Interviewed by: Marissa Buschow
Well, I was born and raised on Cape Cod, MA. Graduated from a MA State college in 2004 with a BA in Fine Arts. Since then have lived smack dab in the middle of Connecticut with my bicycle loving engineer husband.
What printmaking medium do you most often work in:
Linoleum block printing. Although the recent acquisition of a Gocco machine has made my life that much better.
How & when did you get started in printmaking:
Like others my printmaking experience began in high school. I continued on in college where I took two courses in printmaking, focusing more on etching than block printing. Fast forward to the winter of 2005 and I was feeling remiss of my old college days. Aside from the occasional watercolor painting (my other medium of choice) my art life had been laying dormant. That Christmas I made a wish list for family to shop from on Dick Blick, chock full of block printing supplies. And the rest is history.
Describe where you work:
Currently I have a small studio area within the sun room of our apt. But, in less than a month we will be moving into our very first home! There I will have an entire south facing (light is key for my productivity) room all to myself. My head spins with delight just thinking of how I shall organize my future space.
What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
Certainly pre-planned. I have never been much of a sketcher, instead I am more inclined to have a very precise and thought out drawing to work from. This drawing is always in an outline format, and during the carving stage that is when I add more dimension to the subject matter through highlights and such. So basically I am uptight during the first step of the process, which allows me to relax during the carving stage. Which brings me much happiness.
What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
The repetitive nature. There is definitely something so innately satisfying for me about doing something that involves repeating the same steps over and over. In the past I have been fortunate enough to work for other artisans (Anne C. Ross Fused Glass and Chatham Pottery) in their studios doing production. So I feel quite lucky that I am now able to devote some time towards the production of my own work.
What's your least favorite part of the process:
Cleaning up. I'm hoping our landlord does not notice the mess I have made out of our white kitchen sink.
What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.):
I find most my work is directly inspired from my upbringing. From the environment of the Cape, to the great collection of antiques found in my parent's home. Sometimes I also find myself wandering the deserted stacks of the Non Fiction section in our local library.
How has your work changed and evolved since you started:
With each print I try to push myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to tackle on more complex subject matter/methods. Incorporating things like lettering, numbers and the use of multiple blocks, are all things that initially I was hesitant to try. I then got to a point where I asked myself why I was limiting myself. Since then I have been breaking through the previously inflicted barriers I had set upon myself.
How do you get past creative slumps?
You know, if this question had been asked 6 months ago I would have said "What creative slump?!". But during April I experienced a bout with my own "artist's block" and I simply wasn't satisfied with any of my ideas/drawings. I was at first very frustrated, but after some time I reminded myself that I am NOT a machine. And it is OK to not to churn out a new project everyday. I went on a trip the next month out West and it was definitely the shot in the arm, so to speak, that I needed creatively.
How do you promote your work?
I started by entering the craft fair scene in the summer of 2005, at the South End Open Market in Boston. Then in the fall of 2006 I opened up my Etsy shop which led to my Flickr page and Blog. Since then I participated in the Bazaar Bizarre in Boston and I also sell my work online through Little Paper Planes. I think the combination of a presence online and in person is very important. The other part of that equation is customer service, which is one of my top priorities. Also, confidence is key. If you believe in your work, then others will believe in it too.
Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints:
While formal art training isn't necessary, I do think participating in printmaking classes/workshops is a great experience. The dynamic of working alongside other budding printmakers is a fantastic experience. Then when you come home from class and you have further questions, I think the Printmaking group over at flickr is an excellent place to turn. Any question can be posed over in the Discussion section and many talented printmakers will offer up their experience in the matter. Easy access to knowledge at your fingertips. Can't get any better than that!