Tag Archives: book arts

Inside the Artist’s Studio with KS Lack

I started working with letterpress almost eight years ago, when I was looking for a way to print a mixed-media piece for a gallery in Brooklyn. I fell in love with the medium:  the richness of the inks, the juxtaposition of typography and imagery, how different paper types interact with ink and pressure—the list goes on. There are so many ways to create something unique, even if you are making multiples.

I also write poetry and both facets of my work have a profound influence on one another. There is poetry in presswork. Nothing makes you understand the weight of words like laying them out by hand.

Laying out type at the London Centre for Book Arts

Laying out type at the London Centre for Book Arts

Squall and Sunset, the two pieces featured in the Land and Sea exhibition, were printed at the London Centre for Book Arts. The prints were created on a Stephenson Blake press, a manufacturer that is common in the UK but rare in the US. For a pressure print, the ink is applied to a base instead of onto the rollers. The paper is then rolled over the ink, and the weight of the press is what makes the print. The cylinder on this Stevie B is very heavy, which makes for great pressure. As for inks, the LCBA has a wonderful collection of vintage, oil-based inks that were great fun to play with.

Some of the vintage orange inks at the LCBA

Some of the vintage orange inks at the LCBA

Printers love this Stevie B model because it has a very wide bed. This let me print on 22-inch squares (I used Redeem 130gsm, a 100% recycled paper), which are quite large for a single letterpress page. I printed each piece four times; the paper became so supersaturated with ink that it took over a week to dry.

Prints drying on the racks

Prints drying on the racks

Finished prints

Finished prints

Then I took the plunge and cut each sheet into four strips.

Cut down to size

Cut down to size

While living in the UK, I was particularly struck by the vitality of the countryside. Everything seemed so lush—the sea off Cornwall, fields of grass and hay with poppies growing by the side of the road, summer sunsets and rainy days—it was all on my mind as I mixed and applied the ink.

The individual strips were getting overwhelmed when mounted with traditional matboard. I decided to use acrylic for the front and back, allowing the vibrancy of the inks to stand out. I also like how the colors seem to float within the frame when hung on a wall. 

RBR  for R&T

RBR for R&T

Green Flash

Green Flash

As a person with a long-term disability, I find there is a lot of synergy between my art and how I try to live my life. Working on a press could be all about its limitations. Instead, I find that the structure inherent in presswork grants me greater freedom by giving me something to lean on. I may not always be able to hold a pen, but I can create something beautiful by working within the constraints of the press in order to transcend them.

You can find out more about my work at my website: www.zitternpress.com.


KS Lack is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Megan Armstrong

Megan’s artwork is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. Her work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


Artist Statement:
A line is a critical tool for communication – whether compositionally visual or textual, a line connected to another line creates a navigational thread to follow – this thread can be woven in and out as a form of coded language – the duplicity of a line is directly linked to the formation and understanding of words – whether drawn or written, a line can develop into structures, systems, labels, and powerful (perhaps dangerous) associations – associations spur emotional, factual, and fallible interpretations and translations – lines act as evidence of human thought – definitions, synonyms, organizations – lines slide back and forth to create new relationships, pairings, combinations, composites, connections – the limitlessness of the line is linked with it’s limitations – through repetitive, compulsive exploration and manipulation of lines I investigate notions of normalcy by examining the narrative lines between fiction and reality.

Through practical and emotional research of a specific system – mental illness and the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Version 5 (DSM-V) – I create artwork that translates the coded language within the system, as well as the individual experiences that are left out of the clinical translation of human behavior. When a system and it’s coding logic is laboriously translated into didactic lines that weave in and out, attempting individuality, but ultimately creating controlled chaos, the complexity and ambiguity of a convoluted system remains.  

Work in Progress

Megan Armstrong in her studio drawing lines for a work in progress.

For the past three years my work has focused on the exploration of lines, as a form of communication, translation, and investigation of systems and mark-making. While the width and style of the line remains consistent in each drawing, it is important that every endeavor is a challenge, whether in content or form.

