My post about printmaker Karen Kunc prompted a comment from artist Deb Sims:
Am I the only one who has both a sense of “Wow, how fabulous” and “Geez, I can never hope to experience/create/attain this level with my art” when I see someone like this?
I think there is a great chain of art making and, like the great chain of being, it has its levels. While you are busy looking “up” the chain and wondering if you could ever achieve that level, someone else is gazing up at yours, with stars in their eyes, and saying the same thing. We just keep doing what we are doing and trust that we will keep growing (and rising).
I really believe that. If you spend too much time looking around, or looking up (to continue the chain metaphor), you increase your risk of falling. Falling into despair over achieving what those who are “better than you” have accomplished. Falling into a state of vertigo, where you are so dizzy and disoriented that you become immobilized. Falling into bitterness and a blaming mentality, where you accuse others (hopefully, only in your mind) of ignoring, slighting or overlooking you and your work.
You get the picture, and it’s not a pretty one. But forget pretty~the problem is that these kinds of “states” devour energy that could be used to create! That’s your goal, your avocation, your love, correct? So only look up long enough to catch sight of tips and tricks that are useful to you. Spend the bulk of your time investigating what you want to say, and testing materials that will help your voice be heard.
Consider Nathalie Roland, for instance, who didn’t let the fact that she lacked access to a press prevent her from creating prints with her woodcuts. She had socks and a floor, so she put them to use.
And how about this crew of artists, whose printing press is a bulldozer:
Here they “pull” the print.
Sherrill Kahn, author and creator of Impress Me rubber stamps, uses a piece of foam core with rubber bands pulled over it to make a printing plate. Peruse her website, and books, for many more techniques.
How about using a pasta machine as a printing press?
Most artists own a hammer (for hanging their art). This method would qualify as one of those “I just had to get it out of my system” techniques. Some special instructions are important:
It’s best to hammer on a hard surface like a cement floor—you don’t want to ruin a table.
Now it’s your turn. If you know of a unique or, even better, eccentric printmaking method, I would be tickled to hear about it. I want to try as many of these as I can, because they appeal to me (perhaps with the exception of the bulldozer. They are just too hard to rent).
And, by the way, I don’t think Deb Sims has anything to worry about. She has a style all her own.