I finally wrote my bio/artist statement. It just happened. I didn't over think, really didn't think at all. It has taken me forever to have something written down that seems true to me, that makes any sense, that I feel good about. *Exhale* I can stop holding my breath now.
I have been doing some printmaking. Shh.. It's a private thing (not anymore) that I am working through on my own. I read, read, watch, try, read, try, dream it. For now, I'm taking the easy road and using easy to cut vinyl or eraser like blocks. To get a feel for it. I did use one official linoleum block for my monograph, (Dürer-like) but mostly influenced by Käthe Kollwitz (though she used woodblock, "tiny steps, young one") and Matisse. Whatever my results, it feels good to make them. A Lot of feel good!
Note to Self:
1. Make stencils out of used, Bristol, envelopes, junk mail.
2. Ink the surface of the Gelli plate, Thin coat
3. place stencil on ink
4. Place paper on top of the stencil. Today I used some Sumi-e paper. It was GREAT!
Try other art paper, lokta, papyrus, mulberry....
5. Pull stencil and off-center the printed paper and gather ghost print
Ink surface again if desired: repeat steps
Why didn't I do this earlier?
The 2017 steampunk themed art show will be without my creative display. I have relented to the idea that anything I did would either look like I tried too hard or seemed stereotypical. In my efforts to create something related to Steampunk the best ideas I had were three dimensional. So in the end, I ditched the show as an opportunity and am looking forward to visiting it on opening night. I wonder what other people think of when it comes to Steampunk?
Now there were supplies lying around; bolts, nuts, sheet metal and new metal snippers. Then a thought chimed into in head. "Tree charm!" With a bit of fishing wire and beads and one misfit hubcap, I made a shiny and sharp "don't touch" tree charm. I'm curious if the birds will nest in the hubcap. If so, then it's kind o a two-for-one deal. They won't be affected by the sharpness of the metal strips, if you were worried.
I have recently discovered an artistic opportunity for a Steampunk-themed show. It is not a foreign topic to me as I have seen people wearing the top hats, corsets, goggles, "gear-everywhere" outfits, passenger balloons and steam engines. It is Victorian, Edwardian, and the Early American West. There are drawings of fantastical cityscapes designed to function on the power of steam and air. Sure, I could draw something like that (no, not really) or a kitten with goggles and a steam-powered laser gun, a clockwork style airship, a lady in a Victorian style dress with a mechanical eye attachment, but is that what steampunk is? Yes, sort-of, but it is much more than that. After spending a bit over a week studying the world of steampunk through YouTube videos and online readings, I feel I have gained some insight into this subculture, even though it is just a toe-wetting bit of knowledge.
I like that Steampunk is community of creative, DIYers that borrow from a particular time in human history and make it into an engaging alternative fantasy world which one can experience in real time with real people. You can even make up your own persona with its own special history!
The community engages in the re-purposing of material, which is becoming a necessity in this wasteful society. They use a term 'Maker'. I am a maker of things! It celebrates history. Even though it's an alternative version set into the modern world, I believe thinking about history helps us not to forget it.
Steam and air power seem like relics in this micro-electronic, fossil-fuel based world, but is it really? Today, we need to start living in an energy efficient society that doesn't destroy our environment. Solar, wind, plant and geothermal energy are on the tips of everyone's tongues, sweet or bitter. I even spent time looking up solar steam power. Its still has some kinks but seems promising. Oh, and making costumes, you know, cosplay, that is just right up my alley.
I am delighted in the way it slips in a history lesson. I enjoy historical research and then bending it to my own will. The community within Steampunk incorporates ideas that I agree with already.
1. Community is important.
2. Creativity is necessary for survival.
3. History has much to offer in the way of inspiration.
4. Being Steam is being Green! Re-purpose and make anew.
5. Play and use your imagination, life's too short not to.
Oh, and I am still working on what to do for the show.
"What to do, what to do?" I ponder to myself, as my mechanical finger clicks gently to my temple while I gazing at the bulbous airship passing by my tea room window.
Marble paper instead! My daughter and I spent the evening practicing the art of Suminagashi. A past co-student and great artist had told me how she spent hours marbling paper, partly because she lost track of time. It is really engaging. I found a good video tutorial(1) on Youtube and had to try it. Went back to Dolphin Paper and asked what would be good to use. They offered two types of papers with varying weights and colors. I went with the bugra. It is slightly toothed on one side and has a light square pattern that allows for easy measuring when cutting. It also feels a bit like cloth. I already had the other tools for the process. Suminagashi means "floating ink" and had been practiced in Japan since the early 12th century (2). Do to limited space, we used a 9x13 casserole dish for our water basin. We used a mason jar for the "white ink", which is a drop of dish soap to 1 cup water. (This is very important, too much soap and it doesn't work right, we found this out ;-) We use Higgins black India ink for the color. I imagine you can use any waterproof ink. Use two brushes, one for ink in one hand, and one for soap water in the other, and begin. Touch the black ink to the surface of the water and alternate soap/ink/soap/ink...et.c. We didn't carry on this too long as we were working with a small space. When we were happy with the spontaneous design we laid the paper on the surface and waited a couple minutes, pulled, and placed it on a paper towel, face up, to dry. I patted the tops of a few and realized that wasn't a good idea. It took up some of the ink and gave my marbled paper some towel prints. Ugh!. Oh well. It is great for all ages and super relaxing.
I visited Dolphin Papers & Art supplies today after giving up on the isolation my apartment provides. I always thought of myself as a fabric junkie. I am of course, but now! Now, I have found a new love, a new drug called paper. I'm not talking ruled, parchment, plain, printer, newsprint paper. These are children's toys. This paper that is called, Lokta, Amate, Goyu, Thai Unryu, and so many more beautiful names. They come from all over the world. The Amate is bark paper, handmade in Mexico. It is just wonderful to touch. Not sure what I'm going to do with it yet but I think pastels would complement it well.