Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why Hello multi-colored linocut- We meet again. (part I)

So earlier this year I took it upon myself to try my hand at linoleum cuts again. I had done one previously for my intro to printmaking course and thoroughly enjoyed it- it was six colors. The one I completed just recently was 36. That's right, 36. It's the toy phone seen on the header to this blog- and also on my website here. I fell in love with the process all over again and, as masochistic as it may seem, wanted to do even more. So early this month I started another one.

The first was an old Fisher Price toy phone I found at a thrift store, and I decided to continue with this theme. I like the idea that something a child had such love and devotion for eventually ends up for sale in a junk store, all love forgotten. This love and abandonment is reflected in the block itself. Such devotion goes into making these multi-colored linocuts, but because of the nature of the process all I end up with (besides some hopefully beautiful prints) is a carved away, useless piece of linoleum, which just gets thrown away. So off to the junk store I went!

What I ended up finding was a beat up, old as sin wooden toy dog. I took some photos, transferred it to my block and began cutting away. When I transfer my image I usually just rub it up with red conte and draw in the lines after with a ballpoint pen. I like using the pen because it doesn't rub off during printing and stays put even after cleaning the plate with mineral spirits. The first image here shows the pen on the block along with a few cut marks where the white of the paper will show through. I always draw in with pen where I'm going to cut just so I don't mess everything up. :)

My first step (after stretching my paper) was to print a light blue for the flecks of paint still clinging to the toy. I'm trying something a little different in that I'm creating a mask for most of my first few colors, just so I don't build up a great deal of grease in the ink that's getting layered. At the time I'm writing this I've found this to be a mistake- the first layer or two should probably be put down over the entire block, just to create a base. I'm afraid I forgot to get any pictures after the first color was printed, but it went down without any hitches, and I kept a lot of the grease out of my ink.

On to color two!
So after the lightest blue was printed again I took my block and marked in with ballpoint pen where to cut out (image 2). Again I created a mask for the blue (which only covered a small section of my block) and printed again. I'm afraid this one had a bit too much grease in it which is repelling some of my later colors. Live and learn though, right? Here's an image of the mask with the second color along with a print showing colors one and two.

I usually make my masks out of contact paper, but find it sometimes peels up with the tackiness of the ink, so I end up having to tape it down in spots. This isn't the brightest thing to do either though, since the tape raises up the roller enough that it becomes difficult to cover it evenly, so I'd recommend taping over areas far enough from where the roller will be hitting!

Anyway, I'm still pretty excited about this project, and following this one would still like to do one more multi-colored lino to create a series of three. There's about six colors on this one now (I'm new to this blogging thing, so I'm not in the habit of taking pictures after every color ;) ) and I'm not even going to count how many there will be but I'll be sure to keep posting my progress over the next few weeks. Check back to see it, hopefully it'll be great when it's finished!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day of the Dead: Steamroller printing at the Plains Art Museum

This last weekend, October 3rd and 4th marked the sixth annual Studio Crawl brought about by the Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists group. Special guests this time around included Art Org, a group of artists from Northfield, MN who, in conjunction with Latino artists from the twin cities, participated in large-scale steamroller prints.

A few months ago I, and other students printing at the Plains Art Museum Hannaher Studio, volunteered to help this group print their woodblocks. So I arrived bright and early Sunday morning to set up for visitors and get my job assignment. I was expecting to be cleaning rollers, getting supplies and other menial jobs, and was delighted to find that not only did I get to mix up the ink for one of the blocks, I got to spend most of the morning actually rolling up the block!

The piece I got to help with was a large bison including all the participating artist's names in the bones. It was a really interesting work, and certainly a feat to roll up.

Below are some images of the roll up, registration system (which just included shishkabob wires and holes) and the steamroller pressing the paper to the block, along with (of course!) the final piece.


Isn't is lovely? It's about 4 x 8 feet!

About the Artist

Born and raised in Minnesota, Kellie Hames attained her BFA in printmaking from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2010. 

Pursuing her love for lithography, Hames applied and was accepted to the world-renowned Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2011. This institution accepts eight students each year to study all aspects of fine art lithography and collaborative printing. After successfully completing the first year Printer Training Program Hames was solely chosen to stay for a second year to work in conjunction with senior shop manager and professional printer Bill Lagattuta in the Master Printer Training Program. Together Hames and Lagattuta worked with and printed for nationally and internationally renowned artists including Charles Arnoldi, Alison Saar, Jim Dine, Toyin Odutola, Willie Cole, and Matt Magee among others. After successfully completing the second year apprenticeship Hames was awarded a Master Printer certificate from Tamarind Institute and to this day holds the record for the most editions pulled by a second year apprentice printer. 

Following her study in Albuquerque Hames returned to the Midwest to obtain her MFA and work with Michael Barnes and Ashley Nason at Northern Illinois University.

Her work has been exhibited nationally, most notably at the Plains Art Museum (Fargo, ND), The North Dakota Museum of Art (Grand Forks, ND) and the University of the Arts Gallery (Philadelphia, PA), among others. 

Hames is currently studying at Northern Illinois University and residing in DeKalb, Illinois.

Kellie can be reached by email at