A Fine Day for Steamrollering

Two days left before the Steamroller Printing Event. The weather forecast for Saturday calls for 100% chance of precipitation, and temperatures ranging from 2 to 11 degrees celsius. Not exactly the sunny skies that greeted Icarus on the day of his first and final flight.

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Noémie, Deborah, Rolande, Talleen and René at Atelier Circulaire

In preparation for this printing event, a group of five artists and myself have been carving a collective linoleum plate, inspired by The Fall of Icarus (see previous 3 blogs). The past couple of weeks have been full of exciting work sessions with my fellow artists.

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Assembling our linoleum plates

Each artist engraved two linoleum plates, sections of our main design. The day we put our pieces together was thrilling. The ensemble of our work took on a life of its own, a very intricate, expressive and unique life. Put into the context of the whole piece, we were better equipped to take decisions regarding our individual plates. We worked on transitions between sections, and fed off each other’s work.

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René carves his plate according to Deborah’s, below his

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Noémie makes adjustments

There were several other sessions of collaborative work: printing proofs of all our plates, assembling our proofs and making further adjustments on our plates, gluing our linoleum to a 4 by 7 foot piece of plywood, and making a hand printed copy of our piece on Japanese paper. I had planned on hand printing a copy by myself and was happy to get lending hands not only from Rolande, but from Hélène and Mary, who are not working on this project. They couldn’t resist the allure of printing with a spoon, which with the size of our plate, is a real workout!

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Rolande, Hélène and Talleen handprinting with spoons

I am humbled by the implication and enthusiasm of the artists I have the pleasure of working with. Although I have been sharing a studio with these artists for years, working on this project has allowed me to witness firsthand their creative process. I gained insight into how they perceive and make visual decisions.

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Inking our plate

It may rain on Saturday but this continues to be a bright experience for me. As we arrange final details such as packing and transporting Icarus to his destination, I have the distinct feeling I am preparing for a trip. I will pack Icarus’s suitcase, like I used to pack my son’s when he was a baby: inking roller, masking tape, scissors, latex gloves, rags and talcum powder to wipe off ink stains. Thank God I don’t need to haul diapers! Although with the weather forecast being what it is, I may take some Tylenol in case Icarus catches a cold.

Talleen Hacikyan

N.B. Due to rain, the Steamroller Printing Event has been Postponed to May

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