Artist Studio

Megan Armstrong’s home studio.

This past summer I moved to Rochester, NY, and set up a temporary artist studio in my home. The second I step into the house I am reminded of the art I have made in the past, current pieces, and the type of work I would like to attempt in the future.

Nomenclature, 2016, Ink and graphite drawing on paper, 36"H x 42"W

Nomenclature, 2016, Ink and graphite drawing on paper, 36″H x 42″W

Hanging above my makeshift drawing table is Nomenclature, a drawing I started at the Byrdcliffe Artist Residency in Woodstock, New York in 2015, and completed in 2016. The drawing is created by individual ink lines woven together. The background was laboriously hand-drawn, erased, and re-worked in graphite.

A Reductionistic Anachronism, 2016, Ink drawings on paper, Eighteen individual 12"H x 12"W drawings

A Reductionistic Anachronism, 2016, Ink drawings on paper, Eighteen individual 12″H x 12″W drawings

Resting on the drawing table is a work in progress titled A Reductionistic Anachronism. This piece was started with the simple and necessary idea of individual drawings building and creating a larger drawing. I was in the process of moving and had packed up all of my larger works and tools, except for my micron pens. I began working on a 12″ x 12″ drawing with the intention that it would connect to another, and another, and another… In a grouping of 18 drawings as shown it measures a total of 36″H x 72″. This drawing will continue to grow indefinitely.

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language (106), 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 12"H x 12"W

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language (106), 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 12″H x 12″W

The drawing shown above was created for the Small Works 2016 Exhibit at Main Street Arts. I challenged myself to take content I had previously worked on in a large scale, to the restricted dimensions of 12″H x 12″W. The drawing created for Small Works 2016, which won the Director’s Choice Award, features 106 lines total, signifying the amount of mental disorders defined by the first version of the DSM. The piece is an iteration of a drawing I created for my MFA Thesis at San Francisco Institute of Art, title The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language for Communication (pictured below). The entire drawing includes 394 hand-drawn ink lines, depicting the number of current codes for diagnosing mental illness, as categorized by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Version 5 (DSM-V). These pieces were created line by line, and each line is numbered, with a clear beginning and end. This means that you can follow one line in it’s entirety. In both drawings there seems to be a clear form, although abstract, when viewed from a distance. The closer you get to the drawings, the easier it is to see the distinctions between each line, the connections and interactions, as well as the varying paths traveled. Each line is completely unique and wholly individual, yet viewed on the same page and in the same space, they begin to seem the same and it is more difficult to clearly define them as separate.

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language for Communication, 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 48"H x 48"W

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language for Communication, 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 48″H x 48″W

Line Theory, 2015, ink drawings on paper, artist book, 7" x 8.5" x .5"

Line Theory, 2015, ink drawings on paper, artist book, 7″ x 8.5″ x .5″

Line Theory is a hand-drawn and hand-written artist book I created in collaboration with photographer Brian Dean, who beautifully hand-bound each book. Each page features a “chapter” and corresponding line drawing. The book holds 28 complete chapters (original poetry) and line drawings (the drawings grow from one line to twenty-eight lines). Line Theory is a limited edition of six, and each book in the edition features completely different drawings.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Megan’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Megan’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com. Visit her website at http://www.meganarmstrongart.com and follow her on Instagram @meganarmstrongart.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by ceramic artist Renee LoPresti.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with KaKeART Collaborations

Born in Rochester NY and Prague Czechoslovakia the KaKeART partnership began in graduate school at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where Tatana Kellner and Ann Kalmbach met  in the printmaking studio as exiles from the painting department. After graduate school, they arrived in Rosendale to help form the Women’s Studio Workshop, a not for profit artists’ workspace in 1974.

Scene Around Rosendale Cover

Scene Around Rosendale , 1982

Being interested in making our art more accessible to the public, we began publishing artists’ books in 1979, beginning with Scene Around Rosendale , a series of postcards of historic, contemporary and generic pastoral images readily found in local shops.

