Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Back to the Studio

The weather forecasters had promised us one nice day this week and this was to be it.  Looking out the windows this morning I saw sun, so I guess they were right.  So one day to get a lot of stuff done.

Took care of a few minor errands before lunch, and then in the early afternoon, after a few more local errands (including letting Diane at BelmarArts know that I had someone interested in the woodcut class a few days after we cancelled it, but info saved for next spring) I got up to the Studio building.  The first thing I noticed was that the hook for our room had a tag on it, so either Molly was in or had been there recently. Getting to the 1st floor, I noticed her artwork was down from the wall (the last one to be removed), so she definitely had been there if not still there.  I had carried in a tote bag full of print stuff, including a block to work on if I had time.  Took the elevator down to the basement and found Molly was indeed in there, working on a few things, and then about to head out for some lunch.  I walked out with her to the parking lot to get more stuff from my car, then back to the basement to get some work done.

The thing I had gone back to my car to get was a crate full of bench hooks, from a collection I had made over the past few years.  A bench hook is a very simple device that helps hold a wood block in place, allowing the artist to devote full attention to using the gouges for the intended purpose.  I make them out of wood, but I've seen metal ones for sale, and people sometimes use those as a place to roll out ink, but my wooden ones would not be as good for that.  The ones I made vary in size, but would be best used with relatively small blocks, smaller than most of my recent work.  On the other hand, they are a good size for the kind of blocks my Belmar students make, which may be why these things have been popular there.  In fact, a few years ago I had a student who was so impressed with the concept, she made her own a week later.  Between classes I keep them in a milk crate in my Studio, but I had them in Belmar this summer, stored there for the duration of my two series of woodcut classes.  They were in my large plastic bin, marked with my name and class/dates in the storeroom, but it had disappeared at one point, part of an ill-advised reorganization of the storeroom by people who didn't know what anything was.  My storage bin had been removed from the shelf it had been on the past few years and left in a corner, sign turned to the wall, under an old tarp, but at least my stuff was still inside.  Leaving it in its new place, it stored the bench hooks for the second summer class, but when that ended I decided it would be safer to stash the stuff in my car.  With the fall class now cancelled, I figured it's better to pack them up and leave them in my Studio for now (need some of that car space for a snow shovel, since that may be coming this week), except for one small one that I stuck in my backpack to bring to school on Friday, to show a woodcut student who knows what it is but never made one.  Teaching never ends.

And speaking of school on Friday, my other Studio task today related to that as well.  This is one of the projects I do regularly with my Intro class- creating a collograph plate out of cardboard, scraps, and whatever else they come up with, which fits in with the formal issue of texture, something we are supposed to cover.  Ink and printing tools aren't sold on campus or anywhere near it, so I provide those as part of my deal for getting to work on a print project.  I had bought some water based relief ink yesterday, but I was sure I had more in my very messy ink bag (all those summer classes had their effect on my bag) and my large work table and the Studio are much better place to organize all that than my apartment.  I suppose I didn't need a sunny day to do this, but carrying all this stuff to my car, and then to the Studio building, is just easier on a day like this.  What I had in there before yesterday was all my oil based ink cans (not to be used in this week's class), my collection of water based color inks (brand no longer manufactured, but still good, used last year to color my mermaid sculpture and in my linocut class), some black ink tubes, a bag of brayers, and some ink knives.  One of the color inks was a large tube of phthalo green, and even though the cap was on and tube seemed to be intact, thick sticky green ink seemed to be on everything in the bag, so part of my task was to take advantage of the space and our big sink to clean everything and see what I actually had. Turned out that I have a bit of water based black ink in tubes, which I may try mixing with some of the new black ink in the can and use that this week.  Tossed out some empty black ink tubes, probably left from last spring's college class, and got as much green ink off everything else as I could.

The bag was still quite heavy taking it back to the car, but I'll load it more selectively for Friday's class.  Didn't get a chance to work on any woodcuts today, but no immediate deadlines on those, but these inks, etc will be used this week, so that was my priority.


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