|my first attempt at woodblock engraving |
- starting with what I know -
put a bird on it ;)
This past week I had the chance to take a workshop with illustrator and master woodblock engraver Barry Moser at Zea Mays Printmaking (I heart Zea Mays - a studio devoted to teaching, promoting, and developing creature-friendly printmaking techniques.) I'm so happy - I always get excited about new (to me) art-techniques, but I really feel like I found it with woodblock engraving because: it's a technique that wants to be small and meticulous, it's challenging, but highly reproducible, responsive to practice, and involves very few chemicals! Love, love, love! (All those tiny parallel lines I made on things like "Open Hearted" and the neon poster to practice hand control will actually come in handy - haha.)
Even though it was a relatively short workshop (3 days), I feel like working with an expert (Barry Moser has illustrated or designed over 300 books including a version of the entire Christian Bible) saved me a phenomenal amount of "trial and error" time with information about which materials to use, how to handle and care for the tools, what are common pitfalls, and which of them are fixable (or not). Plus, I got to try printing on different papers and with different color inks :). (!!! Art-happiness)
I'm so happy, but I also feeling a little overwhelmed by extremes - for example wanting to make tiny things and giant things at the same time. (I'm in the process of writing a grant proposal for another full gallery installation...) big/small, flat/dimensional, inside/outside, happy/sad - everywhere things being broken apart into 2's.
I don't think wanting to move toward extremes at the same time is the problem though, I think what's bothering me is that keeping things separate reinforces a division: "this print is tiny (full stop). This installation tree is giant." (Not even a single "and" in that statement.) I think one of my art-missions right now is to find ways to reconcile extremes so that I can draw attention to all the beautiful between-ness (hmmmm).
But before I can get there, practice, practice, practice. I'm so excited about this technique and want to get really good at it. Even though my intention is to cut up the prints and use them in collages, I like the possibility of edition them too...
Refining for Tempus Fugit Redux: phase 1 the first go round was "do/make the work." (new question: what is "the" work - how is it particular? answer: intricate, reconciling extremes (non-binary), modular/portable, thing focused instead of space focused). I have ideas about what I want to do/make, but there is still so much to learn, which brings me to the principle for phase 1 redux: develop and appreciate expertise. (Haha - just a little, lifelong, mission there, no biggie ;)).