I am in Australia and spending a week here at Baldessin Press in St. Andrews north of Melbourne. So far the trip has been full of meeting old friends and meeting new students. Here in the press studio I get to do my own work for a while before teaching a two day workshop.
This morning I picked up a small branch of Eucalyptus leaves and tiny gum nuts. They were the subject for a drawing to then engrave on a polymer etching plate. First I tried to get the drawing as close to the actual subject as possible with my new graphite pencils (set of 12 in a crocodile tin). I just used the H and the HB.
Once that was as good as I could get it, I laid the mylar etching plate over the drawing and channeled Rembrandt to make the marks with my etching tool to capture what I did with pencil. This was not easy.
Next I inked it with a sepia toned water based etching ink using a piece of mat board, tarlatin and phone book pages to wipe. Then the first test print….and another.
Seeing so much space around the leaves I decided to trim the plate by one half inch on three sides. It seemed better this way and fit easily on the Stonehenge fawn colored printmaking paper. I ended up doing four of the prints today and might do more tomorrow….or make a new drawing of something else and print that. I am surprised how well the etched line has held throughout this many prints and can just continue when I return home.
Next Monday after my class I will be taking a short course in photogravure from one of the best, Silvi Glattauer who is affiliated with Baldessin Press. It is a process where I can load my photo polymer plates into my Epson printer to transfer my photos or drawings to make images for limited edition prints. This is going to be very exciting.
Now I am having a bit of red with crackers and cheese. It is pretty hot here today and a nap might be in order.
I was posting on facebook the other day some earlier basketry pieces that crossed loom weaving with basket materials and I remembered these two figures. They were made of honeysuckle vines and then small patches of “clothing” were darned into some empty spaces. Attached at the hip they happily hand the vines to each other. Their faces were sculpted with clay.
Since I only took slides back when this work was being made I had to use my scanner to adapt the slides to digital images. Quite the process and they don’t transfer as well as this particular scanner had convinced me of on purchase. But you can get the idea. And the one big thing I learned is that these slides just need to be tossed out. I can’t believe how many talks I must have had to give to still have loaded carousels and slide cases filled to the brim.
Here are some more figures made from turned wood and pine barks. Of course there is the ubiquitous bead added here and there. Back in the 90s you weren’t making “art baskets” unless you added a bead or feather.
And some more figures done in the knotting technique.
When I was looking through these slides I noticed that almost everything I was doing was in mixed media. How else can you get those beads in there?? Gourds were lots of fun to work with.
And finally the series I worked on in undergraduate school. It a nod to the patriarchal system of old men attempting to teach the next generation of old men how to be capable of the responsibilities expected of them in carrying out their duties so to speak.
The men in my community donated the tools to be parts of each piece. Cloth was from old clothes or my sewing bag. All the old men “students” listened closely perched in their mountain laurel seats. I still have all of them but my favorites are cooperation and the graduate. He seems to be waiting for the next generation of old men to arrive from a stone egg. These led to more work about men, their body language, their way of belonging and keeping afloat in a world of feminism. Below are the men moving from one place to another via the turning of pages and ending up just where they were before and in the perceived proper order and relationship to each other. The last is a detail of men navigating their way through feminist philosophies in boats bound to sink and dragging testicular anchors of stone while firmly clothed in what they were taught about manhood.