Printmaking Me Pretty Much Finished

Well this morning between constantly fixing the weeder eater cord for Lee I finished the left brain dormer. Tidier than the right brain.

Full of prints that took time and concentration. There is an order to doing these types of prints. Some contact prints are in the attic.

So here I am, Printmaker Sandy.

Now I have to clean the studio up for the sewing to take place. I still need to think about wheels for all of the heads but that can wait til a brainstorm hits me.

But what we could do is go back to the discussion about “art”. Using this piece to make my point.

First of all you could not say it is “well crafted”. What are the techniques even if you could label them…..mostly it is different glues and using found objects to talk about something.  There certainly are no perfectly processed prints involved. The books are pretty easily put together….no perfection there. And can we really say that have very well-placed wood chips?! They are tucked into all the cracks and shellacked heavily.

So whatever this object is, it does not speak of technique and specific materials. Even if we could say the stamps and books and head are materials…..each of them is in service to something else… idea.

So if it was in an exhibition, sitting up on a pedestal, the viewer would see that it is a head first of all. And that it definitely has two sides….one dormer has some things just stuck in and the other has definite order. Plus anyone can see that the “hair” is made of printing stamps.

So maybe, just maybe what they are looking at is a sculpture that talks about the left and right brain of a printmaker…specifically Sandy Webster because inside one of the books is her name. And of course the name SANDY appears in the center top front of her head.

So this work is an idea fixed in a visual form. Therefore to my way of thinking it is definitely art.

I am not saying it is “good” art….that is way too hard to define. But it is not decorative art because it was not made to decorate the body or a home. It is not a work of craft because just where is the craftsmanship?

So there is nothing else there but the question, “What is this about?”

My next one will be the “Homemaker” and I may need a tall house atop the head just to get all the bits of things fitted into the idea of my years invested in making a home.

Til later.



Getting More Work Done

I know, I know this is soon for me but I have been busy in the studio this weekend. Here the dormers have been added to the printmaking head with a wood engraving block carved into “her” forehead. There is even a print freshly “pulled from the block.”

I was inspired to keep going with this because I found so many of my early collographs, intaglio and woodblock prints from undergraduate school when I first learned printmaking. Also a recent phone call from an old friend who we share a love of the process got me channeling those earlier times. She and I used to spend countless hours talking about art and since I no longer have the art group to talk to, she was just what I needed. Here is a detail of the block and print in the front of the head.


I also added the wood chips in and around the stamp letters and numbers on her head. I may end up shellacking those later.

Today I spent the day filling in her left brain with experimental prints and a book of words that have a lot to do with questioning, “what if?” Even the attic has some bits and pieces of things.

Once I get the left brain dormer filled up with those prints and ideas that took much more thought and planning I will set her aside until I think of a way to put wheels on her. Here is the left brain dormer waiting to be filled.

My thought is to have wheels on all of them so they can gather in a circle or just follow each other around. Each of them is a part of myself….so by gathering them together, I will be whole again. Anyway, that is the plan.

I still have these very large letters that might be used as part of this one. Maybe she hauls a wagon with her…but that would mean more wheels. Speaking of wheels I got to thinking that I should not have buried the mechanisms to the specimens from the Expedition to Elsewhere….lots of wheels there… underground.

While working on this and thinking about how I go about things, and how for me “art” is an idea fixed in form, not some well-designed piece of work that speaks of materials and technique first and foremost. Because quite often an idea can be overshadowed by the perfections of those materials and the extraordinary technical skill of the maker. I am happy my old friend called me so I could be reminded of the many hours we talked about those things and the makers we knew who believe that because a piece is well designed it automatically is “art”. Because it is pretty, it is art and on and on. Our question always was, “Yes, but what is it about?” “Does it say what you wanted it to say?” And most times what they wanted was something that was well-accomplished or like my friend in Hobart told me, “Sandy, sometimes we just want to make things.”

In handling some old parts to work on these heads I was reminded of a friend, now deceased, who would come here regularly to do work she could not do elsewhere….an extraordinary body of work reinterpreting the old testament through old dolls, rusted bits, old foundry molds and immense talent in putting it all together. I miss her terribly. Whoever was lucky enough to see her work that rarely came out of the boxes once it left here were amazed by her desire to see her ideas fixed in form.

I keep a picture of her in my studio and feel lucky to have known and worked with her. She is still good company.

