Tuesday, July 31, 2018

More Woodcut Class

It has been two weeks since the first meeting of the 2nd series of woodcut classes at Belmar this summer, and so time for our second meeting.  No giant rain storm this time, and no other group meeting at the Boatworks tonight, so we didn't have those problems to worry about.  I was expecting to have all seven students on the roster appear tonight, so I used part of my time before class to set up three folding tables in the back gallery.  I've had 6 students in the small education room a few times, and it's pretty tight, but the last time I had 7 students I was setting up in the rear gallery, also known as the main room in the building.  At least I had less stuff to bring in compared to last time.

People started arriving as early as 6 pm, and by 6:30 everyone had arrived.  I quickly learned that one would not be coming, but since I had brought out all the tables and such, I continued to set up in the main room.  I had put out two of my large prints for people to look at while we were waiting for all to arrive, so I explained a few relevant things about those, then put those away and got started on the focus tonight- cutting.  Most had done some drawing on their blocks already, so they had a place to try some things out.  I put out my supply of class woodcut tools, explained how the different types worked, gave the usual safety speech, and even demonstrated a little on the blocks that people had brought in.  As time went on, people gradually got the hang of it, figuring the best way to hold the tools, and which ones worked best.  Consensus seems to be that the shorter ones are easier to use, so I think I'll cut some more down to small size before our next meeting.  One thought a tool might need more sharpening, so it was an excuse to get out my sharpening stone and show how that process works.  I also showed everyone how the non-skid mats and bench hooks can help the process, and both of those had their fans before long.  One student last week had asked about getting some of his own tools and had gotten some in time for tonight's class, though his drawing was the least finished, so he didn't have much opportunity to use them in class.  His description of how helpful and friendly the suppliers were (plus the realization of how much work is involved in cutting a single block) had most of the rest of he class asking for ordering information tonight.

The biggest negative tonight is that we discovered the air conditioner was broken. and since July was the hottest month in the history of the world (records have been set around the earth) and this part of the country has been mired in humidity for a few weeks, some of the students started drifting out before we were scheduled to end.  I'm hoping they get things fixed before our next meeting in 2 weeks.  But at least all those present tonight have their blocks in progress now, halfway through the class.


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