I recently took my first lithography class with Gretchen Schermerhorn at Pyramid Atlantic, working with aluminum plates. I have wanted to give litho a try for a long time because it’s the only printmaking technique that can seamlessly transfer the line quality of a drawing to print. It was a great intro class, and my friend Lindsay McCulloch and I have been setting up printing dates ever since so that we can practice (we have to have a glass of wine to lighten up while we work because the process is so intense!). We’ve done two prints so far, have been learning a lot, and if there was ever a time to have a studio partner this is it!
Luckily, these prints I’ve been working on fit nicely into the theme of a show I’ve been invited to participate in called Art @ Work. The theme is unemployment, and how it can lead to depression, isolation, and breaking families apart. Conversely, art can play a powerful role in our communities and Albus Cavus , the arts organization that partnered with The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery to put on the show, uses public art to uplift and strengthen communities.
The prints are inspired by a stereogram I found at my husband’s granny’s house a few years ago–the photo was of soldiers baking bread in a field kitchen, during WWI I think. The image was very stricking because of the huge stacks of bread they were amassing. This led me to many other bread images, including photos of bread lines from WWII. Bread is a powerful image representing hunger and nourishment, and even though we don’t see the large piles of bread in them today, bread lines are still a necessity for many people who struggle to make enough to feed their families.
I’m very interested in finding alternative ways to display works on paper, and eventually settled on the idea of creating cast paper loaves of bread, and mounting the prints inside. The idea came to me while browsing Elisabeth Omdahl’s blog, which I discovered in a random google search a while back, and go to often for inspiration. How strange to find a kindred spirit in another part of the world–for example, she posted recently about her cat “little prince” dying. My childhood cat was named little prince!! And we have a very similar aesthetic. Anyhow, check out this lovely paper egg she made http://omdahlart.blogspot.com/2011/07/installation-tests.html . My camera started acting up recently, so I haven’t been able to get a great picture of the finished piece. These will have to do for now.
I had to work fast to get the pieces ready in time for the show, but I’m so glad to have had that push. And really glad to have had help from Gretchen and Ripley making paper, and a tip from my friend Morgan Ward about where to find a nice piece of weathered wood! It was really fun to experiement with these new techniques!