hbd lithoman

senefelder

It’s that time of year again when we here at Levigator Press celebrate the birthday of Alois Senefelder, born November 6, 1771, playwright, actor, connoisseur of girls, inventor of lithography. My pretend boyfriend.

Listen to a podcast about Senefelder and his achievements at this link: Engines of Our Ingenuity no. 791: Senefelder and Lithography

Read Senefelder’s book about lithography at this link: Alois Senefelder, The Invention of Lithography, at Project Gutenberg

Celebrating Senefelder’s birthday is something my mentor in lithography, Daniel W. Dingler, used to do in his classroom at the University of Windsor, and I carried on this tradition in my own classroom as a graduate student teaching litho at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, and later in my storefront printmaking studio Levigator Press. Nowadays we celebrate at home. I just need to decide what to bake.

hello shorty

a black squirrel with a short tail creeping towards the leg of a white woman, in the foreground, on which is a tattoo of two squirrels and a cherry branch.

This wonderful tattoo of my two short tailed squirrel friends, Shorty and Stubby Jr., was done for me earlier this year by the amazing Suzie Woodward (instagram link: Suzie Woodward tattoos). We finished up in late July and I spent the next month sitting on the concrete front steps in my jean shorts, nuts in one hand and phone in the other, waiting for Shorty to visit so I could try to get a photo of her next to her portrait. I got loads of photos, because Shorty is comfortable enough to take nuts straight out of my hand, but sadly she’s not very photogenic so this one is the best. Please ignore her embarrassing bald spot; Shorty is at least three years old, a pretty advanced age for an urban squirrel. She has enjoyed life and it shows.

Unfortunately I don’t think Stubby Jr. lives in our neighbourhood anymore; also pushing three, she showed up for the last time in May, about a week after we had finished the outline on this piece. That was the first time that both Shorty and Stubby visited me on the front porch at the same time and both accepted nuts (Stubby only from a distance, Shorty right up in my face as usual).

Here’s a photo of the two of them together at the backyard buffet, taken in August 2021 when they were young and bald-spot-free and our cherry tree, around which they’re chasing each other in their tattoo portrait, was also young and still needed a rope in case it toppled.

view of a backyard with flagstone patio in the foreground, steel vegetable beds in the background, and a young cherry tree in the middle with a bird feeder and two black squirrels.

And here’s Shorty last summer, viewed out the dining room window, demolishing a sunflower that, admittedly, she probably planted there herself.

a black squirrel sitting on a sunflower head, eating seeds, while suspended over a flagstone patio viewed from above.

fabric printing

It’s been difficult to muster up any motivation to work in the studio with all the summer art fairs cancelled. I feel fortunate that I made the decision to close my brick-and-mortar shop just before Coronavirus put a stop to normalcy, but it doesn’t feel like there’s any urgency to make new work. These prints are stalled in the early colour stages with about half of their screenprinted colour layers printed, still a ways from having their linocut key layers added. In the meantime, I printed them in red on some previously printed fabrics. Thinking about a bright, blinding quilt.

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what I’m working on today¬†

This is two layers of jersey fabric basted together, with woodblock printing on the top layer. It’s already been cut, before the printing, into pattern pieces for a swingy, a-line, above-the-knee skirt. Now I’m stitching around some of the motifs and cutting away parts of the top fabric to reveal the contrasting fabric beneath.

In an effort to get away from buying clothing, I’m working on a small series of these that will be part of my new uniform. Here are the panels for a second skirt, printed this morning with the leftover ink from a Block Printing on T-shirts class I taught in the studio last night.

Yeah, they’re both red. Im trying to use up the fabric I have! And they’re not the same red! The first one is a 1×1 rib, and more orangey, printed in black, white, and pale olive green with an olive green backing, while the second is a darker red, printed in neon orange, blue, and white, with a brilliant turquoise backing. Unfortunately the olive and turquoise aren’t great for the outer layer thanks to a very obvious fade/dirt line where they were folded along the end of the bolts. All of this came from McKay’s, the mythical Fabric Warehouse That Time Forgot. Yup, the one in the wet old barn with squirrels living in the roof and the terrifying toilet chute and the acres and acres of smelly old polyester overlock from the 70s. My favourite place! No, really.