Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Taking Care of Other Business

Had the local news on this morning as I was getting ready for the day.  Most noteworthy was the news that AC Moore has announced it is planning to close.  No date given yet, just that the chain can not compete anymore and all 140 stores in various states will eventually close.  Several dozen locations are set to be taken over by Michael's, another arts and crafts chain, but we don't know which ones.  This won't have too much effect on my art- they don't carry any print supplies and rarely have anything I need.  What it may affect is my students.  Not the woodcut classes- they already know they have to order by mail or internet and I point them in the right direction.  I'm talking about my college students.  Back in my school days, college bookstores carried all the needed art supplies for classes. Sometimes they were the only game in town.  Even long after I graduated and was on campuses as a professor, I still sometimes bought supplies at college bookstores.  However, several years ago a chain that was failing in the retail markets decided to take over a lot of college bookstores, but had no interest in carrying art supplies. Seems odd- you might think a retailer with a local captive audience would want to make that money, but I guess not. What makes it worse is that quite a few regional chains of art supplies that had been in this area have also given up. Thus students complain that they can't get the things on the class supply list.  This won't help.

A few weeks ago the Intro class printed their collagraphs.  I like all my classes to have a print project, and this one works in that kind of class.  No skills needed, most materials cheap or free, results are usually good, and it's something that few have tried before.  I think that they tend to like it- at the end of the semester many dispose of their portfolios, but keep their print.  I spring for a tube of water based relief ink for the class to share, small price to pay for getting a print project done.  Unfortunately, being college students, sometimes they don't show up, or forget to bring the plates on our printing day, and few have the materials or tools to do it themselves.  So what I do is tell them to bring in their plates, make sure their name is written on it, and I'll bring them proofs I pull in my Studio, to which they can add color or collage.

I dropped by the Studio briefly yesterday to drop off some things and saw that Molly had been working.  One of her big products is cloths with screen printed art on them.  The ones I saw yesterday were layers of leaves, as in the examples below:

She was back in there since (last night, early this morning, I don't know) because now there was something new- green bicycles.

Her fondness for multiple colors leads me to believe these aren't done yet, but I guess we'll see.

On the way in I had stopped briefly in the office to chat with Nichole, learning of the changed schedule for the planning meeting, then I got downstairs and got to work.

No Molly when I got there, so music was an option.  Another story on the news this morning was that an auction was selling a hand written lyric from an early Bruce Springsteen song, predating his first E-Street album by a few years, but never recorded.  This put me in a Springsteen mood, and I have a two disc set I burned years ago, a copy of which I keep in the Studio.  Since the inspiring story was about an early song, I went with volume I, assorted favorites from the first four albums (Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., The Wild, the Innocent, & the E-Street Shuffle, Born to Run, and Darkness on the Edge of Town), plus a few from The River, which gets continued on volume II.  I tend to think of his first 3 albums as his New Jersey albums (could have been enjoyed anywhere, but probably could only be made by someone who lived around here), the next 4 as his American albums (for good and bad, a trip through the heartland, and all our nation contains). After that he moved to California for a while and things were never the same.  Oh, did I mention that the Studio is only a block from the Asbury Park city limits?

One advantage of working in my own space is that it is much more efficient.  Ink and brayer are the same, but the table is better.  Paper came from a student sketchbook (once they are unclaimed for a semester, they become mine, as I make room for the next semester's sketchbooks), and I knocked out these four in less than an hour.  I will give them and the plates back to the students next week.  The last phase is for the students to add elements of color (watercolor, pastels, etc), collage, or whatever else they feel will improve the composition and make it better art.

With that task done, all that was left was to clean up, move stuff to the car, and grab some lunch on the way home.


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