Once I put this head aside and before I start on the “homemaker” one, I am going to do some sewing. My Hobart friend who is also a dressmaker helped me cut a pattern from a favorite shirt and I recently bought the linens for two of them. So I will be sewing which requires a total clean up of all these messy bits.

Til later.


Somewhat Back in the Studio

I put the first head on the work table and decided to make it all about the printmaking part of me. I pulled out all the old type stamps that were collected years ago for no other reason than to own them. Not one was ever used to write a word. They are as gummed up now as much as the day I bought them. So I glued them onto the head. And then filled in some of the empty spaces with used tarlatan rolled on small bits of chopsticks. I have no idea why I had so many sets of Chinese restaurant chopsticks in my stash, but they cut easily and now whatever I had is in pieces with tarlatan glued to them.

I have some super large wood fonts that I may fit into the head somewhere. But first I think that I need to construct some dormers out each side for the right and left brain thinking. Nice roof topped dormers with collections inside of prints, small books and maybe these cute little pencils that seem to fit. I think there needs to be more stuck into her hair bits. Something equally messy. And each of the chopstick ends that show need a glob of printmakers ink stuck on top.

I pulled out old carving tools that probably are not any good any more to stick into her head but found I could not part with them just yet. They may be able to be used to do more carvings. She might need a small carved wood block stuck to her forehead. She might need it to be recessed into her forehead. That is a better idea. So obviously this is still in the “planning as you work” stage. More as it progresses.

I had company this week. Two of the children from deceased siblings. Of the six children that my mother had there are only two of us left….me and a sister that was not very good at it, so we parted ways many years ago. Every family has one that you really wish you did not have to invite over….usually the old conservative and grumpy uncle….ours was this sister that, rather than endure, we just took her name off the Christmas card list and everything else fell into place. Life was better without the drama that attached itself to her.

But with the two, one niece, who is actually a grandmother and one nephew we had fun remembering old times in almost forgotten places. Lee joined in by way of smiling at all the appropriate times but asked as we waved them off in the driveway, “Who were those people?”

I tried to jog his memory about going to visit the niece when her mother was alive. There were loads of stray farm animals and dogs and cats and a catfish pond at their place located near a far away town in the deep, sultry south of north Georgia country. He still looked puzzled. I even told him of my sister’s (the niece’s mother) collection of ashes of passed away pets and relatives. She had quite the collection in her closet and when she moved in with her daughter, each was laid to rest around the property…..all facing the catfish pond. I smiled when I remembered this….especially the ferret placed near the poodle with painted nails.  Lee smiled too but any memory of who and where I was talking about was lost.

I am still smiling now as I get this posted and take Lee out to the brewery for our Thursday lunch.

Til later.

New Experiences and Experiments

This is the old collograph that I made titled, “Daily Grind”. Small prints in a row of five ways I have been served coffee. I did give some away and one was to a cafe called The Daily Grind. I might have sold two or three. But I did find several unsold ones in my prints drawer. Now some of them look like this.

The one in the middle is a monoprint that I made in the middle of taking French classes. It was called La Librairie meaning book shop….not library….that would be biblioteque. The spellings could be wrong but it was years ago and I have no idea why I wanted to speak French other than there were free classes being offered at the local library. I drew this image from a sculpture that I still have that has a book for a roof. The crow is there because back then there were lots of crows on my work.

When giving prints to local businesses I gave this one to two places of business.

It was a challenge to come up with a beer label for an exhibition in Asheville at BookWorks. This was a wood engraving and underneath the image were the words, “A beer you want to occupy.”  Anyway one of the places I gave a framed print to is the Hayesville Brewery where we go every Thursday for lunch and another to Parson’s Pub. We went back to the Pub after several years of absence the other day and this was our lunch….a Reuben with fries, a Fowler’s Pie and of course, two dark beers.

And right before we went to lunch we went to the hardware and bought more weeder eater spools, more glue and two self-closing toilet seats. With seats being left up now this seemed like a good investment. I am amazed that with just a bit of a touch to close them both parts head quietly down to sit in place.

Also back in the studio I am working on the first of the wooden heads. It is why I needed to go get more glue. Lots of pieces to stick in place. Next time I will post a picture of how that is going.

Also this week I needed to order a new Microsoft Office program as Word just decided on its own not to open for me. Thank goodness I had help getting it installed via the internet. Nothing is easy anymore….but most everything is irritating.

Til next time.