Printmaking January-June 2021

Printmaking TA Journal ~ January 25-31, 2021

This is my first post on my new website and I’m so excited to start this new experience. Here I will be able not only share my art with you all but also document my journey becoming an educator. I am currently enrolled in SUNY Oneonta as a BFA Studio & Digital Art undergrad student and then after I graduate I will be moving on to grad school to get my masters in education. This semester I will be working as a Teachers Assistant in the Print 1 course at SUNY Oneonta. It is an introductory course giving students the opportunity to try a wide range of print materials and techniques, now with the added bonus of teaching them how simple it can be printing with materials readily available around them. This will be my first time in a college classroom on the ‘other side of the isle’. I look forward to helping students develop their skills as printmaking and hopefully show them how fun and limitless printmaking can be, maybe even help them fall in love with the art the same way my mentor helped me. One challenge I think I will face will be reacquainting myself with some methods and techniques in printmaking, such as intaglio printing. I have already started to watch videos on it as well as getting use to the new tools and I’ve found its a lot like riding a bike, only this bike has a sharp tool that I may or may not have stabbed myself with on accident in the past. All things considered I am beyond grateful and excited for this opportunity to not only continue developing my skills as an artist but also continue my path to being an educator

Printmaking TA Journal ~ February 1-7, 2021

This is my second entry and I am already stumbling, but I’m determined to get the hang of keeping a blog and getting my thoughts down not just for my own use in the future but perhaps my trip ups will aid someone else. This is also teh (<— if you see this just know I meant to type ‘the’ and for what ever reason muscle memory has now made my fingers want to hit the ‘h’ last, I will try to edit these as much as possible but that tends to be my most common and overlooked mistake) second week of classes. It’s strange the way my brain looks at tasks, while I am a TA in printmaking and it is technically a class for me I dont have the same drag to work on stuff for it or wake up in time to hold my own version of ‘office hours’ for the students. Instead Mondays and Wednesdays I’m up before my alarm ready for the day. I experienced a similar situation roughly two years ago now when I was give then opportunity to student teach at my old high school. It’s crazy how when you truly enjoy your work it no longer feels like working. These situations have only solidified my desire to be a teacher in the near future. 

Currently in the Printmaking 1 class, an intro into various printmaking techniques and methods, the students are working on drypoint prints, and intaglio process where a sharp scribe/needle like tool is used to scratch lines into plexiglass (What the students use) or more commonly metals such as zinc or copper. These scratched lines then act as little trenches to hold ink. The intaglio process is the most closely related to drawing as the marks you make on the material is what will print, as opposed to relief printmaking where it is the surface left over that makes the print. This isn’t a form of printmaking that I have had a lot of experience with since I myself took Print 1 almost two years ago, but its been a fun experience being able to work along side the students and see what theyre coming up with and to see how they individually respond to the materials, ive found it hard so far getting out of my relief printing mindset. David, our lab tech for the studio spaces, made an excellent point about the importance of understanding the style of printmaking youre using and what type of print it will give you. Dry points often have a scratchy jagged quality to them as getting smooth lines and flat areas of value can be difficult. This is why I believe Davids wolf print turned out so well. He leaned into the dry point and what it could give him and in the end he made a print that has a Erie sort of life to it, every time I look at the print i feel as though I’m out camping in the winter time (Something I’d never actually do unless its in a well heated cabin) and then through the almost whiteout snow you can make out the figure of a black wolf staring back at you. It’s a very successful print in my eyes. I went with an amulet design with a sigil in the middle and most of my issues came from trying to work against the material. I am enjoying how its turning out so far tho and am excited to continue pushing on it.

Below are some of the current working proofs of the demo print I’ve been working on along side the students, I’m finally getting back into the groove of intaglio just in time to move onto woodcut printing… One of the major differences ive noticed between the the two styles of printing is how different the process of actually rubbing the plate/block is (The plate or block refers to the material that is carved or scratched into the make the print). In relief printmaking you need a fair amount of pressure but its more so about making sure that the entire surface has been evenly and thoroughly rubbed, where as with intaglio I’m finding that things print better with a high amount of pressure localized on the areas that are holding ink. This added pressure is needed to punish the paper into the scratched grooves to allow it to pick up the ink. An issue i often run into with working proof prints is they aren’t usually completely printed, I’m usually looking to see if something particular is working and if i can see it is or isn’t I move on to addressing the issue or working on the next bit.