Maarit reached out to me recently to see if I would be interested in collaborating and I instantly fell for her work and had to say yes. She's a linocut printmaking based in Amsterdam and had a similar struggle as mine with not getting started on her artistic journey until her mid-twenties. Now she produces stunning drawings and prints and has made this gorgeous video documenting her process.
How much do you know about printmaking? If you’re like most people who didn’t study art, the answer is probably not much. It’s a family of art-making techniques that are quite unique and beautiful but that aren’t well understood outside the art world, despite having been around for thousands of years - since the invention of paper.Since I love working in printmaking, and keep running into confusion when I talk about it, I thought I would share a little of what it’s all about and my experience with it.
What I love most about teaching this workshop is that it's not just about making linoleum block prints. That's a huge part of it, obviously, but there are a few other things that I think it's important to teach, and they're things you might not have thought of. Here are four of them:
1. How to take an idea from start to finish
Tell me if this sounds familiar: you have the best idea for a project, or something new you want to try. You go out and get all the supplies and dive in, full of enthusiasm, only to give it up halfway through without finishing. We all do this. When something gets hard, frustrating, or even just a little less exciting, we tend to give up and move on to other things. I used to do it all the time. In this workshop, however, you'll get the satisfaction of starting something, and then finishing it. You will leave knowing exactly how to overcome those frustrating challenges that might have made you give up if you were doing it on your own. And hopefully that sense of satisfaction you get from completing a project will motivate you to try and finish more.
2. How to be patient with yourself
When learning a new skill, it's easy to get fed up and decide, "I'm just not good at this. I shouldn't even bother." We've all heard about the value of having patience with ourselves, but how often do we actually practice it? In this workshop I'll provide that gentle voice that tells you to keep going, to keep trying, that it's not as bad as you think it is. I'll help you focus on what's going well and remind you to cut yourself some slack. Once you see that patience pay off, you'll be more likely to practice it in the future.
3. How to handle "mistakes"
With this art form it's inevitable that you will make a mistake - probably a few mistakes actually. I still slip when I'm carving the linoleum and create scratches and lines that I don't want. The only way to deal with this is to try to make it part of the design, to make it look like you meant to do it. This requires a little bit of creative problem solving and I'll be there to help you make sure that your "mistakes" end up looking beautiful.
4. That you're more creative than you think you are
Many people think that if they don't draw their design themselves that they're not being creative. They're usually surprised, then, by how unique and beautiful their prints turn out. The truth is that just by choosing something to turn into a print, you're making a creative decision. You make more creative decisions when you decide how you'll carve it, what parts you'll leave white and what parts will be black, and then how you'll print it, with more or less ink. If you've never done anything "artistic" before, and think you're just not cut out for it, I'll show you how simple it can be to make a work of art that others will marvel at. Don't believe me? All the prints featured in this post were created by past students, many of whom don't consider themselves to be particularly artistic. My favourite part of the workshop is watching students pulling the paper off and seeing their prints for the first time. The amazement and wonder on their faces makes my day.
I hope you'll join me at the next workshop on Saturday, September 27th from 1-5. There are only 5 spots available, so sign up now!
More information and registration here.