Posts Tagged ‘Dreaming Printmaking Reality’

Old Dream Becomes New Reality

Laurie Teichroew, printmaker at work

A few months ago I got an email from a woman from Seattle. Farther than that, actually, four hours by ferryboat and car farther, out in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, on the Island of Lopez. Laurie Teichroew had decided she needed what she calls “a reset.” She had lived a few lifetimes already, as a mother of five beautiful children, homeschooled for seven years, and celebrated a boatload of grandchildren; worked as as a bread-maker, and a landscape designer (“I also dig.”) It was time for her to do something she had always wanted to do: art. She had done an over-all-survey-of-printmaking course in college, but it was hardly enough to base a life project on.

So she went where we always go, to Google, and typed in “printmaking course near Granada.” She has just finished a two-week, one-on-one coaching session with me in my studio. She very cleverly added a week to her stay. That gave her time to decompress after her trip from Lopez Island to Granada, and also some time for sightseeing around Granada, even to visit some friends from home who were staying on the Granada coast for a couple of years with their two children. At one point in the visit her paisana said to her, “Sometimes we wonder what would happen if we just stayed…”

Laurie’s first couple of days here, she was disoriented and uneasy. She didn’t like her sketches, nor where they were taking her. Then I saw some doodling she was doing between sketches. “What’s this?” I asked.

“Oh, that, nothing, just an impression of the towns I saw while flying over Spain in semi-darkness on the way here.”

“Why don’t you try developing that a bit?”

She was off and running, converted from a lost puppy into an alpha she-wolf in her chosen terrain. When she had a few sketches she chose the best of them and we turned them into negative solarplate prints, along with a couple of positive intaglio plates and did some interesting ghost prints. She liked the negative relief prints, and soon adopted negative solarplate as her medium of choice.  She liked it for its flexibility of treatments, its total non-toxicity and its fast results. “This is a far cry from acid etching,” she affirms, “and the results are beautiful.”

Laurie has a prodigious capacity for learning, and she had a clearly defined objective. She wanted to learn enough printmaking technique to go home, set up her own studio and start out on her new life project. She can do it. She’s got the talent, the intelligence, and the dedication. “I want to get inspired,” she said, “and to have some fun. It will be interesting to follow her progress, I think.

Her first steps were promising. She soon had a dozen or more exhibit quality prints on a selection of beautiful handmade papers and the results were impressive. Just before she left I said to her, “The first thing you have to do when you get home is to show these prints to as many people as possible. Also, if there’s something you need that you can’t afford, propose swapping it for a print or prints.”

“I’ve been a member of an artists’ association for a couple of years, and they have two or three collective show each year, said Laurie. ·But I never participated in any of them. Too shy, I guess.”

“You can forget your shyness right now,” I told her, “these prints are the work of a printmaker.”  According to Laurie, a sizeable percentage of the inhabitants of Lopez Island are artists, and she would like to be one of them. I suspect she soon will be.

“There’s a 90-year-old printmaker on the island,” says Laurie, “and I used to pester her to teach me the basics, but we never got around to it.” But I remembered an old promise I had made to myself. I would come back to Granada and study art.”

Asked, “Why did you choose Spain for this trip?” Laurie replied, “I visited Spain once before and was impressed with the southern regions, the part they call, ‘Andalucía,’ for the architecture and the gardens, the food, and what seemed to me the leisurely lifestyle.” She made her second visit to Granada’s Alhambra palace, fortress and gardens on this trip.

What’s her next step? Trying to balance work with an art project. “I’ve still got to work, and I have to set up a studio. How do I go about that? We shall see. Luckily, my kids are all grown up. And the encouragement I’ve received from you and Mike has been a big boost.

We certainly hope so, Laurie. We’ll be following your progress.

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