PRINT MARATHON, January 26, 2012

Though January is a cold month, we fanned the creative fires here at PRESS. Eleven artists from the region came together for a focused, intense weekend-long workshop involving printmaking and letterpress. We wanted to share the exceptional facilities that PRESS offers, and see what a varied group of artists might produce in these circumstances. Artists new to printmaking joined experienced printmakers to carve, cut, roll, and print. Proofs were pulled, concepts revised and adapted, editions were made, all in the course of a weekend. Many artists used a new technique for the first time. Some came in with one idea, then did something entirely new. We all learned something from one another. Shelves and tables piled up with freshly-pulled prints. With wind chill advisories in the negatives, we were opening the front door to bask in the cool, dry air.

Throughout the weekend, traditional and experimental letterpress printmaking techniques were used to explore the theme WEATHER. Three presses were employed: the Vandercook mechanical letterpress (under the close guidance of Melanie Mowinski), the newly arrived Poco proof press, and a borrowed hand-operated etching press. In this show you will see:

*       Typographical experiments using wood and lead type by Karen Arp-Sandel, Michael Vincent Bushy and Andy Davis.

*       Linoleum prints including a reductive linoleum print with a rainbow roll by Valerie Carrigan and Laura Cromwell’s large raindrops mixed with lead and wood type.

*       Polymer Plate, a plate made off-site from a file generated in the computer that Melanie Mowinski used to create her print, which she then augmented with hand-coloring.

*       Pressure Prints, a magical process made by creating low-relief collage. This “plate” gets run through the press UNDER the paper. Look for Derek Parker’s incredibly detailed satellite that was cut with a digital cutting machine, Claire Fox’s mysterious grey landscape made through layers of painting tape, Anne Roecklin’s layered pressure print with collage, and Pam Buchanan’s Magritte-inspired scene.

*       Pronto Plates, a quick and easy lithographic process. Sandy Butler brought some of these plates to try on the hand-etching press, but once she arrived at PRESS, she and Melanie decided to try the process on the big Vandercook. Neither had any idea of what to expect, but it worked! While you don’t get the punch that letterpress is known for creating, 50+ prints were created in half the time normally needed and with very consistent results.

Each participating artist received a complete portfolio of all of these prints. Every print is for sale, individually or as part of the entire portfolio, as a benefit for PRESS Gallery to continue its programming.

We would like to thank Tom Merrill, Derek Parker & Andy Davis for moving the Poco to PRESS.

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