October 25, 2013

In the Beginning

        I’m back, with a new computer, trying to get used to the changes, and trying to catch up after being computer-less for three days.  At least everything was backed up safely.  Whew!
        So, last weekend was an Open Studios show and I carved three new blocks.  But this isn’t one of them.  This is something else I printed this week, but its story begins a long time ago.  Whenever I’m explaining my rubber blocks to visitors at shows I have a tendency to describe it as a “new” material… until I catch myself with the realization that it’s about twenty years ago now.  Yep, I’m getting old!  But people always ask me how I got started with the block printing, and this is the story…
        In high school I had made a few linoleum blocks for family Christmas cards, as many an artsy-craftsy person has done, but I didn’t particularly love it.  Then this new carving rubber came out and, because I was an art teacher, I was sent a free sample of the stuff.  That was the best advertising dollar they ever spent, because it was love at first cut.
        Actually, though, I didn’t really start working on my own prints at that point because I was too busy being a teacher.  Then I got married, and moved to New Hampshire for D’s second year of a two-year grad program, and rather than try to get a full-time teaching job for one year, I worked part time on after-school classes.  Moreover, I got to take a free class at the gallery where I was teaching, and I chose a wood block printing class.  That’s what gave me time to work on block prints and cemented my conviction that relief block printing was the artwork I wanted to be doing in my time.
        I rediscovered this old rubber block recently while putting other stuff away.  It’s that first rubber block I ever got my hands on: the free sample.  I never printed an edition with it, because I wasn’t thinking of myself as an Artiste then, much less expecting to sell my work.  I printed up some notecards for myself with acrylic paint on ordinary paper, and then packed the block away.  But when I found it not long ago I decided that the little ship was pleasing enough to do a small limited edition (in slightly bluish-black on speckled blue card stock, to be quite different from the earlier prints I made.)  So here it is.
        The initial A is the design I carved on the other side of the same block.  I don’t remember which I actually did first, but in any case, here they are: the first rubber block prints I ever made.

        --- Actually, it turns out that I made a couple of little rubber stamps earlier.  You can see them here. ---

[Pictures: Fair Winds, rubber block print by AEGN, carved c. 1994, printed 2013;
Initial A, rubber block print by AEGN, c. 1994.]


Pax said...

Very cool, and certainly back then at the "very beginning" a very pleasing and attractive style. I'm so glad the work has continued . . . .

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

I'm not sure how original the ship design was - I seem to recall that it was inspired by an image I saw somewhere, but I really don't know how similar mine is. I definitely worry more about originality now that I'm signing, selling, and sending my work out into the world as limited edition Art under my name.

Gwen Buchanan said...

What a great keepsake to find. Your work was so clean lined and bold. You were a natural for this technic..

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

It was certainly "love at first carve"! =)