Scene Around Rosendale 2011

Scene Around Rosendale ,2011

We re-visited this theme again in 2001 and 2010, being interested in how our town has changed, while maintaing it’s essential character, as a town that grew up around cement mining industry.

My 9 Migraine Cures

My 9 Migraine Cures, 1987

Our collaboration has been pretty consistent over the decades. The impetus can be anything, a personal experience My Nine Migraine Cures, chance encounter, an article read, or a word spoken.

Your Co-worker Could Be A Space Alien

Your Co-worker Could Be A Space Alien, 1985

Your Co-Worker Could be A Space Alien  was based on a tabloid article given to us by a friend.  Since then we have have worked together on 16 artists’ books and numerous installation projects.

Pistol Pistil cover

Pistol Pistil, 1997

Pistol Pistil 2

Pistol Pistil

Because Tatana immigrated to USA from Prague, some of the subtleties of language have fascinated her, which lead to Pistol/Pistil: Botanical Ballistics. We printed the book while being artists-in-residence at the University of Southern Maine. The students were encouraged to assist and observe our process of negotiating the linguistic terms, printing sequences, and color choices.

Domestic Policy, silkscreen on handmade paper 2005

Domestic Policy, silkscreen on handmade paper 2005

Collaboration is a fascinating, rewarding and sometimes frustrating process, but in the end you learn a lot about yourself and your collaborator.

Shoot 1

Shoot to Kill, 1997

Around the same time as Pistol/Pistil, the hotel in our neighborhood opened a police shooting range. We collected the abandoned targets and gathered them into a book Shoot to Kill, where each target is paired with a word. The entire text: DID YOU EVER WONDER WHY POLICE TARGETS ARE TORSOS? is subtitled SHOOT TO KILL.
Here we debated at length if to include the word black, in the end deciding not to, since one of the targets we found was not a silhouette, but a fully clothed figure.

Shoot to Kill

Shoot to Kill, installed on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, August 2015

In the summer of 2015, in the context of ‘black lives matter’ movement, we installed the targets on a rail trail, as part of a public art festival.

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule, 2015

Our latest collaboration was The Golden Rule, an installation and an artist’s book. Both of these are are meditations on the unending quest to fulfill the golden rule. We lettered the text from 13 different religions on the rail trail. As the trail was biked, ran or walked on, the text slowly disappeared. In the book, the reader is confronted with a blind embossing of the text in one of the original languages, followed by handwritten, slowly dissolving translation. Only after leafing through to the next page is one able to read the tenet. This is contrasted with newspaper clippings of petty crime and punishment.

Ann Kalmbach and Tatana Kellner collaborate as KaKeART to produce humorous and politically charged works ranging from postcards, artists’ books and public interventions. They are also co-founders of Women’s Studio Workshop.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see their artwork in our current exhibition, Ink and Paper (runs through Friday, March 25). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by artist Nick Marshall.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Nick Marshall

Hi everyone, my name is Nick Marshall. My recent work, _e_scapes,  is included in Main Street Art’s exhibition “Ink and Paper” and this post will hopefully give you a little more insight to my practice.

_e_scapes started with a series of photographs I made in 2012-13. The images depict found snapshots of seaside vacations that are floating in a chromatic pool of color sampled from the air or water in the vernacular images via the eye dropper tool.

_e_scape

_e_scape

_e_scapes

_e_scape

Shortly after making the photographs I started on a series of paintings that would eventually be exhibited under the same title and hang parallel to the image based works. I didn’t have a studio at the time so I was working out of the living room in my one bedroom apartment.

This would be a good time to mention what I do with the majority of my hours during the week. I’ve been working at the George Eastman Museum since 2010 and was promoted to manager of exhibitions and programs in 2013. In addition to overseeing the installation of the museums exhibitions, I work closely with the curators and creative director to design and layout the shows.  This usually includes us looking through swatch books and laughing at some of the absurdly named paint colors. A few of my personal favorites, “Grandma’s Sweater 787″ and “Applesauce Cake 316-5″.

But really what was of interest to me was the way that the paint manufactures were assigning names and numbers to colors that were intended to represent nature, specifically air and water.

