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September 01, 2006

tidied up my point of view

If you can guess what song today's title comes from (no cheating!) I will tell you a story about what that stupid song means to me: it has to do with high school mornings and a sense of urgency. And because I can't ever just tell a story without tangents, it also has to do with the fearful possibility of WWII-style air-raids, factory workers, hurried meals and a very famous dog.

But for now I'd rather tell you about how my new regimen is going. Today is day three: so far, so good.

As I mentioned the other day, I have slacked in my studio work so far this fall. I'm doing independant studio work instead of taking classes, so I should have long stretches of unbroken studio time. But the class I teach is from 1:25 to 3:20 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon, and since I'm a daytime worker this cuts a vast swath across the middle of what would otherwise be my most productive days (Tuesdays and Thursdays there are two simultaneous undergrad book arts classes going on at Green St, and I've never worked very well with a bunch of people in my way, preferring the studio to myself so I can spread out my work and centre myself and think clearly). I also like to do a lot of printing at once, spending eight to ten hours in the shop at a time. Clearly this isn't going to happen this semester, so I've had to adjust my routine somewhat.

I am very good at setting goals for myself and not so good at sticking to them; we'll see what a long weekend will do to shake up the new routine. So far I've done pretty well: Wednesday morning I made about forty prints before taking the bus up to Lamar Dodd to teach my drawing class (this bus ride will provide me with two little ten-minute sock knitting sessions three times a week, which seems a small thing but contributes greatly to maintaining my sanity). On returning to the studio after class I was a little less productive, but we're taking baby steps here, right? Thursday I again got up early, did yoga and was in the studio by nine. I worked through the morning ignoring the letterpress students as best I could (did I mention what a territorial princess I am? If not, you've probably figured it out on your own), and ended up with a first press run on twenty-six of each of these two new prints (the separate colours are separate images):

two new prints, first press run

They look pretty funny right now, I know, but there will be several reductions in the wood block, plus a second block and some collage elements. Possibly also some drawing. I've been feeling like I'm getting away from printmaking a little too much lately, with all of these grandiose textile projects and little embroidered drawings and printed paper sewn into garments and crazy print-based installation ideas. I need to get back to the basics of what it is I do, and I need to be continuously working out all of these ideas in the small scale, in print. So my goal here is twofold: I want to spend some time concentrating on pure printmaking again and produce a new body of printmakerly work, at the same time using these prints as sketches for my larger mixed media projects.

And because I can't just make one radical change at a time, I'm also forcing myself out of my security circle: first of all, I'm only printing these images on brand new paper. This is something I rarely do, preferring to build complex images over time, printing on top of the mistakes that came before and creating a dense web of imagery that's nearly impossible for a viewer to penetrate. Yes, I still have hundreds of sheets of printed paper in my drawer and I will still use it, I'm just going to take a break from it for a while (although I am going to do some cutting and pasting in these new prints with pieces of the old ones, I want to let go of the baggage that's attached to that old work. Especially since I'm still using old woodblocks). I am also forcing myself to leave a lot of white space, something I fear although I'm not sure why. I am forcing myself to work in editions again, and to work small. These prints I've made this week are fifteen by twenty inches, smaller than I've worked for a very long time.

Today I spent my before-teaching time dyeing some fabric for a quilt piece I'm working on,
dye job
tearing down a roll of kitakata paper to be printed this weekend, soaking and flattening out the twelve sheets of BFK I found in my studio that have been rolled up for months, tearing up and soaking cotton linters for a batch of handmade paper, and generally puttering around getting things ready for next week's work. As tomorrow is the first home football game of the season, I'm taking a day off, avoiding campus (there's some sort of new rule against tailgate parties starting before seven a.m., and any place where a rule like that needs to be enforced is not a place I'm biking through to get to my studio, thanks). Tonight I have some pattern writing to do, and then my day tomorrow will be free. I'm going to do a little work on some neglected knits (Ms Marigold just needs her neckband sewn down and her ends woven in, Orangina needs a few more inches, and poor Cleo needs to be taken apart and sewn back together so that my boobs don't plop out of her). I'm going to set up my sewing machine work area and sew together some of the very large pile of skirts I cut out a while ago. I may sew up a few pairs of cute new underpants out of old t-shirts, just so that I can put off laundry a couple more days. Then Sunday, back to the studio by nine a.m. And with luck it won't be full of undergrads, and I can be a territorial princess. Print-cess. Har.

Posted by jodi at September 1, 2006 08:54 PM | categories:  in the studio


AAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH! The song is on the tip of my brain, and I just can't chase it down! But I'm not gonna cheat -- I'll wait and see if someone else gets it.

Also, I love to see your work as it progresses . . . makes me almost wish I'd stuck with fine arts in undergrad instead of switching to biochemistry!

Posted by: chris at September 1, 2006 09:24 PM

(somethin' somethin') my worries are few...
ooo ooo oo oo oooooooo...I gotta new attitude!

Yeah. Something like that.
Except I don't know who sings it. THAT I'd have to surf for.

I'm going to have that in my head all night now. Thanks. You suck. ;-)

Posted by: bonnie at September 1, 2006 10:13 PM

new attitude - patti label. I wouldn't have gotten it... cept the person before me gave most of it away.

Posted by: korin at September 2, 2006 01:29 AM

Oh.. forgot to say.. LOVE the fabric. Yumm!

Posted by: korin at September 2, 2006 01:29 AM

I love finding forgotten-about BFK. I found four sheets in my drawer the other day and I have absolutely no recollection of how it got there...

Posted by: crumpet at September 2, 2006 07:21 AM

Yep, baby steps. You're doing great.

Posted by: alison at September 2, 2006 11:11 AM