Tag Archives: Book arts

Printmaking & Book Arts Residency at Lillstreet Art Center

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September 1st I started my one year residency at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago, IL.  They have six different departments which include ceramics, metalsmithing, jewelry & glass, painting & drawing, Printmaking & book arts, textiles, digital arts & photography. Within these departments they offer an array of classes from beginner to advanced. They also have a roof top garden and keep honeybees (delicious honey that they sell) The rooftop has an outdoor gallery space. It is a space where artist can install four flags that will hang from the top of the rooftop. The installation rotates monthly. Check it out you can see them if you walk or drive by just look up!  Each department  has an Artist-In-Residence for the year. There is a gallery space as well as small cafe. I am honored to be affiliated with them for the next year. It is exciting to be around so many creative people from all different backgrounds. Sometimes you are so interconnected to your own discipline you don’t allow for growth from other avenues. I am hoping I can take away a variety of skills from all different mediums after my residency ends. As the Residence of Printmaking & Book Arts I am teaching bookbinding and printmaking classes, I am creating new work, and I have the opportunity to take classes in all six departments. Taking classes in other departments was a perk for me. I am always interested in learning new mediums and finding ways to incorporate them in my work. Lately I have been incorporating sewing in my prints. I am not sure what direction it will take but I am hoping that the textile classes I am taking will be incorporated in my work. If you are in the Chicago area on Friday, October 21st at 6pm all of the Artist-In-Residences are giving 10 minute lectures about their work. Come and check out all the artist! If you have ever had the urge to learn bookbinding or printmaking come take one of my classes!!

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Printmaking Studio

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Rooftop

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“Still” Solo Exhibition

I recently had a solo exhibition at the String Room Gallery in Aurora, NY. The body of work centers around my artist’s book Still. This hand-bound book commemorates the lives (both real and imagined) of nine of the many local animals I encountered who were killed by moving vehicles. The corresponding interdisciplinary exhibition is comprised of handmade paper, screen prints, embroidery, stop-motion animation, and installation. With wit and empathy, I created larger-than-life characters inspired by each victim, resulting in an immersive, creative, non-fiction narrative.  Text was pulled from the String Room Gallery website. If you would like to know a little more about the process of me creating the artist book Still check out Main Street Arts Gallery Blog where I did guest entry about the book. If you would like to watch the animation check it out here on my website!

 

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Abandoned Greenhouse Transformed into a Paper-Making Studio

Last summer/fall I had a wonderful opportunity to transform an abandoned greenhouse attached to the Wells College Book Arts Center into a functional paper-making studio. The space was calling my name the second I arrived on campus 2 years ago. I slowly began to collect material, receive donations, and build equipment. As last spring semester was coming to an end I received a grant from the Edward Family Foundation to complete the entire transformation. The timing could not have been more perfect. I had simultaneously received approval from the curriculum committee that my Intro. to Paper-making Class proposal was approved for the Fall semester. This allowed me to work on summer in order to get the space prepared for the students. Please enjoy the gallery of photos to see the transformation and the projects that took place during the Fall semester.

 

 

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Summer Residency with Journal of Artists Books (JAB) at Columbia College Chicago

This summer I had the opportunity to return to Columbia College Chicago at the Center For Book & Paper Arts and work with Brad Freeman the editor and founder of Journal of Artists Books (JAB). I received a month residency to produce my artist book Cayuga Nation: Now & Then. For those of you who do not know I went to Columbia to receive a MFA in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts. During my time there I had a two year print production fellowship where I worked closely with Brad Freeman and JAB. So this opportunity felt like returning home. It is my happy place. I got to operate the GTO Heidelberg offset press again which is unlike operating any other press I know. I have a different relationship and understanding for this press compared to vandercooks, screen-prints, etching presses, and any other press I have operated. (although I do love all printing presses this one is just a little different)

I worked with Brad for five days a week for the month of June. When I arrived I worked on completing my designs for my book, helped Brad around the shop, helped him clean and move his office, and assisted Buzz Spector in his residency. Buzz and I were both doing a residency at the same time and our artist books will be in JAB38 for Fall 2015. It was wonderful to chat with Buzz and learn his process of creating books. I always enjoy working with other artist because everyone approaches their work differently. I helped him scan in his pages, make some of the plates and run test for color options. I even taught Buzz how to use a GoPro!

After he left I began to process the film and make plates for my book and began printing. I had not done offset printing for two years and as confident as I was I made lots of little mistakes here and there mostly because I realized I was rushing and I needed to slow down. Brad and I had lots of good laughs. BUT once I got back into my groove it felt natural. The thing with offset is that these presses are not as available as vandercooks so I don’t get to continue to practice and build my skills. The next time I go back I will have to get back into my groove again and once I get into it I will have to leave again.

Now a little about the book I created. Cayuga Nation: Now & Then is a dos-a-dos offset printed artist book with a birch bark cover. Three weeks after I moved to the shores of Cayuga Lake, the Cayuga Nation owned gas station was barricaded with trucks, police and members of the tribe. This event inspired me to explore the long history of the Cayuga Nation and the events that lead to the recent conflict. Depending on which cover you open first you receive a different story. One side of the book tells the “Now” story (current issues) and the other side tells the “Then” story (history) of the tribe. The covers are bark because the Cayugas used it to build longhouses.