After an exhibition of the work at the Hartnett Gallery in Rochester, Tate Shaw, the director of Visual Studies Workshop, invited me to do a month long residency at VSW with the goal of making a book that would include some of the sketches I’d made for the paintings. I had never made a book before but I’d always wanted to so I jumped at the opportunity. At first my progress was a little slow. It was very difficult for me to take the sketches off the wall and not think about them that way. Once I got them in somewhat of a book form though the sequencing became really exciting and everything started to come together.

VSW Project Space

VSW Project Space (March 2015)

VSW Project Space (March 2015)

VSW Project Space (March 2015)

I also used my time at the residency to think about another series I’d been working on of straight images that I knew were related to color and the landscape but couldn’t quite figure out how to tie everything together. Seeing them in the space with the paint swatches made everything click and I began incorporating the swatches. This work is still in progress but it was an added bonus to working in the studio and being able to see these intersections of my work that I hadn’t previously.

VSW Project Space (March 2015)

VSW Project Space (March 2015)

VSW Project Space (March 2015)

VSW Project Space (March 2015)

At the end of the residency I had produced my first draft of the book.  Subsequent drafts would not include the suitcase images and the final version of the book has a different cover that was designed by Travis Johansen and I am MUCH happier with it.

1st draft of _e_scapes book

1st draft of _e_scapes book

1st draft of _e_scapes book

1st draft of _e_scapes book

The book starts with Dawn’s Early Light C57-1 and progresses through the day, enduring a rainstorm with the sun eventually coming back out and fading into a Peaceful Night 590F-7.

page layout from "_e_scapes"

page layout from “_e_scapes”

page layout from "_e_scapes"

page layout from “_e_scapes”

page layout from "_e_scapes"

page layout from “_e_scapes”

page layout from "_e_scapes"

page layout from “_e_scapes”

I hope you can make it out to see Ink and Paper at Main Street Arts. There are a lot of really great books and I’m grateful to be a part of the exhibition.

View Nick’s artwork online at www.n-marshall.com. Stop by Main Street Arts to see his artwork in our current exhibition, Ink and Paper (runs through Friday, March 25). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by book artist Amanda Chestnut.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Amanda Chestnut: Exploring Racial Identity Through Artist’s Books

Growing up out side of Binghamton, New York afforded me a bucolic, nonpareil childhood that combined a rigorous academic environment with a loving and supportive community. Largely sheltered from cultural strife, these seemingly unobtainable ideals are part of my motivation in asking difficult questions through my artwork.

Why do you have to make everything about race? installed at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, New York, January-February, 2015

Why do you have to make everything about race? installed at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, New York, January-February, 2015

Why can’t life be perfect? Where does this historic burden come from, and do we all carry it, even if only some of us actively choose to? In earning an MFA in visual studies from Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, I developed the ability to ask these questions through my artwork. Experiences at VSW formed who I am as an artist today.

from The Frederick Douglass Archive Project, in collaboration with Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, 2013

from The Frederick Douglass Archive Project, in collaboration with Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, 2013

I have been making photographs for 20 years, and had entered VSW with the intension of continuing to do so. I left VSW making books, instillations, and writing poetry. At VSW I learned to look to artists like Elizabeth Tonnard and Claudia Rankine for inspiration, as they deftly walk the line between literature and image art while exploring political ideas. The late artist and exhibitions guru Rick Hock would often ask us, “Why photographs?” He emphasized the necessity of choosing an appropriate medium for all works. Rick’s influence encouraged me in my explorations of poetry, bookmaking, and alternative mediums (like hair).

Actress Mae Johnson and Athlete Jesse Owens, in the folder "African Americans/Civil Rights/Jesse Owens," Part of the Soibelman Collection of Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, 2013

Actress Mae Johnson and Athlete Jesse Owens, in the folder “African Americans/Civil Rights/Jesse Owens,” Part of the Soibelman Collection of Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, 2013

Through VSW I was able to speak with artist Carla Williams, who validated my efforts in finding my voice as an artist of color. Finding this voice and using it well is a continual thought for me; I find Langston Hughes’ essay The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain from 1926 to be an interesting exploration of what it is to be an artist of color in America.

