Mentorship Project- (part 1)
I first met Heather at the Art Council offices where we heard a bit about the program that we had both applied to take part in. The group of mentors are introduced to our Young Artists and I find I have been paired up with a printmaker named Heather Thomson. Heather has lots of questions and ideas, is animated and her excitement is infectious. I am looking forward to our time working together! The office is across the road from my studio, so after the meeting we run to my studio to do a quick tour and exchange contact information.
June 15th, evening
We arrange to meet at my studio on the evening of the15th. The focus of Heather’s interest is divided between professional development and printmaking technical. We figure that we can manage both in our sessions if we are well prepared. She is excited to do some printmaking that will not be graded and is keen to just get on a press again for the first time since graduating from the fine arts program at Guelph. Heather has prepared quite a long list of questions for me and we decide to have question/answer time in the middle of our visit, between preparing some experimental pronto plates and printing the pronto plates on my etching press. Heather’s printmaking interests and experience is mostly CMYK in lithography and screen printing. My experience is in intaglio and relief but I am familiar with a lesser known lithography technique, called Pronto plate that I can print on my etching press. This plate comes prepared for you to draw on with Bic pens, Sharpie markers, litho crayons, tusche wash or anything greasy. Heather is particularly interested in this techniques as her drawing tool of choice is a ball point pen. I am excited to introduce her to this simple litho technique that she may be able to do on her own, away from the University studio.
Heather gets to work on her sample plates, trying all the different drawing tools that I present to her. We chat all the while and move through various questions covering exhibition strategies, getting yourself out there and applying for shows. We are busy with this until we realize the time and decide to continue with the questions next visit. We will have to quickly print the test plates to see how they turn out. The results are good with the second inking and printing and I think that Heather is happy with how well the ball point pen works with this type of plate. We clean up and I send her home with some pronto plates to work on so that we will be able to jump into printing at our next visit.
We both agree that the time seems very limited for the type of project we want to accomplish. We are going to try to arrange more time so that we both feel content with the outcome.
We meet when Heather is able to arrange a ride from Oakville where she lives and is currently without a drivers license. Heather arrives with plates prepared for a 4 colour separation drawing of a cactus in bloom (I am not sure of the name of this one but it looks slightly festive : ) Printing and questions go well and Heather is able to get familiar with the process, printing her first colour on very fine gampi silk paper. She is diving into this process with the hopes that she will be challenged and learn. Working with very fine tissue papers is an exercise in patience, but I feel the pay off will make the struggle worthwhile.
So far, so good. Above the second colour printed on the gampi silk.