Tag Archives: papermaking

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Peter Sowiski: Papermaker

I was born in Pittsburgh, trained as a printmaker in Ohio, and spent my teaching career at SUNY Buffalo State. I began making paper for prints almost forty years ago, and since that time have been led down a road of broadened involvement with paper as a medium.

Rooster, 2005, colored pulps, relief, screen print

Rooster, 2005, colored pulps, relief, screen print

The work has been a personal affirmation of both the image and its support, which has formed the basis of my philosophy as a pulp painter- that economy of equipment and processes can yield complexity and sophistication. Looking at military might through these pieces keeps us aware of the high tech, high stakes times we find ourselves in.

Little Bird detail, 2013, colored pulps

Little Bird detail, 2013, colored pulps

I usually work over a base sheet formed in a Nepalese or Asian style. I paint with thin applications of pigmented abaca or cotton fiber. With stock batches of the primaries plus black, I use turkey basters and custom containers for applications of thin washes, enabling quick adjustments of color and consistency. Additionally, I stencil, pour, spray, hand manipulate, or do whatever it takes to drive the image into being. In printed works, I employ traditional processes along with the paper approaches.

pulling base sheet

pulling base sheet

The pieces spring from remembered visions, rooted in diverse sources. I recall my early All-American attraction to weaponry as favorite toys. This connects to my adult fascinations and fears as represented from the late 90′s onward in simple, darker works. I have been making studies of strategic aircraft and service personnel for large installations as well as smaller, intimate print combinations. The works tip a hat to impressionism, photographic “focus,” traditions of printmaking, pattern and pop art, and seek symbiosis between the delicate physical qualities of the paper and the powerful visual qualities of subject, so that they cohere on even terms.

Light Attack, 2013-16, detail, colored pulps

Light Attack, 2013-16, detail, colored pulps

View Peter’s artwork online at www.abaca-press.com/peter/about.html. Stop by Main Street Arts to see his artwork in our current exhibition, Ink and Paper (runs through Friday, March 25). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by book and multimedia artist Candace Hicks.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jenna Rodriguez: An Educator, Papermaker, Printmaker, and Book Artist

I have been an artist and art educator for the past 8 years. The past year and half I was the Victor Hammer Fellow at Wells College Book Arts Center in Aurora, NY. The fellowship allowed me to teach fifty percent of the time and create my own body of work fifty percent of the time.

My work focuses on creating a sense of place within my current geographical location. I attempt to connect with the local community while exploring the public and private experience of social engagement to create work that inspires self-reflection, thoughts, and human connection. Through the use of language and social engagement in the public sphere, I explore everyday life, which opens a dialogue, allowing me to investigate different avenues to create narratives. I seek to give our private thoughts a voice, and our public thoughts an amplifier. By giving them a voice, it empowers their creators and allows us to stop, listen, enjoy and realize that everyone, all around us, drinks from the same cup of humanness. I considers myself a collector, observer, and artist.

Different Spaces  I Create In

When I lived in Chicago I collected authentic thoughts that occur while in commute on public transportation. I asked every stranger that sat next to me on the train to participate. I transformed the project in a letterpress Printed Accordion Book with a downloadable soundscape and a video installation. You can view both pieces here: Running Thoughts

Cayuga Nation: Now & Then is a three hole pamphlet stitch book structure and was offset printed. I printed this book during a residency I had at Columbia College Chicago in the Center for Book and Paper Arts.  Three weeks after I moved to the shores of Cayuga Lake, the local gas station was barricaded with trucks, police and members of the local Cayuga Tribe. This event inspired me to explore the long history of the Cayuga Nation and the events that lead to the recent conflict within the tribe itself. Depending on which cover you open first you receive a different story. One side of the book tells the “Now” story (current issues) and the other side tells the “Then” story (history) of the tribe. I created this two-sided artist book to showcase my own observations, experiences, and research on the Cayuga Nation.

My most recent project is called Still. It memorializes roadkill I encountered in the Finger Lakes of Upstate New York. Moving from Chicago, IL to Aurora, NY I was overwhelmed with my daily encounter of roadkill. The book transforms into a creative non-fiction narrative allowing me to connect with my environment. The deceased animals were found on my daily commute and treated with respect. The cover is handmade paper to resemble asphalt. The book proceeds with an image of crows around an animal to represent the flight of their soul. Following is a pullout map indicating where animals were found. Animals are letterpress printed in two colors with linoleum blocks and polymer plates. A veterinarian allowed me to take x-rays, which are printed on transparent paper with vertical text stating statistics about roadkill. Each animal has an obituary that states factual and humorous information with a pullout photograph showing the crime scene and the longitude and latitude. At the end of the project a private ceremony was held where the animals were buried on an island to pay respect and give thanks.

My Process for “Still”

Final Product

This project has turned into something much larger than only an artist book. I have created handmade paper using the animals, I created an animation about the animals, I created screen-prints of the animals and then did embroidery work on top of the  prints. All of this work will be in a solo exhibition called Still at The String Room Gallery at Wells College in Aurora, NY. If you you are in the area you should come for the opening in Mid April.

View Jenna’s artwork online at www.jennarodriguez.com. Stop by Main Street Arts to see Jenna’s artwork in our current exhibition, Ink and Paper. The exhibition is up through Friday, March 25. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by book artist Alicia Taylor.