Monday, March 24, 2014

Things I Learned in Grand Marais

Hello all!

Wow, it's been a busy two weeks!  I'm finally getting caught up after being gone for four days to the Hinterland, AKA Grand Marais, Minnesota, where I took a very intense 3-day woodcut workshop at North House Folk School/Grand Marais Art Colony.  Here's what I took away from the weekend:

1.  Grand Marais is my Shangri-la.
I've always been a cold-weather person, but I never realized how much until this visit.  While my region of Wisconsin had melting snow, it showed no sign of spring in Grand Marais - quite the opposite!  It was like a friendly, beautiful, non-evil version of Narnia.  Oh, and if you're ever in Grand Marais, do yourself a favor and visit the two aforementioned places - you won't be disappointed!  I immediately felt at home in both.

2.  I really enjoy working small.
The blocks we carved in the class were 8X10" - now, for many of you, that may seem quite small.  On the contrary!  For me, it was an unwieldy size for the design I chose.  Unless my design contains oodles of tiny details, I'll stick to my 3X4" blocks.  I haven't even mentioned how much I love my Flexcut micro set of U gouges!

3.  I never knew intaglio/relief inks could be so beautiful or versatile!
We worked with Akua inks, which are INCREDIBLE.  Because I'm a beginner, I've bought a lot of Speedball inks, which have worked fine for me.  But from now on, I'll be supplementing my ink stash with Akua colors.  They're dreamy.

4.  There's just something about working with natural materials.
I've been taking lessons from Angie Zimmerman, a printmaker in Sheboygan, WI, for months now.  That's when I knew I loved working with wood.  That idea was enforced this weekend (but see #2, above).  My go-to medium is linoleum, for ease of use.  I'll save the woodcuts for special occasions.

5.  Registration is not my thang.
Or, to be more specific, I like my  way of doing it.  It's funny how one gets used to a certain way of doing something and it's hard to change.  I've always had a difficult time with drawing a straight line, even with measuring implements.  So until it no longer works for me, I'll stick with my own version.  It's a great hack.  :)

My one salvageable print from the class....I'll stick with my
own method of registration.  :) 
6.  If one is relatively new to woodcuts, one should never carve non-stop for more than 5 hours.
Yeah.  Question:  Is it normal for one's thumb and forefinger to still be numb 8 days after the workshop? I should probably get that looked at, shouldn't I.

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