Back in the days of Rachel's Sparrow, I started experimenting with printmaking. My gateway drug to printmaking was stamping-- an easy way to start learning the ins and outs of applying ink, carving blocks, composition, etc. I quickly tired of store bought stamps (how plebeian!). Fortuitously, around that same time I came across Yellow Owl Workshop and was introduced to the idea of hand-carving my own stamps. Christine Schmidt, the company's founder and chief artiste, has an incredibly unique illustrative hand that gives her work such personality… there's an element of whimsy to it all, but cool whimsy, not twee whimsy (there's a difference, you know.). Print Workshop offers insight into the printmaking techniques that make Yellow Owl Workshop so popular. I devoured this book during graduate school, but it wasn't until recently that I actually had a chance to make some of the projects from it.
My first project: an image transfer print using Sheer Heaven paper. I used this technique at Christmas to add a photograph to a screen print I made my mother. It was well received, and I began to experiment with different sized prints and framing. Our good friends moved to Las Vegas last week, and as a goodbye present, I made a print of a photo I took one night when we were all together (the photos is of a sunset over the Hollywood Forever cemetery, where we were watching Aliens… if you haven't seen Aliens in a cemetery, you're missing out. But I digress.). I embroidered stars over the corner to give it a little something extra. I was pleased with how it turned out, and now my sketchbook is overflowing with expansions on this mixed media idea. I'm looking forward to trying this with different scaled prints and embroidery, and perhaps bringing silkscreening back into it. I like the juxtaposition of screen printing, because by its very nature, screen printing should produce a run of prints that are exactly the same (or close to it), but image transfers are a little harder to control. Anyway, I hope I'll have more of these to share with you in the near future, and three cheers for Yellow Owl Workshop for sharing their secrets with us little folk. It's a great book!