In January of 2014, Mary and I began our monthly collaborative book projects once again. We were struggling by February. We decided on a two color print (because, somehow, that would take less time than a book). Mary completed hers, a stunning sea slug, that can be found for sale at her Etsy shop, only slightly behind schedule.
I took a little longer. I also picked an underwater creature, an urchin. I made screens, but I couldn’t get a smooth print no matter how much I tweaked it. I got frustrated and put it away.
Two months later, I made a lino-cut. It had been years, but digging into the linoleum was satisfying and renewed my latent love of block printing. Until it was time to print. I don’t have a press, so it was baren, or bust and I busted. The prints were spotty and uneven. I used water based ink and they dried too quickly. I put it away for many more months. In August, I visited Bloomington, Indiana for a few days. Mary and I planned a printing day using her press, but due to unforeseen circumstance, it turned into a printing hour (or two). I managed a few test prints, but nothing solid.
In September, my friend Abby invited my to an informal intaglio class. Determined to finally print The Urchin, I brought a copy with me. We used diamond point scribes to etch our images into plexiglass. Until then I had only etched in copper. I was delighted to discover the possibilities with plexi- it’s affordable, readily available and it is good for four to five prints. The limited run appeals to me, as does the DIY feel. And we had a press!
I only managed two prints before I had to be elsewhere. They’re rushed and dirty, but I’ll take ’em.
Hug? is what a friend of mine would call “bathroom art.” It elicits a smile and limited contemplation; something you find at the tourist shop, not the gallery shop. I never intended to put so much time into such a frivolous picture, yet after rendering it three different ways I chose to love it. It’s not fine art, but it’s got heart.