At Art Farm we have long been committed to introducing young artists to traditional media in drawing, painting, and printmaking. I personally am always investing my energies in testing projects that I think will excite young artists. I’m always taking painting and drawing classes from a variety of instructors and thinking about how I can apply what I’m learning to our offerings at Art Farm. I like to tell kids that, too, because they get the idea that art classes are somehow just child’s play. I tell them I’m 61 and still taking art classes because it’s fun and there’s always more to learn.
Last year I started taking intaglio printmaking classes with the wonderful Loretta Kramer at the San Diego Art Academy. I was exploring whether Art Farm should invest in a printing press. I’d done some research and figured the investment would total $7,000 for the press and to set-up the studio. There are of course many ways to make prints without a press, but a press certainly ups the game. Working with Loretta I learned the basics of operating a hand-operated printing press and was introduced to a variety of intaglio, relief, monotype and monoprint techniques. I was convinced young students would love the magic of printmaking with a press and so I set to work looking for the right machine for Art Farm. Ultimately I chose a 24-inch geared Conrad Monotype Press, custom made by the Conrad Machine Co. in Michigan. This is a very versatile machine capable of doing many types if printmaking processes. It took 3-months to build. When it finally arrived, it was so heavy (about 700 pounds) that my husband had to get the tractor out to lift it off the delivery truck bed and onto the assembled press table. For me, it was love at first site!
Buying the press was one thing, setting up the printshop in time for the launch of the 2016 summer camp season was another. While I’d taken some printing classes and worked a press, I needed more expertise. I contacted the amazing Gaul Culley, a master printmaker and personal friend, who was living in the Bay Area while commuting to Washington where she was commissioned to paint a huge public arts mural. She was on a deadline with the mural, but nevertheless she worked Art Farm into her schedule. Gaul came to set-up the press and design our summer printmaking program, train staff on the use of the press, and create lesson plans for three groups of students by age. Gaul was here teaching for parts of the summer, and when she was back in Washington, the staff she trained took over. The best part was students LOVED the press.
Meanwhile, because Gaul isn’t local, I set about finding another printmaking instructor (with Gaul’s help, because great printmaking instructors are hard to come by in north coastal San Diego County) and lucked onto Hannah Murdoch. Her Art Farm Instructors bio is available on the Art Farm Meet the Team page. Hannah is also a master printmaker and has been working with students at Art Farm during the 2016-2017 school year. She’s terrific and will be working with us this summer.
The other great thing about the press is that soon we will be opening shop for adult classes, so stay tuned!
-Perrin Weston, Carlsbad Art Farm