In 1779, the U.S. military destroyed the nations homes and crops forcing them off their land. Ten years ago, Cayuga Nation returned to their homeland after being displaced across the U.S. and Canada. The land claim is situated on the north end of Cayuga Lake, which is part of the Finger Lakes Region in Central New York. The nation is currently split between two factions and for two months one faction hijacked their gas station. This book tells the story from multiple perspectives. The central theme of this book consists of my photographs, newspaper articles, letters from the local councilman, historical research, and conversations with the Cayugas and Mercenaries. Moving to this area has made me aware of the continuous struggle Native Americans encounter. Through this book I hope to bring attention to their plight.

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Two Weeks at Penland School of Crafts

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I can still remember the first time I heard about Penland. I was in undergrad at Old Dominion University and my printmaking professor said he received a grant to take a letterpress printing class at Penland. He raved about his experience creating a lasting impression. Seven years later I received a brochure for the summer classes at Penland and saw they were offering a papermaking class. I was in the beginning phases of adding papermaking to the curriculum and building a papermaking studio at Wells Book Arts Center. This class was perfect for me to refresh my papermaking skills. I was honored to receive a full Windgate Scholarship with a work-study position in order to take Cynthia Thompson’s Within the Sheets: Contemporary Watermark Class.

For those of you who have never heard of Penland School of Crafts it is located 30 minutes outside of Asheville, North Carolina in the middle of breathtaking mountain views. It was founded in 1920 and has a variety of studios including: clay, printmaking, bookbinding, weaving, metals, wood, glass, papermaking, jewelry, iron, and drawing.

These two weeks were unlike any other I have ever experienced. It was extremely inspiring and motivating. I felt like a kid again at summer camp with no responsibilities except to make art and wash dishes. The bells would ring and I knew it was time to eat. Because I was a work-study student I had to clean dishes after meals but had two days off a week. The second best part besides making art was working with thirty-five other work-study students from every other discipline. Things that happened with the work study students: we created bonds like no other, we learned about the different studios, we appreciated nature, we saw what each other was making, we were inspired by each other, we had bonfires, and we drank wine till wee hours chatting about art and life.

I am very grateful for this opportunity and I am honored to be able to pass on the papermaking knowledge I learned to my students at Wells College. Thanks to the Edward Foundation for the grant to be able to build a papermaking studio at Wells College. After returning from Penland I have been busy building and constructing the future Wells Paper House. A future blog will be posted about that process.

Taking this class has given me a new perspective about handmade paper. I was able to complete all the pages of a book. Now all I need to do is letterpress print the text. I was also able to create a prototype edition of handmade paper that will be a portfolio accompanied with the current book I am working on called “Mementos From The Road.” There are a variety of techniques to create a visually interesting and beautiful piece of work within the sheet of handmade paper. I am now able to look at handmade paper as an art form and not just a medium.

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Spring Semester is Here!

We are a few weeks into the spring semester and I realized I never posted anything during the fall semester. I am going to attempt to some up my first semester in this post. If I summed it up in one sentence it would be:

Moving to a new state for a new job was one of the best decisions I have ever made although the first semester was super busy, at times overwhelming, but I was always learning from my students and director while being the happiest ever because I am doing what I love! (I think that might be a run-on sentence and you may be out of breath after reading it but you get my point) hahaha

Wells College is a very special place and I already know from my short time here that it will always have a special spot in heart. I can definitely say this was my first experience of teaching at a college of around 550 students. It is a different experience from a larger college or university and very different from my own college experience. You create a bond and relationship with your students like no other because the max class size is 10 students at least for the Book Arts classes. Teaching with students from all disciplines was a little bit of a change for me. After the first or second class I had to rethinking my entire way of teaching, realizing I only had one student as a studio arts major. I had to incorporate foundations that I thought they would know. This was a challenge but I enjoyed trying to problem solve . I have definitely changed my entire approach for the spring semester and I am already seeing better results with my students.

Learning and problem solving were the two major things that took place in the fall. I was new to the school as well as the Book Arts Director Richard Kegler. We both worked together to make things happen. Every day we found a new interesting object (books, type, prints, presses, etc). It felt like an archaeological dig site for us! Every day we were exploring new parts of the building and trying to put the pieces together from the past predecessors. We have gotten the Wells College Press Store up and running again.  We also have a blog which is where I have been doing most of my posts Wells Book Arts Center Blog. Wells College Press is currently co-publishing a book with Starshapped Press called An Alphabet of Sorts. It will be released in late spring but you can check out the book on either website.

The Book Arts Center has a greenhouse attached to it and has not been put to very good use in the past so Rich and I are in the process of transforming it into a paper making garden and lab. We had April Sheridan from The Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago come out and give students a lecture about her experience of building a self-sustainable paper making at Columbia. By fall semester we will have the paper making garden up and running and offering our first paper making class in the fall! Lots of exciting things are underway at the Wells Book Arts Center. Stay tuned.

