Friday, February 12, 2010

Geographical Divides, a collaboration of NV printmakers

This is something that I’m working on currently. Geographical Divides is a collaboration project dreamed up by our very own conspirators Anne Hoff and Candace Nichols. The plan is simple, 14 NV printmakers start a print, send it to their assigned partner, partner does something and sends back, original printmaker prints. Everyone receives a portfolio with all the prints and the exhibit goes a-traveling all over the place.

Sounds like FUN!!! I couldn’t resist and was honored to be invited. This is a copy of an email that I just sent my partner, Lynn Schmidt from Northern Nevada:

Here is the GRAND PLAN!!!
This is the BRAINSTORM
I wanted to do something with our idea of the dichotomy between rural and urban.
So I thought of maps and how our respective cities are representative of that concept. Cities in the desert are sort of like islands in the ocean, separated by a vast expanse of impassable terrain.

I dug up some topo maps and fell in love with that “spine” and decided to use as a separator, symbolic of the rugged desert ocean that lies between us.
After some serious “photoshopping” I came up with this design. The left is the printout, the right is our block. The design is already reversed so our cities will resemble their proper orientations in space when they are printed. The image is vertical as in the first picture, by the way, I just didn’t rotate the pictures.

Now, here’s the grand plan! ARE YOU READY??!
Today I am going to reinforce the design in permanent marker, this “sets” the concept on the block and gets me ready for carving. Then I will stain the block and let it dry to make it easy to see the carving.
NEXT! Comes the jig saw…
See those two areas representing the cities? See the roads crossing them?
I am going to cut all those 8 “city” pieces out and scramble them so that our designs will either be in the north or south free to co-mingle with each other in a random way. You will get four and I will get four. They may end up together or separated, north or south.
Your MISSION, should you wish to accept it…is to design and carve four little scenes representative of our overall theme: rural/urban.

The pieces are about 4-5 inches wide or smaller and I will mark which way is UP on the back so you can orient your designs accordingly. Obviously working small will restrict detail and they really can be very simple, in fact preferably so. For example, one of mine I will carve a simple native American symbol representing a map/route, another will be a figure of a woman cross legged taking in the desert, another I may do a little skyline of the Strip merging into mountains, etc.

Once I receive your pieces and carve my pieces I will assemble the puzzle and print.

The background will be very light topo-like. The “spine” I will develop more in a three state reduction to resemble a topo map and its wonderful markings (I may have to carve a separate block). Our pieces will print over a very light background of yellowish/green. Once I get your pieces back I may carve some additional lines on them to integrate them with the background so they don’t look separated from the rest of the design.

Sounds crazy, I know, but these puzzle prints WORK! And they ROCK!

Any questions? Comments? I’m warming up the jigsaw…vrrrm vrrrm vrrrrrrrrm…

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Here we blog again...

I moved...follow me!

Don't ask why...just follow me.
Blogger is making a nifty migrating tool so I can consolidate my blogs, I think. Meanwhile, this blog is closed and neatly followed by its twin at the address above. It's seamless...really...except for the seam, that is.

New print: 3 seeds

3 seeds
Wood Engraving 2010
Here is my latest, "3 seeds" for the SSNW exchange. A long time ago I did 2 seeds for a Baren exchange and always wanted to revisit the series. I have 4 seeds all ready to print.
These are engraved on boxwood rounds, straight from Matsumura San in Japan. I don't think he quite understood that his "discards" are a treasure trove for someone like me who gets inspired by the shape and rings of every piece of wood.

I print these on my bottlejack press, plans courtesy of Charles Morgan. I made my press with a 5-ton mini jack, so it's quite portable and the footprint and height a bit smaller than Charles's press. Works great for engravings, although engravings are always ticklish to print. Too much ink and detail goes away, too little and coverage is not even. It is especially difficult to engrave three different blocks at once. I cut out a piece of foamboard and fit the blocks snugly into the cutouts; this keeps them together and steady for printing.

The paper is pre-printed acid-free bought at Office Depot. They have a wide variety of papers that are acid-free, smooth and perfect for engravings.

Also, having a blast raising money for Haiti in my ebay store. So far I've raised near $300 by donating a percentage of sales to the Clinton/Bush Haiti Fund, which happens automatically when I sell something. My goal is to donate $1000 by spring. I thought of sending money but doing it with art is more rewarding.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Baren cover pictures, as promised, but I still want to use duct tape...

Here are the pictures of my attempt at recovering the baren for the first time. It's not a thing a beauty but it amazingly works just fine. I still think a double layer of duct tape would work "ducky" as my hubby would say. But who am I to question the masters...

Let's see, the "knot" is a bit funky and definitely not symetrical but it is nice and tight. Also a bit bigger handle than my previous but I see that I can correct that by trimming the skin thinner.

After a little scare it really shrank right to the baren and now looks pretty good. A few more hundred to practice and I will be an expert...or maybe not.