Since graduating a year ago in 2015, I’ve had residency opportunities at the Center for Photography at Woodstock in Woodstock, New York, and at the Genesee Center for Arts and Education, where I am currently in residence in Printing and Book Arts.

Cyanotype Book 4 was made during my time at Woodstock. The materials were in large part a felicitous combination of available materials and a printer that was insistent on not working. While waiting for technology to cooperate, I explored the cyanotypes, eventually compiling them into four unique yet similar books. My hair has been a continuing theme in my work because it has been a continuing theme in my life, as it is for many women of color. I spent many years allowing myself to be defined by my hair. This single feature, more than any other part of my body, has been used by others to measure how black I am, how white I am, how smart I am, how much money I have, and how much I am worth as an individual. While I know this is a societal/cultural burden that I do not have to make my own, I can’t help but explore why hair means so much.

I often ask myself, “How do I quantify hurt?” I wonder if the struggles that my my parents faced as an interracial couple, the brutality faced by my father because of the color of his skin, and the atrocities that were committed upon his ancestors all reside in me somewhere.

Through my books I have learned that my personal history is a shared history. I’ve been approached by many people with statements of solidarity. While many of the experiences that drive my work are deeply personal and often private in nature, in sharing them I’ve learned I’m not alone. This gives me strength to continue carrying this historical burden.

View Amanda’s artwork online at www.amandachestnut.com. Upcoming shows and classes, current projects, and cat photos can be found on Instagram @mandanut.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see her artwork in our current exhibition, Ink and Paper (runs through Friday, March 25). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by mixed media artist Peter Sowiski.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Candace Hicks

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My studio is starting to look like a depot for packing materials. I have had a lot of work out lately, and it’s all come back at the same time. These boxes held wooden boxes with illusionistic rooms inside.

Cloud illusion 2

The rooms are constructed so that the cloud that floats back and forth appears to shrink and grow as it traverses the room.  These photos were taken without the fish-eye lens that smoothes the illusion.  A room that is smaller on one side with a sloped floor is known as an Ames room.

Cloud illusion

A miniature servo attached to a wheel pulls the cloud back and forth.

Inside Ames

With the fish-eye lens in place the room looks straight.  Many years ago I made comic strips starring a cloud.  Not just any cloud! This was a thought cloud, the sort that normally appears in comics.  In my comic strips the thought cloud was the character.  In my Ames room sculptures, the cloud has returned and paces like a bored prisoner.

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654880_orig

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Here I’m adding a separate battery pack for the lights.  Soon it will be time to repack them and ship them to the next exhibit.

View Candace’s artwork online at www.candacehicks.com. Stop by Main Street Arts to see her artwork in our current exhibition, Ink and Paper. The exhibition is up through Friday, March 25. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by printmaker and book artist Jenna Rodriguez.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jenna Rodriguez: An Educator, Papermaker, Printmaker, and Book Artist

I have been an artist and art educator for the past 8 years. The past year and half I was the Victor Hammer Fellow at Wells College Book Arts Center in Aurora, NY. The fellowship allowed me to teach fifty percent of the time and create my own body of work fifty percent of the time.

My work focuses on creating a sense of place within my current geographical location. I attempt to connect with the local community while exploring the public and private experience of social engagement to create work that inspires self-reflection, thoughts, and human connection. Through the use of language and social engagement in the public sphere, I explore everyday life, which opens a dialogue, allowing me to investigate different avenues to create narratives. I seek to give our private thoughts a voice, and our public thoughts an amplifier. By giving them a voice, it empowers their creators and allows us to stop, listen, enjoy and realize that everyone, all around us, drinks from the same cup of humanness. I considers myself a collector, observer, and artist.

