Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Work Work

Hello there. All sorts of things have happened since the last post, but mostly just plain getting to work, which feels good, very good.
First, I've now been volunteering at Tiger Lily Press here in Cincinnati and have been doing monitor nights once a week with another fellow printmaker. Before getting into regular hours, my co-volunteer and I spiffed up some things around the shop: she setting up the screen printing area, and I was arranging a bit in intaglio- all with help from the lovely ladies in charge!
I set up to clean the etching press- a good ole Charles Brand that just needed a little grease, polish, and love. I've learned what I know in this department from the fabulous press repairman, Perry T.
So here is getting set up:

Next a little WD-40 and scrubbing, then grease:

And last, here it is, all shined-up:

Hooray for grease and polish! Also, as mentioned, I learned a new etch for zinc plates from the fabulous folks there; it's called 'Saline Sulfate,' which uses Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate and table salt in equal parts. So say, for a small tray, use 1/2 cup copper and salt each, stir with 2 cups hot water to dissolve, then add 6 more cups of water in the tray. I can give more details on the process to anyone interested.
Here is the chemical- also used as a sewer root killer amongst other things, but best to get the technical grade for etching:

The pretty bath- it changes more to blue after it's been mixed a while and goes clear when it's all spent. It also produces a strange red copper sludge that looks a bit like algae:

And here is the test plate; I was amazed at what fine lines it produces! It can also apparently be used for aluminum and steel, but in slightly different proportions and with different results. I do recall it being a lot more volatile and rough on aluminum, so my favorite is still zinc:

In the midst of etching tests, I have also been very busy printing for the artist I work for, Jay B. He had a recent sale of a portfolio from a few years ago of his woodcut movie, so I had to fill in and supplement prints to complete it. Here I've been working on collating the finished prints:

And proof that I actually printed some of it! Hooray for Krista and I:

It's all stacked up and finished, phew!

I promise I will have more of my own work soon, yes, I swear! I am starting a few things right now. Otherwise, still sewing and also brewing Kombucha, and I am now experimenting with some very needy Jewish sour rye bread. Mmm...we'll see! Till next time...

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Work

Okay, so there has been one thing holding me back from some new work-  fighting with health insurance. That's right. Private health insurance bee ess. I am now swimming in medical bills and cannot get insurance simply because I've had a few surgeries in the past year. Mm hmm. But I won't go on, because this blog is really about art and obsolete things...and cooking. But perhaps that can even be considered obsolete at times.

So what better to do if you're a printmaker than take out your aggression with stamps? Yes indeedy, come and get your all-purpose Pre-Existing Condition stamp:

Go ahead and pre-empt your insurance company- just stamp it yourself! What's really great is that you can apply it to anything. Like if someone blames you for a mess in the house...or dinner got burned. Or hey,what if your home needs some serious repair? Don't worry about it- it's pre-existing!

moldy wall?

Janky table?

Just stamp it!

Okay, but really- I made the stamp for some work I am currently producing for a show on political issues/society/justice. Here be the finished work:

graphite and linocut, 2012

I also did another piece on the gas lines and drilling from my family's country back home in PA:

pencil and gouache, 2012

Other than that, I completed a small copper plate in the fall:

Empty Grove, etching and mezzotint, 2011

And of course lots of little test plates with zinc and misc linocut cards. Ah yes, and I also took a letterpress business card class at local Steam Whistle Press, loads of fun!

So I'm really looking forward to the saline sulfate etch and finally getting that big zinc plate into the bath. Mmm...

The State of Things

Why hello there. It's been a while. A good while. And yes, I have done a lot more things with my MFA than make pretzels. But I have done quite the mysterious thing lately and tossed a stale pretzel more than 30 feet where it landed square on this tiny branch. Three days later, it's still there...and the birds have been feeding on it.

I don't think you can get a degree for that...

So I now live in Cincinnati, above a giant trainyard: a crazy dilapidated house that's sliding right down the hill. Yes, into the trainyard:

gouache painting, 2011

But luckily it's a very cool city because they still have typewriter repair:

Yay, they're open!

I get to share a nice studio where I took over and set up my own little 'printshop' in the corner. Yes, that press was already there, a lovely medium-sized Griffin etching press. That closet on the left is the acid room. Mmm...

It also has pretty cool lighting at the right time of day:

Well such is life thus far. I've been doing work, assisting for an artist and creating all sorts of crazy experiments with fermenting things. That would include sourdough, yogurt, and kombucha, yum! I've also been sewing. Lots of head-scratching at the sewing machine. But it's coming along. I've recently become involved at our local print co-op, Tiger Lily press. The most lovely and generous people there, and recently we had a demo for an exciting new etch for zinc- saline sulfate (copper sulfate and table salt). Here is a link to their test a year ago: It produces beautiful lines and I'm so excited to not have to worry about a Hindenburg explosion from ferric and zinc on that giant plate I want to do next.

But mostly it is a quiet life above the trainyard. Some new work updates very soon.