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Hilde Domin – reading

Thanks to Buchmerkur Schroersche Berlin [Link here], I have started searching for English/German side by side publications of Hilde Domin’s poetry. I’ve stumbled onto the poems translated by Meg Taylor and Elke Heckel online here. Autumn eyes/Herbstaugen is particularly lovely.

I’ve also been enjoying a book on Harlem by Jonathan Gill. From the first altercation between the people already living there and the Dutch, to its place in history as a place for Jewish and Irish immigrants to start out, race clashes, and the Harlem Renaissance. The book continues through 400 years, and I’ve only reached the jazz era. 🙂 But it’s all history we didn’t learn in school, so I’ve been having a great time learning how much I didn’t know.

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Bit by the Printer’s Devil part II

 

linocut-reflect

“Reflection” – final project: combined polymer plate and linocut print, hand printed with gradient.

In 2016, I took a course in printmaking, and I got to experiment with linocut, letterpress (with a polymer plate), risoprint, and a mix of two techniques for the final process. Of the 3 techniques, I found linocut to be the most satisfying, with polymer plate in 2nd place.

 

Here’s the breakdown:

  1. If you want to personally carve the blocks, be able to hand press (using a barren or the back of a spoon), or be able to adjust colors with your brayer, so there is a gradient on the print, linocut might be for you.

    lino-jacobsladder

    Linocut print, hand printed with back of a spoon.

  2. If you want to draw something, then process it in the computer minimally for a print that shows your drawing line (sending away the file to get a polymer plate [a bit like a gummy raised sticker that gets affixed to a metal plate for use in letterpress] back), then a polymer plate might be for you. Negative: I wanted to be more hands on with creating the polymer plate so i could adjust it as I went along, but that wasn’t possible with facilities available.
  3. Letterpress is exciting, and involves putting the plate into an older press [may or may not have any real safety features], there is an inking plate up top that the rollers go over. You’re able to layer different colors but not fine tune gradients. If you want speed, this will allow you to be quick, if you’re coordinated, and able to get the paper in and out of the pins in time. [Note: I am NOT coordinated, and that story leads to blood, and we’re just not going there again.] Polymer plate isn’t limited to just letterpress. You can use a setting up press to print these, and get gradients, which was very satisfying, FYI, and very close in technique to classical printmaking (and I’m fast at that).
  4. Risoprint: great results, very satisfying for the people receiving the prints (I made a little book). Negative: I had to use computer programs to lay things out, then send the files away to have them printed at a special facility. My local printmaking teachers are in process of getting a press fixed so they can do these in house, but it is still less hands-on than I wanted. Positive: lots of color theory, adjusting the weights of grey tones in two layers that would be printed in different colors (phthalo blue on one, yellow on the other).
    risoprint-unfolded

    Risoprint: unfolded book waiting to be put together.

    polymer-plate

    Polymer plate, printed in a letterpress.

Chaos

So… There’s been a lot happening. Which seems like the understatement of the century.  I’m heartsick: I love my country, and the best I can do here is focus on art. So, I’m going to review work I did in 2016, when I didn’t feel blocked by a wave of news items… It seems like now is the best time to get back in the writing habit. Working on a follow-up for “Bit by the Printer’s Devil“. Some camera downloads need to happen first, though.

bit by the printer’s devil

Might come back and blog a bit later. But for now: classes are keeping me busy. My apologies that the blog is pretty boring while my life is exciting.

More later, once I have something to show… maybe some art? Maybe some thoughts about paper….

 

Perseids

I live in the city now, where street lights,
House lights, glowing red then green then amber lights
Block the stars from the world.
Even though I knew there was too much light noise
Friday
I walked into the yard to squint with hands up
To block security’s glare from the next house, and wondered

Was that one?

Was that?

And doubted my own eyes…

Memory conjured up cool meadows by forests
Where we used to camp….When woken by parents, I
Struggled out of my cocooned sleep,
Eyes not quite awake,
To look at the sky. I sat and watched stars dash across my limits
Until I reluctantly looked away, and walked back from a dream.

Clouds crossed the skies on Friday, but still I waited,
Knowing if I turned away, a meteor would streak the sky
Like a fingernail thru frost.

— rjn, 13 August 2016

Reading – The Railwayman’s Wife

RehobothsunrisebWritten by Ashley Hay

Has anyone else had a moment where you have to return a library book, and instead you renew it so that you can reread the last 15 or 20 pages over, again and again?

Guilty. <– that’s me.

That’s the moment when things turn, like a train doubling back on itself … and I think, “There was a moment when one person being in the wrong place at the right time would have been nice”. Set in Australia right after WWII, although with flashbacks we do visit before the war… It follows Anika Lachlan and her child after she’s lost her husband. Some things conveniently happen: the town sets her up as a librarian, two eligible men come back from the war. But other things are less convenient: both men are haunted by the war and their dreams, Ani keeps finding she is losing the essence of Mac, or feeling that his presence is in the way in every conversation. One man is a poet who has lost his words to the war, and his ability to teach young children. One man is a doctor with a surly personal manner. It’s like the perfect setup for a screwball romance, except it isn’t.

In Ani’s own words “The year I’ve had, Dr. Draper, here, with my daughter, making sense of this strange new world. I’ve lost my husband. I have this job. I wake up in my own room, in my own house. And yet everything, everything is different.”  It’s different from the other after-the-war novels I’ve read, possibly due to locale and the characters who seem independent of anything the writer was leading them to. Definitely a book to reread.

Away and Back Again

July 4th, then a trip to Denver for a huge singing conference… And it’s August already. Not sure how all that time got lost — but subbing for other people’s vacations at work, dealing with my own workload = a lot less time for introspection, writing for myself, or just painting and sketching.

The trip to Denver was lovely, and part of the time was spent with friends up in the mountains. We missed a lot of the heatwave on the East coast of the US, although the past 2 weeks now that we’re back have been a bit of a struggle with all the rain, thunderstorms, and 100 degrees one day outside.

Pictures should show up eventually on the sidebar. I might write about what it was like to sing in a music hall with my chorus, in a space that seats 3,000 (couldn’t see the audience for the blinding lights, and so no jitters). But mostly, I feel incredibly rewarded that I got to go to GALA, represent my region and chorus, explore a new place, and hear some fabulous groups. You guys: you have to see the Seattle Gay Men’s Chorus sometime; if Mano a Mano ever comes back to the States from Cuba, see if you can score some tickets… they have an album you can download from iTunes on that link; the Gay Men’s Chorus of LA was fab; and the youth LGBT choruses — still thrilled by all their talent and optimism. I wouldn’t have had the guts to sing in front of such a large group. This video [YouTube Link] from Dreams of Hope out in Pittsburgh was shown, and should be seen outside of our region and the US. It really talks about the issues of kids who don’t fit into heteronormative society.


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