Last week I came back from a spectacular week-long residency at Spark Box Studio, run by Chrissy Poitras and Kyle Topping in Picton, ON. I was a lucky recipient of one of their Emerging Artist Residency Awards and I was so excited to see what the week would have in store for me. I documented my process of making a four colour reduction linocut, so this post is pretty image heavy. I’ll keep the commentary light and let the pictures tell most of the story:
Here’s my little work space. Each artist at Spark Box gets a private studio space and bedroom, but Chrissy and Kyle are open to artists claiming their own work space in the print shop or house. I picked this sunny corner in the print shop. The counters were too low to sit with a stool and too high for a chair so I improvised.
My final sketch and some colour studies
I brought this lady with me from my studio, just to have a familiar face around.
The view outside the window, Spark Box Home Base.
The carving of the first layer at the end of my first night.
First layer carving complete.
The print shop!
A joyful and well-organized ink station.
Preparing the etching press to print the first colour.
Inking up the block with the first colour.
First colour printed! That was the easy part…
Spark Box is such a beautiful, bright space to work in. Such a pleasure to work in a well-stocked shop!
Second layer ready for printing.
I love the way the roller looks after you’ve rolled the ink on the linoleum… an ephemeral print in its own way.
The second layer printed… this is when I realized that my registration method was far from perfect.
I took occasional breaks to strum this red uke, a good way to stretch those cramped carving fingers!
Third layer cut on the lino.
Third layer printed. Also, I found the drying rack!
On the evening when I carved the last layer, there was a sharp drop in temperature, fierce wind and a beautiful sky.
Inking up the last layer. I really want to get one of these huge rollers now. Rolling up with it made me feel like such a badass.
Placing the paper and trying to line it up with the previous layers was definitely the most stressful part of this process!
Laying down the press blankets.
All four colours printed!
On Saturday evening, Chrissy, Kyle, my residency mate Michelle and I went to the Firelight Lantern Festival where we saw some amazing lanterns made by people in the community.
The shadow puppet show put on by Small Pond Arts was so impressive and inspiring. I would love to work on one of these some day. It featured shadow puppets and shadow actors and was narrated by a very engaging storyteller (standing on the left).
The end of my residency came so quickly! Here’s my bedroom with a wonderful handmade quilt. There are so many great prints and paintings hanging all around the house.
Peaceful view from the kitchen table.
I made 39 copies of the print but since many of them were off-register, I had to choose my edition carefully.
I ended up with an edition of ten, plus about 15 artist proofs. I kept a few of the bad prints and ripped up the really bad ones. It felt kind of crazy but also very cathartic! I think it’s really easy for artists to have a tendency to hoard and lately I’ve been trying hard to resist the impulse to hold on to everything.
The final step, trimming the prints down to size. FInal paper size is 11″ x 14″. Here’s little Rico to wish you farewell!
Many thanks to Chrissy and Kyle for providing me with this amazing opportunity to relax, create and learn!