Different Spaces  I Create In

When I lived in Chicago I collected authentic thoughts that occur while in commute on public transportation. I asked every stranger that sat next to me on the train to participate. I transformed the project in a letterpress Printed Accordion Book with a downloadable soundscape and a video installation. You can view both pieces here: Running Thoughts

Cayuga Nation: Now & Then is a three hole pamphlet stitch book structure and was offset printed. I printed this book during a residency I had at Columbia College Chicago in the Center for Book and Paper Arts.  Three weeks after I moved to the shores of Cayuga Lake, the local gas station was barricaded with trucks, police and members of the local Cayuga Tribe. This event inspired me to explore the long history of the Cayuga Nation and the events that lead to the recent conflict within the tribe itself. Depending on which cover you open first you receive a different story. One side of the book tells the “Now” story (current issues) and the other side tells the “Then” story (history) of the tribe. I created this two-sided artist book to showcase my own observations, experiences, and research on the Cayuga Nation.

My most recent project is called Still. It memorializes roadkill I encountered in the Finger Lakes of Upstate New York. Moving from Chicago, IL to Aurora, NY I was overwhelmed with my daily encounter of roadkill. The book transforms into a creative non-fiction narrative allowing me to connect with my environment. The deceased animals were found on my daily commute and treated with respect. The cover is handmade paper to resemble asphalt. The book proceeds with an image of crows around an animal to represent the flight of their soul. Following is a pullout map indicating where animals were found. Animals are letterpress printed in two colors with linoleum blocks and polymer plates. A veterinarian allowed me to take x-rays, which are printed on transparent paper with vertical text stating statistics about roadkill. Each animal has an obituary that states factual and humorous information with a pullout photograph showing the crime scene and the longitude and latitude. At the end of the project a private ceremony was held where the animals were buried on an island to pay respect and give thanks.

My Process for “Still”

Final Product

This project has turned into something much larger than only an artist book. I have created handmade paper using the animals, I created an animation about the animals, I created screen-prints of the animals and then did embroidery work on top of the  prints. All of this work will be in a solo exhibition called Still at The String Room Gallery at Wells College in Aurora, NY. If you you are in the area you should come for the opening in Mid April.

View Jenna’s artwork online at www.jennarodriguez.com. Stop by Main Street Arts to see Jenna’s artwork in our current exhibition, Ink and Paper. The exhibition is up through Friday, March 25. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by book artist Alicia Taylor.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Alicia Taylor

visual journal 00001

One of the best ways I’ve found to focus my scattered mind is to allow myself to be completely captivated by the elements of the earth. I grew up in a house overlooking a large body of water and my fascination with water and the power that it can contain will never cease.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 9.33.45 PM

I observe and investigate these natural forces as a way to process my own bodily experience in this very tangible world and think about ways to perhaps reach for those parts of it that are intangible.

ataylor_insidecover

My studio  practice feels most like an evolving  cartography and an attempt find pattern  in the mapping of my mind and it’s movement through the ideas that hold my attention. The first book I ever made was in 3rd grade, titled “Why Pine Trees Don’t Lose Their Leaves” (below) in which I wrote an imagined story about the Pine Tree being bravest and most determined of all the trees to grow tall enough to reach the great tree spirit in the sky. When he did, he was rewarded by getting to keep his needles all year long.

visual journal 028

I included this here because there’s a distinct connection between my childhood instincts and curiosities that my current work is diving deeper into, dealing with the desire to understand why things happen the way they do.

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My ongoing book project began a couple years ago, while I was living with and caring for my grandfather who was progressing quickly through the stages of dementia. During this time, I found a handwritten poem titled “The Search” in a plastic bag at a thrift store. I understood the poem to be a placeholder for what my grandfather would never again be able to articulate. I began writing in his voice, and collecting and scanning the thousands of images he’d taken during his lifetime as a way to understand him and the loss he was encountering daily.

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I became increasingly interested in the way our minds work and spent a lot of time researching the physical/medical aspects of memory and memory loss. I found peace in the way everything in our bodies, down to the forms and lines of cells and nerves  could be mapped out, labeled, and understood in a scientific sense, like the image above. I made lots of drawings and paintings in reaction to this.

visual journal 046

I also took pictures everyday, following my interest in conveying time and change through the evidence of it in my environment.

