Monday, February 7, 2011

Classroom Profile: Printmaking

Our printmaking studios at Albion College are a great asset to our diverse art program. Printmaking is a historically rich, unique and versatile medium. Printmaking Professor Anne McCauley, who is also currently the Art & Art History Department Chair, stresses printmaking's wonderful self-expressive qualities; she often emphasizes the medium's ability to easily translate an artist's ideas concerning personal experiences (or, a "personal map" of the artist's observations), natural phenomenon and self-portraiture. Many people do not understand what printmaking is until they witness a printmaking process for themselves - not quite a drawing and not quite a painting, a print is a strong artistic force unto itself. An excellent overview of different printmaking techniques (of which there are many) can be found in this bulletin from the University of Wyoming Art Museum.

Susan Snyder, an Albion senior, reflected on her time spent in her History of Prints class by explaining, "I liked the rhythm of it, I liked knowing there was a certain pace you had to follow. It was very therapeutic." Snyder valued printmaking's traditional origins and added, "It was interesting to know that I was doing the exact same thing in the same way people have been doing it for centuries."

Enjoy some candid snaphots from this semester's Printmaking I & II class, held every Tuesday and Thursday:

Working on a woodblock plate.

Preparing zinc plates for the etching process.

Filing plate edges.

Applying Putz Pomade to plate, creating a surface ready for asphaltum.

Applying asphaltum to plate.

Using tracing paper to apply artist's sketch to plate.
For more information, please explore these two superb printmaking resources: Magical-Secrets, a Crown Point Press website with amazing videos and photographs of prints made by artists who have visited the studio, and, which provides useful links to technical videos and vocabulary terms.

Also, be sure to visit Albion's current Dickinson Gallery exhibition - featuring intricate, colorful Japanese woodblock prints from the Albion College Print Collection. Located inside Bobbitt Visual Arts Center.

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