Here are a few images of student work, class projects, and other events from the fall semester

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CBAA Conference in Salt Lake

This post is a few weeks overdue. I had the honor of attending the College Book Art Association (CBAA) Conference. The conference took place January 2nd-4th. It was a wonderful way to start off the year. There are a few reasons I was able to be a part of this conference. I received a travel grant to get there, I presented my thesis project, and I volunteered to waive my registration fees. I also had one of my books in the Members Exhibition and participated in the folded form exchange.  Through all of my involvement I was fortunate to meet and engage with amazing educators, Book Artists, and Letterpress Printers. It is always wonderful to leave these conferences with inspiration and the juices flowing for my next project.  The University of Utah has an amazing facility for their Book Arts Program. I have never seen anything like it. It is located in their library. When you arrive on the 4th floor you are in front of a glass wall. Behind this glass wall is everything letterpress! Their printshop is on display like a working museum. This is wonderful because all students on campus can see printing in action and it may entice them to take classes. Most letterpress shops are hidden in the basement and no one knows they exist.

There was so much going on at this conference. They had a vendor fair all days where Jim Croft selling his gorgeous bonefolders. There was a book created onsite in 24hrs. The edition size was 250. Particpatants from the conference were able to contribute to it by bringing an item from their studio that could be scanned in. I assisted in the final production of the book (folding, Stapling, and trimming).Here is a picture of the final books. Everyone at the conference received a copy.

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There was also another ongoing project happening throughout the conference called [in code]. A group of artists go by the name Shift-lab developed this collaborative project. Here are details about the project from their website http://www.shift-lab.org  [in code] is a social media inspired collaborative project by shift.

1. #tweet #retweet #text between January 2-4, 2014 [cbaa] or March 27-29, 2014 [sgc]
2. Use the hashtags #printedword #woodtype #letterpress #shiftlab #cbaa #sgc
3. Watch your tweets become part of a collaborative print project. 

The picture to the right is one of many prints they produced.

Here are pictures of the shop and the exhibitions…

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Work Around The World!

Busy, Busy, Busy… The past couples months out of graduate school and into the real world have been a roller coaster. Trying to create a balance to make your own work, stay involved in the arts, submit work to shows, write grants, make money, work a full time job, and a could part time jobs, and teach workshops can be crazy but sounds pretty normal for artist. The last month I have committed to applying for shows and grants and I think it paid off. The next couple of months I am honored and super excited to have my work displayed in multiple locations. If you are in the vicinity of any you should stop by to check out my work along with all the other work!

China: Exhibition of Miniatures in Jiujang University
New York: New York Bound: International Book Art Biennial at Islip Art Museum
Alabama: Juried 918 Letterpress Printed Ephemera Show at Samford University Art Gallery
Chicago: At the Arcade, 618 South Michigan Ave. I received a grant last year and this is a show for all the grant recipients. It is on display now check it out!

Utah: In January I will be presenting my Thesis Project at the College Book Art Association (CBAA) in Salt Lake City

Sometimes I feel like applying to shows and grants can be a full time job in itself. There will be lots of rejections but there will also be times of excitement. I think all artist should make a personal commitment to apply for so many grants and shows every couple months. In the end you should never give up this is an integral part of an artist’s life.

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The End Is Here!!!!!

This weekend I will be walking and officially receive my MFA in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts. It was a long and fast three years. (if that makes sense)  Looking back I feel the time has flown by but during these three years I remember feeling the end of the tunnel was soooo far away. Now I am trying to figure out the question everyone in the past couple months has been asking me… “What is next?” As of now I am hoping and praying for a job in the near future!!! The search mission is beginning. I currently have THREE part-time jobs (I produce the Journal of Artists Books (JAB), teach art at two public schools in Chicago, and the not so fun job of waiting tables). My goal is to find ONE full time job. Oh how lovely that would be. Well that is it for now. Enjoy some pics from my thesis show!

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APHA (American Printing History Association) Conference

This past weekend The Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College hosted the American Printing History Association Conference.  Chicago was the perfect location for the conference this year.  The Center’s building is located in the heart of Printer’s Row. In the late nineteenth century this area was the heart of Chicago’s printing and publishing industry.  The remnants of printing businesses are still visible in the area through the architecture and signage.

Printer’s Square Building

It was a two day conference which kicked off with a mini book fair.  There were  wonderful artists and books at the fair.  There was a good variety of books that ranged from type specimen books, books on printing history, to artist books. Then Saturday was panel talk after panel talk that range from french street signage, designing typefaces, this history of printing presses, and much more.

Books by Firebrand Press

“Circus Watcher” by Ken Botnick

Dave Peat’s Gothic Sectional typeface

Lastly, there was a pop-up student gallery for students who attended the conference. This was my first APHA conference and it will not be my last.

Student Gallery works by Katie Kotan and Crane Giamo

Student Gallery works by Claire Sammons and boo Gilder

Student Gallery works by Kathi Beste and Caroline Anderson

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