Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Printsy Interview - Coralette Damme

'voodoo skulls pink' - craftyhag on FlickrCoralette Damme is The Crafty Hag

website www.craftyhag.com
Etsy: craftyhag.etsy.com
Flickr: craftyhag on Flickr
friend me myspace.com/craftyhag
and I'm also on facebook!

My name is Coralette but a lot of people here in "the 'Burg" (St. Petersburg, FL) know me as the crafty hag.

It seems like centuries ago that I first started printmaking. I took several printmaking courses in college and was exposed to all variety of print methods--intaglio, lithography, silkscreen, etc. but I found I love block/relief printing the most. I tend to do mostly linoleum prints now but have done a fair number of woodcuts in the past. I also like to make monoprints by inking up found objects or leaves and I really have fun carving my own rubber stamp sets.

'leaf monoprint detail' - craftyhag on Flickr
The best thing about printmaking is that in addition to the fabulous finished piece of art, you are left with this great carved block that really shows the work and hands on effects of the artist and is a piece of history and art and sculpture all combined.

'mockingbird block inked' - craftyhag on Flickr
I work in my cramped studio which is a tiny spare room in our house--it could almost fit a twin bed but instead I have a desk and shelves filled with art supplies. (In addition to printmaking I also do stained glass and painting) My studio is my refuge, painted bright lime green and covered in art that inspires me or recent projects. At one end of this long L shaped room is my computer which is my window to the web and all of my online creative friends and a source for music and inspiration. At the other end is a window to our back yard which provides a different kind of inspiration--I especially like watching birds who visit the tree just beyond our fence. With me in my studio is usually my black cat Elmo and my black dog Spanky. They nap while I work and let me know when it is time to take a break.

'raven prints drying' - craftyhag on Flickr
When I set out to make a print I often work from a photo and work out a sketch that I like before diving in to the fun of carving--I try to use my own photos of a subject but I also search online for images if I am doing a nature based subject or something based in reality (I.e. my midnight mockingbird print). Other times if it is a more imaginary subject I just go right to sketching (like my tea for two prints). Either way I start with a drawing, transfer it to my block (or draw directly on the block) then cut cut cut cut cut carve carve carve carve carve.

'midnight mockingbird' - craftyhag on Flickr
I love the way prints look and the way you have to think about negative space. I like the impact of black and white and how you have to think out your design a little bit more when printmaking like it is a puzzle where to cut or not cut. I just love the marks the tools make and the sense of history of process that printmaking has-- My family background is a German descent and I like to think that somehow genetically I am just slightly connected to all the great German printmakers of the past. My favorite artistic period is German expressionism and you can see that somewhat in my work. I love bold colors and heavy outlines.

'tea for two cards' - craftyhag on Flickr
My least favorite part of printmaking is maybe the printing process itself. I print everything by hand without a press so I don't always get the pure saturated solid even fields of black that I would with a press and it is a lot more work physically to rub blocks by hand. But its worth it every time when you peel back the paper to reveal a beautiful image.

'birds and branches on paper' - craftyhag on Flickr
When I look back at some of my early prints I see a lot of experimentation and trial and error. Now I feel I have the tricks a little more refined so I can achieve the look I set out for. Of course there are always those unexpected twists along the way but that is the fun of it.

I have found a few ways to get past creative slumps:
  1. Go outside and get some exercise and look around at what is happening in nature
  2. Look at what other people are making or have made
  3. Take a nap. Usually when nothing is working right for me creatively it is because I am tired and don't even realize it.
'owl linoleum print' - craftyhag on Flickr
I promote my work by being a vendor at a weekly art in the park market that happens here on Saturdays in St. Pete. I also participate in gallery shows from time to time and I have my online attempts but to be honest the virtual world has been getting less and less time from me lately. I am a member of a few etsy teams, in addition to Printsy I am an admin for FEST the Florida Etsy Street Team and I am one half of a two-gal team that organizes our own local arts/crafts events (the St. Pete Craft Heroes, www.craftheroes.com). I know I could and probably should spend more time promoting my work but frankly I prefer to spend my time creating new stuff! (I work most days so my creative time is precious!)

'fleece silkscreened robot hat' - craftyhag on Flickr
I think anyone who has an interest in making prints should give it a try. Printmaking has a lot of opportunity to experiment so just try it and see what happens! And don't be limited to rectangles on paper-- I have recently started silk-screening onto fabric and having fun with what comes of it. One piece of real advice that I can give you, when carving your block, cut away from yourself. Don't cut yourself with your tools like I do!!


marissa buschow said...

lovely! the printing part is my least favorite too, for the same reason.
now I want to go out and find some leaves to play with...

Dig The Earth said...

I LOVE the mockingbird print, just great!

Dee Beale said...

Wow! didn't know this blog existed, will definitely be back for another visit, some great prints.

Margaret Gosden said...

I love the birds. Birds just seem to enter my work without asking! Check out my intaglio print LOLLY WILLOWS for one.