done.

On a different note, I also have two solo shows up in Tacoma and Kent right now. I had time to post a whole bunch of pictures from Kent on flickr. You can see them here. The show in Tacoma comes down in 1.5 weeks and there will be a closing reception in Kent on Feb 22nd. After that I am starting to tie up loose ends to get ready for a move to Germany in April.


Almost Monday said...

That is quite lovely! Do you have pictures of the finish product?

Mirka Hokkanen said...

Yes, I just got home from the trip, and will be posting them later today as a matter of fact. :)

Tanxxx said...

awesome tip, that foam stuff ! thank you for you blog, I found so many previous information here, that I could use on my typographic press, thanks :)