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The manipulation of material, in the form of recycling paper and re-casting it as a new form brought a level of hope to the process for me. The above sculpture was made after turning my childhood sandbox into a big vat for pulling large handmade sheets of paper, only possible with the collaboration of my family members. These collaborative actions are what I understand now to be the thread that can link this project together.

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This book will likely be in the works for a couple more years, as it’s something I need time and space away from to  be able to navigate effectively. So there are a lot of other projects that dominate my time in the studio.

studio1 ice study

Right now, it’s textile projects, collaborative paintings and returning to the study of water as it undulates between freezing and thawing in the many tributaries in the forest behind my house.

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View Alicia’s artwork online at www.aliciahopetaylor.com. Stop by Main Street Arts to see Alicia’s artwork in our current exhibition, Ink and Paper. The exhibition is up through Friday, March 25. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by Rochester printmaker and photographer Rebecca Lomuto.

Inside the Studio with Sue Huggins Leopard: Artists’ Books

I have worked full time as a printmaker and book artist for the past four decades. In recent years I have concentrated on making artists’ books although I continue to make prints with an eye to experimenting with monotypes and digital processes. LEOPARD STUDIO EDITIONS was established in 2002 and operates from a restored carriage house adjacent to my home and garden in Rochester, NY.

CIMG5035wwalt image

The world of books and stories, drawing, manipulating materials, sequenced imagery, the narrative, the allure of handmade papers, color’s emotional impact, the visceral world – all hold great interest for me and I feel a sense of adventure exploring these realms visually. Waiting to see what unfolds in the process; what lies beyond the bend or in hidden depths.

The Pink Transit crop

An interest in 19th century literature as well as contemporary poetry and psychology informs the work that I do. My husband, George and I have made a life involving restoration of historic properties here in Rochester and I think that the processes involved in this pursuit find parallels in my bookmaking. The making of structure, based in story, unbuilding and rebuilding, a love of materials, craftsmanship, design; a debt to the past with an eye to the future.

CIMG5308wip1

Girl Struggles Sue huggins Leopard

I often work with contemporary poets as well as printing my own writings in unique book formats. I print letterpress on a Vandercook #3 press. Etchings, monotypes and relief work are done on an Ettan etching press. All design, artwork and binding is done by me in the studio. I  explore the use of eccentric materials such as plexi glass, wax, plant materials and felt in my bindings. A good amount of time is spent at The Printing and Book Arts Center in Rochester using their extensive collection of antique wood type. I have recently completed THIS PAST WINTER, pictured below, using antique wood type printed in white and hand waxed.

This Past Winter

My current project is a trio of books inspired by the mystical poems of Rainer Maria Rilke which seem to be following a visceral trail from darkness to light.

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View Sue’s artwork online at www.leopardstudioeditions.com. Stop by Main Street Arts to see Sue’s work in our current exhibition, Ink and Paper. The exhibition is up through Friday, March 25. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Emily Glass.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jeanne Beck: Coming Home Through Creating

www.jeannebeck.com

Jeanne Beck at work in her studio in Rochester, NY’s Hungerford Building

It seems to me my whole life has been a slow, steady evolution of coming home to myself. I suspect a lot of women of my generation feel that way. My earlier life didn’t offer a lot of stimulation or opportunity to study music or dance or art, all of which interested me greatly, but I did read voraciously. I fantasized about writing novels and started writing short stories at age 12, but then I became absorbed in teen-age concerns. I turned to keeping a journal, which I wrote in faithfully from 7-12th grade. I’ve done personal journaling in some form for most of my life and have a storage box filled with composition notebooks and more recently, sketchbooks too.

Book of the Ancients 6, 18" x 18", mixed media collage, gold leaf, acrylic paint. Cut, collaged, screen-printed and stenciled.

Book of the Ancients 6, 18″ x 18″, mixed media collage, gold leaf, acrylic paint. Cut, collaged, screen-printed and stenciled.

