My Etchings in Proof No.1 Printmaking Show at Art Lab Fort Collins

Williamsburg Bridge (c) 1993 Ayn Hanna (15 3/4" x 11 3/4") Soft Ground Etching

The image above is one of 8 of my prints (etchings, a woodcut, and a collograph print) that are included in the Proof No. 1 Preview Show at Art Lab Fort Collins, on view now through end of the month in downtown Ft. Collins.  It is a “preview” of a larger print show that will open in mid Sept. at the same venue.

The Sept show will be interactive, with actual letterpress and other presses on hand at the gallery, along with artists who use these presses, helping patrons learn about handmade prints.  Visitors will not only get to see how the prints are made, they’ll also have the opportunity to make a small print themselves to take with them as a souvenir.  The show is the brainchild of Art Lab founder Dawn Putney, who envisions an exhibit and gathering of the local printmaker community coming together on an annual basis to do a show.

Although I’ve mostly been focused on textile work recently, printmaking is my first love.  I did buy my own etching press before I got my long arm quilting machine.  It’s so comfortable for me to turn my focus back to printmaking, like coming home in a way.  You know when you’re having a conversation with someone and all of a sudden their energy just takes off and they clearly are excited and could talk for hours in detail about the topic being discussed?  Yep, that’s me when the topic is printmaking.

I love black and white (well I like color too, but there’s nothing more beautiful than a gorgeous black and white etching), the process, textures and surfaces and marks that are possible, giving up some control (and letting the magic happen), and getting (some) resistance.  I could go on and on.  For those less familiar with handmade prints, here is a very cool interactive site from the Museum of Modern Art where you can learn all about printmaking.

Here’s another print that’s in the show:

Last Call (c) 1990 Ayn Hanna (22" x 15 3/4") Color Reduction Woodcut

This is a Reduction Woodcut.  I used to be a DJ at a night club back in the day and this image captures my feelings about the club as well as incorporates some of the imagery/forms that I saw from my view of the club  from the DJ booth.

The process for doing a reduction woodcut involves printing multiple colors but using only one piece of wood.  It is accomplished by starting with cutting away any areas of the woodblock in which you want to appear “white” or with no color, and then you print (either by rubbing the back of the paper with a baren, or by cranking it through a clunky etching press) your lightest color (in this case that was the pink) on each sheet of paper of however many prints you want to have in your edition.  Then you go back to the woodblock and cut away any areas of the plate surface in which you want that first (pink) color to appear in the image.  Then you print all of your pieces of paper with the next darkest color (orange), and now you have a print with white, pink, and orange.  Then you go back to the block again, and cut away the areas that you want to appear as orange in the finished print, and then print your next darkest color (red) on each sheet.

You do this cutting and printing for each successive darker color and when you’re finished, your block is “gone” and you have your edition of finished prints.  When you’re done, you’re done…can’t go back and print any more of this particular image because the plate is gone.

See, told you I like process (AND printmaking)!

What topics or processes get your energy level revved up?

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