I have a lot of mediums under my belt, variously considered art or craft or industry depending on the time period and who you ask and I always want to learn new ones. For my grad program I decided not to add to that list without good reason. That said, printmaking makes so much sense to so much of what I am working with that when this class came up in my last semester I had to have it. It is a technology bridge between handmade and digital. It is multiplicity with variation, I can print on fabric. I can digitally etch or cut a plate at Techshop and then bring it in and print on it, or continue to work it by hand.
I decided to restrict myself to a simple idea- the weave and the grid, the digital/binary and the organic (part of my fascination with weaving is that it is both an ancient craft and the basis for binary computing). Every plate will be some version of this and I intend to start layering those plates. Inside that there is so much I can do! The two plates I have so far are a “Broken Grid” laser-etched (the black and white image here) and a hand-carved woodblock of a loose and dissolving plain-weave. The joyful discovery of today was that after printing on canvas (to paint on/sew through later) I can use the plate again on paper and get the texture of the canvas cloth in the paper print. I’m loving the layers possible with this. I also came up with a new idea of how to use sewing in the printing process which I haven’t yet seen.
I’ve got two laser-cutter dates this week and PLANS.
The other thing I love about the printmaking experience? It’s community based. Much like a ceramics studio, printmaking takes multiple sets of hands and people pooling resources to have it work. The atmosphere is relaxed, congenial, supportive, and questioning in a positive way. It isn’t every artist for themselves, it’s a place where people are helping each other make art. I really missed that. It happens in other disciplines through collaborative work, but it’s palpable in both ceramics and printmaking, and getting my hands achy with tools and sticky with ink feels like coming home.