When I decided at mid-life to become a visual artist, I made a total commitment to it. Lose, win or draw, I have invested myself fully in my own creative potential. And, as a result, this midlife adventure has become the most passionate, committed period of my life. Since I began exploring visual art, I have been drawn to combine more than one medium or techniques, as well as create multi-layered surfaces.

The Writing in Air pieces utilize a variety of processes and techniques to create a dimensional , cut and manipulated surface that suggests  cursive handwriting. Purchased by SUNY Geneseo for MacVittie Student Union.

The Writing in Air pieces utilize a variety of processes and techniques to create a dimensional , cut and manipulated surface that suggests cursive handwriting. Purchased by SUNY Geneseo for MacVittie Student Union.

Melding media and techniques to express a concept drives most of my choices. So I might stitch thread structures and dip them in paper pulp, for example. Layering and combining materials and methods is a fluid process and varies with each new idea. I like to envision my pieces accumulating layers over time and bearing the marks of use and age to build their own personal history.

Distressing the leafed surface with layers of acrylic paints and screen printed texts creates a patina of aging. Private collection, Boston, MA.

Distressing the leafed surface with layers of acrylic paints and screen printed texts creates a patina of aging. Private collection, Boston, MA.

Seemingly random numbers cut in fiberglass screening punctuate the aged surface of this piece. They are a list of street numbers from the houses where I've lived over the course of my life. They are as I remember them, but I have no idea whether the memories are accurate. Purchased by SUNY Geneseo for MacVittie Student Union.

Seemingly random numbers cut in fiberglass screening punctuate the aged surface of this piece. They are a list of street numbers from the houses where I’ve lived over the course of my life. They are as I remember them, but I have no idea whether the memories are accurate. Purchased by SUNY Geneseo for MacVittie Student Union.

I am drawn to aged surfaces and tend to try to and create them in whatever medium or technique I’m using. Rust, decay, and layers peeling away attract me. They also relate to my interests in memory and aging and what happens to personal histories over time.

Most of the scattered  images on this piece refer to The Palmer Method of Cursive Handwriting instruction. Once  a part of elementary school curriculum, cursive handwriting  has become almost obsolete.

Most of the scattered images on this piece refer to The Palmer Method of Cursive Handwriting instruction. Once a part of elementary school curriculum, cursive handwriting has become almost obsolete.

The earliest concept for my current series of language-inspired pieces started in 2007. I had done extensive research on Etruscan and other forms of ancient writing remnants and the marks  intrigued me as visual elements. Then my focus shifted to an interest in 19th and 20th century found journals, diaries and bits of cursive writing.

This work lists all the names of the teachers I can remember from my elementary school in Pittsburgh, PA. Book of the Ancients 9: Bethel Park Elementary, won a prestigious 2013 Niche Award.

This work lists all the names of the teachers I can remember from my elementary school in Pittsburgh, PA. Book of the Ancients 9: Bethel Park Elementary, won a prestigious 2013 Niche Award.

Green World IIMy metallic leaf series began in 2011 with the idea of “fluttering pages.” The exploration of ancient texts and languages to gather ideas for this series led me to an unexpected realization, “ancient” is a relative term. To someone entering adulthood today, the 1950’s and 60’s seem ancient. Amused by that recognition, the first works in this series focus on remembered bits from my childhood. We often refer to ‘turning a page’, ‘ getting on the same page’, ‘starting a new or closing an old chapter of our lives’ in our everyday conversations. These pieces offer a visual take on such ideas.

Green World II is a new organically-inspired, dimensional  work with layered kozo fibers over a  richly textured, painted surface.

Green World II is a new organically-inspired, dimensional work with layered kozo fibers over a richly textured, painted surface.

The pages series still doesn’t feel finished and I will continue to work on new ideas. However, I am also working on a new series of organic, two and three-dimensional works using handmade paper, pulp and wire armatures.

You can see more of Jeanne’s work in our current exhibition, Solid Gold, or visit her website: www.jeannebeck.com.

Check out our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by artist Colleen Pendry.