Although Art in the Open 2019 was a cavalcade of artistic wonders, my favourite part of it was the portable printmaking studio set up on Victoria Row by St. Michael’s Printshop from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
I was trying to explain to someone last night the difference between printmakers and printers, and I suggested that it was kind of like they’re Portuguese and we’re Spanish. To the casual observer we’re easily confused with each other, and, indeed, it’s possible to make yourself understood speaking one language to a native speaker of the other. But we’re different nations with different traditions, different sensibilities, different terminologies.
But, that all said, we’re all Iberians, so to speak, as our alchemy involves ink, paper, form and pressure. And so I loved spending time in their midst.
The portable printshop was setup up to print on anything you might bring along with you, using one of a fleet of woodcuts that they traveled with.
I brought along a piece of scrap canvas, and selected this stunning cut by Newfoundland artist Kim Greeley for my print:
I’m so, so happy with the result. You can come see it on my shop door in St. Paul’s Parish Hall next time you’re near.
The St. Michael’s crew were hard at it for hours last night, a little overwhelmed, I think, by the reception they got to their offer-to-print.
I’ve emerged with a newfound appreciation for my Iberian cousins and a resolve to accelerate my plans, long unfulfilled, to visit Newfoundland and Labrador.