Saturday, September 28, 2013

Nature Printing Society Workshop

foggy Charleston area
 I spent a wonderful, foggy week in Oregon at the Nature Printing Society annual workshop.  Members of the Society gather once a year to spend a week printing together.  There are classes to take and socializing together.  The talents of this group are formidable and varied and I always learn so much from one of the workshops.  Our venue this year was the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston, near Coos Bay.  Besides days (and nights!) spent printing, there were many other activities.....

 There was  spectacular ocean front scenery.....

.....and a dear, dear friend in attendance.  And there were Squid Heads!  Yes, Squid Heads, to the delight of all the attendees....
Sharron Huffman and Heather Fortner, great sports and great printers
There were clowns.....
The Amazing Fred Mullet, Himself
 .....and there was dancing.....

The past president, Chris Dewees takes current president, Bee Shay, for a spin in the parking lot
 ......and singing and dancing to Mack the Knife.  "Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear....."
His Fishness, Fred Mullett and Bee Shay 
And there were pirates.  There must be pirates, don't you think?

Bee Shay at her most piratical

There was also a lot of serious nature printing going on.  I took four wonderful classes and learned so much.  Kathy Bower taught monoprinting with an etching press and I spent a happy day trying this leaf and that plant and inking them all, printing happily.  
Kathy Bower teaching the monoprinting with an etching press class

a sampling of the prints I did in Kathy's class
There were classes in eco printing, where leaves and flowers were used to dye cloth.  And there was a great class taught by Warren Hartz in printing with leaves onto silk scarves.  I took that one and had a wonderful time.  It was not too difficult, but it's very time consuming and rather technical and from now on I think I'll just purchase one of the Hartz' gorgeous scarves when I am in the market!

my scarf during the printing process
my scarf dyed and drying on the frame
My favorite class was white line woodblock printing with Lynne Hubner.  I have just gotten into carving woodblocks for printing so this was a very timely class.  This process is quite different from any other woodblock printing I have done as you use watercolors instead of ink, and the watercolor paint is applied to the woodblock in a single area at a time, then the paper is placed over the block and you burnish the back of the paper to facilitate the transfer of the watercolor paint to the paper.  It takes quite a long time to print the block, depending on size, but it's very meditative and I loved the process.
my woodblock in the process of being carved

 It was a wonderful workshop!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Emily Carr Interlude

My, haven't I been gone a long, long time!  Sorry for the silence.  I've been traveling and will soon be traveling again but in the meantime I wanted to share a poem from a slim volume of poetry I found when I was on Vancouver Island recently.  It's called Emily and is written by Florence McNeil*.  Ms. McNeil has "translated her own love of the West Coast and its rain forests, seas and mountains into poetry based on the life and work of Emily Carr."  

Emily Carr is one of my favorite artists and I seem to grow to love her paintings more and more as the years pass.  I thought that Ms. McNeil did a most admirable job of writing in (what I imagine) is Emily Carr's voice.


It is not the surface I want

not the ocean with the sunday sailors

the harbour where ladies
boldly (in summer)
consider their ankles

or the straw hats 
that float
in the placid inner harbour

I want     like Alice to go through
the glass
come out on the other side
of respectability

display barnacles kicking
on the schooners' bottoms

show the insolent energy of seaweed

tell the languishing ladies and gentlemen
of Victoria     in their sacred departures
there is violence
florid and beautiful

beneath their holy excursions.

*Florence McNeil, Emily, (Toronto/Vancouver: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1975, print).

I will try, Dear Reader, to post a few snaps of where I've been and share with you what I've been up to, before I leave for Southern Africa early in October.