Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Printmaking residency USA (1)

I'm delighted to tell you that I have received the VACMA award to do a two-week printmaking residency in the USA later this year!
Printmaking residency at Zea Mays, USA

Zea Mays Printmaking is based in Northampton, Massachusetts, and one of the premier green studios in the USA. Their studio comprises 6000 sq. feet of printmaking bliss. When I stumbled upon their advert in Printmaking Today end of last year and did some more research about them, I was instantly drawn to their ethos so I applied for the residency instantly (with just a few days left before the deadline!). Even though I have my own studio at home with a small table top press, I really felt I needed to spread my wings, be among other printmakers and artists and emerse myself in a different artistic community.

Zea Mays (Sweet Corn) is a plant known for its ability to extract heavy metal toxins from the soil through its leaves and roots. Just as this plant is being used as a natural way of restoring contaminated earth back to health, their mission is to restore the art of printmaking to a healthy art form. At Zea Mays Printmaking they honour the rich tradition of printmaking by exploring alternatives that are safe for artists and the environment.  This approach truely resonates with me as I have been working with water-soluble oil based inks since a few years now as the conventional and toxic inks gave me headaches.

During this residency I will have exclusive access of the private studio with a 40” x 72” Takach etching press and all their platemaking facilities and accommodation in the on-site guest suite. Wow!

Private studio with Takach press © Elly Presteg√•rd

This residency will not only give me the chance to use my printmaking skills in a different way but also learn the latest developments in safer and non-toxic printmaking techniques and further explore the medium of artists' books. I'm excited about the prospect of developing ideas how I can publish my handprinted artwork into unique and limited edition books for people to look at, to browse through and to inspire. I have secured a place from 30 October until 11 November 2018 and I've just booked my flight.

The residency would push me further as an artist as I will be learning how to apply a 2D design into a 3D format through experimentation with the opportunity to get individualised feedback and instruction during that period from founder, director and printmaker Liz Chalfin and other tutors.

"A melancholy look at the end of the 20th century" © Liz Chalfin

I will be learning more about myself as an artist by working in a totally new environment among other artists from different backgrounds. It will also be the first time I will be working full-time for two weeks on a creative project.

All of this wouldn't be possible though without the financial support of Aberdeenshire Council and Creative Scotland. I would like to thank them for giving me this amazing opportunity to develop my art practice!

After this residency I will of course share my experience here on my blog and on Facebook. I will also use it for my collaborative project “Wildness” with writer Elaine Reid and share my knowledge with the general public in the form of an exhibition, a talk and art workshops, hopefully at the Woodend Barn and other venues during 2019. Watch this space!!

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