Sunday, April 9, 2017

SGC-International Awagami Paper Award

I'm the happy recipient of the new SGC-International Awagami Paper Award. See Facebook announcement below. To see full posting, please visit my Facebook page or view the images here.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

MFA Exhibition Review in The Gateway

I got a well written and thoughtful review about my MFA Exhibition in The Gateway. Click on the link to access it:

Thesis Defence & Reception

On February 21 I successfully defended my MFA thesis work. On March 2, I had a wonderful reception with more than two hundred people in attendance (see photos below). Thank you everyone for coming to celebrate with me or for thinking of me on that special evening. For the past month I've been trying to get my bearings again, de-stress a bit, but mostly keeping busy with student tours at the gallery, photographing work, and working on my supporting thesis document. I haven't printed anything in six weeks and I'm really starting to miss it!

My advisor Sean Caulfield and I at the reception.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Interview about MFA Thesis Exhibition

CuriousArts at the University of Alberta published an interview with me and some great photos of my show.
Check it out here:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Printing Seeds of Hope

Some people have asked me how I print an eight foot long (240cm) banner of paper.
Here is a short 2 minute video of me printing a plate on the central banner of Seeds of Hope.

I have already wiped the copper printing plate with an open bite etch, so the video focuses on the printing process (sorry the image of the hands on the plate isn't really visible in the video). This is one of the last plates that I'm layering on an almost finished piece. I worked with three different printing plates, each 24" x 36" in size (60cm x 90cm). For each print, I arranged the plate and the paper rather freely on the press bed. The paper is a Japanese Shoji paper from the Japanese Paper Place in Toronto, which picked up the aquatints better than I thought it would and which held up to being re-dampened and run through the press somewhere between 75 - 100 times. I printed this piece over the course of six weeks, printing a few plates every day to avoid too much offsetting of the ink. Once I arrange the plate and the Shoji paper on the press, I place a heavier, damp, western paper over top of the plate to absorb some of the blanket weave pattern before I put the printing blankets down. I let part of the paper hang over the edge of the press, and I release the pressure before I pull the paper out at the end. This print was printed at the University of Alberta graduate print studio.
For the printmaking nerds out there who want to see a version a bit closer to real time with a few more process details, here is a 7 minute version of the same video.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thesis Exhibition Installation

It is time! This week is the installation of my masters thesis exhibition. It has been busy and a bit stressful, but I've enjoyed every moment of it. We're almost done with a few final touches left for tomorrow.
For The Soy Field (above), there were 145 square foot size paper tiles to glue onto the wall, which took us two days. We've used a rice paste as used in chine-collé (or wheat pasting), which we spread on the damp paper sitting on a piece of acetate. We can then easily lift the acetate, shift the print into position and press it against the wall. Thankfully somebody has invented a laser level! And thankfully there was gallery staff who did most of the work (Thanks Phoebe and Myken!).

Below is Seeds of Hope, finally installed as I've envisioned it all along. I'm so pleased with the way it looks in this space, with the seed jars sitting on a bed of black earth underneath the banners with the hands.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Invitation to my MFA Thesis Exhibition

It is time. The invitations for my MFA Thesis exhibition are printed. This week I'm installing my show at the FAB Gallery at the University of Alberta. And next week is my defence. It feels a bit surreal to have reached this point, but I feel happy, satisfied, and proud of the work I made during the past two years.

Laser cut Woodblock Prints

I've had some fun over the past few weeks playing a bit with some additional tiles for my soy field. I wanted to find a way to include digital imagery without using digital prints which can appear rather flat. I found these great photographs of harvest combines driving over massive soy fields in almost militaristic formations that have this threatening feel of sheer power. One of my professors tracked down a laser cutter and she ended up cutting the images into woodblocks, which I then printed as relief prints. I'm very pleased with the results and I'm especially happy how they look with the soy plant etching plate printed over top to connect the tile with the rest of the piece (see The Soy Field).

Woodblock detail. 

Inked woodblock.

Here is another woodblock print I did with a laser cut digital photo of a soy field.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Seeds of Hope

(I updated the photos in this post and added one with the seed jars).

It is hard to believe that I've almost finished my masters. I have one month till my defence, three weeks till the exhibition install. I'm still printing, not exactly frantically, but steadily every day to finish my last piece. Here is a picture of the piece in progress. Since this print will be free-hanging in the centre of one of the gallery spaces, I'm printing on both sides. I'm still working on the back and I might make a few changes to the front yet (I updated the photo and it's the final version of the front now). It's been an interesting challenge printing on this scale. The central paper banner measures a little over 3 feet x 8 feet (98cm x 240cm), but I can move the printing plates and the paper quite freely on the press bed, although it is quite cumbersome. Fortunately the paper is quite sturdy and has withstood all the rigours of dampening and printing (Japanese Shoji Paper).

Most of the work in my thesis exhibition is a bit dark and melancholy, dealing with environmental, social, and economic issues of industrial agriculture in Paraguay, the rapid disappearance of the dry forests due to deforestation, dispossession and migration of indigenous people and peasant farmers, etc. One of the big topics I also looked at and which ultimately inspired this piece is food sovereignty, which encompasses access to local foods, the right to grow food through subsistence farming, as well as the right to save seeds. I wanted to create a piece that was a bit more hopeful, and the image of a seed with the potential for growth and a symbol for life preserved in a seed jar emerged. I commissioned my husband, Terry Hildebrand, who is a potter, to make these jars inspired by the forms of ancient earthenware seed jars from indigenous peoples in the Chaco. However, I also wanted to give the jars a more contemporary look, so Terry glazed the porcelain with a clear shiny glaze. I put decals with screen printed images of seed germination cycles of beans, squash, and corn - traditional staple foods - on each jar. 

The hands symbolize the collective effort needed to fight for the right to save seeds, to maintain seed saving traditions, and the collective effort to produce food in a sustainable way. Several of the hand gestures suggest the act of planting seeds (see detail below) and in conjunction with the imagery on the jars the passing on of the knowledge of planting to future generations. In that sense the seeds jars represent vessels of hope.

One of my advisors pointed out another possible meaning of the hands: in some regions in Brazil, people hang wax-cast body parts on the ceilings of a chapel to pray for healing of certain ailments. I love that image and in that sense, the hands in this piece are a prayer for healing, which works beautifully in the context of the rest of my exhibition.

FootPrints at JVS Project Space - New York

Two of my prints are on display in New York at the JVS Project Space from Jan. 15 - March 5. They are the two 'Best in Show' award winning pieces at the FootPrint International Exhibition from the Center for Contemporary Printmaking this past summer (not shown in this picture).

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Global Matrix IV

Global Matrix IV is opening next week. Two of my prints are in this exhibition and a detail of one of them made it onto the invitation!