Saturday, March 31, 2012

Valley Artisans' TODAY!!!!

My First Display at Valley Artisans' Gallery
We have been very busy over the past week! On Monday my husband Fran├žois drove me down to the US border at Prescott, so I could be "flagpoled" and officially enter Canada and begin my time as a PERMANENT RESIDENT!!! This means I can sell work in Canada and get a job if I am able. It is a glorious change for me after 18  months of being in limbo.

This morning I hung my work in the Valley Artisans' Co-op Gallery in Deep River. It is such a marvelous feeling to have been invited to be part of this wonderful Co-op that is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year! I will be selling large calligraphy pieces, letterpress prints, hand-made books and journals, and my new line of Ducks in a Row Press note cards that have original art and photographic reproductions of my work. The greeting cards are all suitable for framing too!

In addition to selling my own art productions in the gallery, I will be working two shifts per month to staff the gallery. It will be a great way for me to become more connected to the greater Deep River community.
In preparation for creating all these new images for my Ducks in a Row Press Note Card line, I have been working on the 8x12 Challenge Gordon Press non-stop for the past two weeks. I have really been enjoying the time I have had on press.

Collage letterpress over brush calligraphy image
I have been experimenting with collage letterpress printing techniques. I made several large brush calligraphy broadsides with gouache and while the paint was still somewhat damp, I imprinted a collage alphabet type form onto the page. My heart has been racing with anticipation for doing prints like these for years. I am really pleased with the outcome for my greeting card line. It is my hope to continue making larger collage prints of this type in the weeks to come. The card prints are approximately 5x7 to fit on a larger card base.

My larger prints will most likely need to be printed on the Vandercook 01 proofing press, as the alphabet type form I have in mind is much too large for the 8x12 bed of the Challenge Gordon. For now, I am going to continue to work with the type form I have in my 8x12 platen press, nicknamed Ned.

Collage letterpress over glossy magazine pap
In order to get some variations in background colour for the collage prints I have begun printing on colour gloss pages from magazines. This coated substrate is thin but tough, and allows the type to bite into the paper ever so slightly.

I am really loving the changes in visual depth that appear when collage printing on all the different papers I have in the shop. The experimentation part of all of this has my creative verve soaring like a hawk. I want to be up in the studio at 5 a.m. and at 9:30 p.m. Fran├žois is calling down into the grotto for me to "close the shop for today" and come upstairs. I have not had this kind of creative flow since we moved to Deep River, and it feels glorious!

Alphabet collage type form in chase and bed of 8x12

As I look back over the prints, both the ones I have been saving and using, and the ones that are in the recycle bin, I am struck by the beauty of the space between the letters. Fitting lead type into spaces creatively, as in a collage, on the press bed is a challenge. I find each turn of the type "sort" brings a new view to the piece as a whole.  Working carefuly to layout the type on the composing stone, I always must have an eye to the formal "lock up" of the chase so that I can actually print what I see. It is  wonder to me that I am now able to move the type into places instinctively in a way that will allow me to add quads and thins to make sure everything remains locked up and tight once the quoins are turned.

Life is like that for me. The pieces don't always fit together neatly, but they do come together in a good way that reflects our hopes and desires. We may not always see the finished page before us while we are trying to "sort it all out" but when the final page comes through life's press, we can see the intricacies of shapes-thick against thin, round against square, and rectangle against arch. Those thin spaces betwixt and between are where I find God in my creative world. The distance between being born into this world and born into the next through death is very, very thin, like the spaces between shapes in my type form.

We are about to embark on Holy Week, the week where we walk with Jesus again through those thin spaces of the last week of his earthly life. During this week, with each breath I make, and each step I take, I will be reminded of that thin space where we can find God in our lives each and every day.

And I am reminded that it is in the thin spaces when we pray, that we offer our hearts, our souls, and our minds to God. If we offer all that we are and all that we have to God, all will be well, and all will be well, and with the grace and peace of the thin-ness of the distance between us, all will be well.