starting a new class
Today was the first session of a new 8-week class I am taking at Art & Ideas. It is a relief printmaking class and I am already in love with it. Our teacher is Shaqe Kalaj, the gallery's Artist in Residence. She is charming and patient and creative and I love her work.
Shaqe Kalaj in the studio/classroom area of Art and Ideas with some of her work behind her.
Tonight we had a brief introduction to printmaking and learned about various printing techniques and terms and saw examples of many of them. We were given the embellished sketchbook of our choice for drawing and sketching during the course and also a thin Sharpie marker and a Speedball carving tool with multiple blades.
the notebook I chose
We explored shape, line and texture and used these to experiment with the carving tool on a piece of soft-cut gray material. First we made marks with the different blades to get a feel for what each one did and how the material cuts. Then we were shown how to ink the carving and made our first print with the block.
my first print of the night -- exploring the blades and carving material
Next, using the same block we had just experimented on, we cut away most of the surface with more random, free-form lines and shapes to create texture. Then we made a print from that surface.
my second print -- from the same side of the carving material, but with more surface cut away
Next we turned the carving material over and used the other side. We chose a shape and experimented with variations on it...size, placement, using the different blades. Then we made two prints of that block. We discussed our prints and Shaqe talked about some of her carvings that are there in the studio. She shared some of her experiences with printmaking and how she does things.
my side two and the two prints I pulled
Next we turned to our sketchbooks and Sharpies. (I tensed up...you know I don't draw very much.) We were instructed to use the word "Wild" and show: Shape, Line, Direction and Texture. Shaqe wanted us all to do the exercise together. We were to just make "Wild" marks on the page. (I need to learn how to relax and let go of my death grip on my pen and not over think things...stop being such a Capricorn...LOL) By the end of the class I started to understand what this part is about. By doodling and just making random marks on the page you can start to see images and shapes in there that can be pulled out and used for carving and printmaking. (Oh...now I get it)
my sketchbook page -- now that I am home I am beginning to see some shapes in there...and by playing with it more and darkening lines and filling in spaces I will be able to bring out a couple of ideas -- it is starting to "click"
I think I am really going to enjoy this class and I am already starting to get more out of it than I realized...things that will help in other areas of my art. I really appreciate how willing Shaqe is to share her own process and experiences. I love that some of her art is there in the studio so she can actually show you what she is talking about and you can relate to it because you see and hear the artist walking you through a section of the piece. (This helped me immensely to understand the concept of doodling and finding shapes/images in the doodle -- when I TRY to draw the imaginary creatures in my head they don't really transfer to the paper. If I just let go and do it intuitively -- like I have been doing with the plaster cloth...let my "self" take over for a few minutes -- things will come together.)
Shaqe is a wonderful teacher...and three hours felt like about 15 minutes...I can't wait for the next session!