Archive mensuelle de juin 2013

Collagraphy A to Z at PCNJ


Collagraphy A to Z at PCNJ pcnj

The Printmaking Center of New Jersey


On June 21 and 22, I taught an intensive two-day collagraph printing workshop at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey (PCNJ), in Branchburg, New Jersey.  After my whirlwind art tour of New York it felt wonderful to find myself amidst the green rolling hills, horse farms and quaint villages in this scenic region.  The Printmaking Center organized a home stay for me with artist Liz Mitchell, who is the Board Chair of the PCNJ.  My encounter with her, visiting her studio and seeing her art were bonuses to the already enriching experience of coming to teach at PCNJ.





I had the pleasure of working with six women artists,  including one returning student from the first workshop I gave there last year.  With only two days to make collagraph plates and to print them, there is no time for participants to ponder over image content.  This is good.  It pushes them to jump right in and get an intuitive grasp for the medium and to disregard any tendencies toward self-censorship.



Student collagraph


Charissa Baker


The atmosphere in the studio was warm, welcoming and positive.




The women started by practicing subtractive methods on their prepared cardboard plates: dry point, X-Acto knife and tearing.  They went on to explore additive techniques: collage, plaster, acrylic gel and carborundum powder.  After these directed exercises they were free to create more plates combining all these techniques according to the effects they wanted to achieve.



Dorothy Clair



Judy Tobi


I gave a printing demonstration, according to traditional methods handed down to me by master printers. After we all witnessed the magic of the first printed collagraph hot off the press, everyone grabbed a smock and latex gloves and got to the exciting business of printing their plates.  The first collagraphs were printed in black to get a true grasp of tonal effects and then we dabbled in color.





Carborundum collagraph by Sandy Anton


I love the organic process of teaching and learning that happens on the spot.  Often the best tools I have to explain techniques are generated by the student work itself.  Each print becomes my teaching assistant.  The women had brought interesting materials to create textures with: antique lace, surgical tape and Band-Aids, dried flowers, microscopic beads, copper shavings, sawdust and evergreen clippings. Everyone was struck by the versatility and expressive quality of collagraphy.



Inked plate with embedded copper shavings by Charissa baker


Collagraph with dried flowers by Sandy Anton


Students explored different approaches.  Leokadia Stanik and Judy Nylan printed  two-plate color collagraphs.  Judy Nylan overprinted a silkscreen with a collagraph plate and Judy Tobi made several prints using her own hand made paper.



Two-plate collagraph by Leokadia Stanik



Two-plate collagraph by Judy Nylen


During a two-day workshop my immediate goal is to teach the basics of collagraphy and to convey the unlimited possibilities of this wonderful technique.  I also want to inspire students and encourage them to continue exploring the technique on their own. Ultimately, when I teach, I strive to create an atmosphere where participants connect to their work, to each other and feel joy.  I am lucky to be part of this dynamic where printmaking becomes a celebration of life.


Talleen Hacikyan


Thank you to Linda Helm Krapf, Sheila Goloborotko, Liz Mitchell and to all the students.

Photos by Sandy Anton, Talleen Hacikyan, Matt Koosner and Leokadia Stanik.  Thanks!

Art Trip: A Day In New York

Art Trip: A Day In New York skyline


I just returned from a fabulous five day trip to New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.  The main motive for going south of the border was to give a printmaking workshop at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey.  The other destinations were self-indulgent bonuses I added to my itinerary.  Instead of traveling by day on Thursday I gained a day by joining the flock of twenty-somethings on Wednesday’s night bus.  When our Greyhound pulled into Port Authority bus station at 7:00 a.m. any lack of sleep was overridden by the instant surge of adrenaline that New York injects into me.




I started with the pursuit of the traditional American breakfast.  As I walked along 7th avenue I became increasingly dismayed at how every breakfast option seemed to be served on a bun, toast, roll, or in a wrap.  I finally found my perfect sunny side ups and bacon, served in a porcelain plate, in Grand Central Station.  From my indoor terrace I marveled at the ebb and flow of human traffic and remembered the newspaper vendor’s mantra as he handed out free papers, “Knock out your work!”




My first job at hand was to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  My claim to fame is that I was the first person to step onto the marble floor of the Met that morning. What a thrill to be the only person in room after room of treasures as I rushed to the shows on my to do list.  Punk: Chaos to Couture was my fun show.  About 100 designs show the transformation of the the do-it-yourself ethos of the punk movement to the made-to-measure concept of haute couture.  Black Armani gowns with gold safety pins, evening apparel made from shredded garbage bags and a reproduction of CBGB’s bathroom are all there for your sensory pleasure.





Morning Glory, 2011 by Sopheap Pich


I was captivated by Cambodian artist, Sopheap Pich’s big, flowing rattan and bamboo sculptures.  His organic forms, inspired by elements of human anatomy are embedded in memories of culture and place.



Pastel, 1995 by Ken Price


The Ken Price retrospective was an interesting discovery for me.  From the luminously glazed ovoid sculptures of Price’s early work to the molten-like slumps made in the 1990s, one gets a good picture of this American artist’s work.




After my visit at the Met I met Irena, my printmaker friend.  We strolled through Central Park enjoying the glorious day.  Irena invited me to lunch at Whole Foods Market at Columbus Circle.  This is a great food option if you want a delicious, fresh, healthy and quick meal. After saying goodbye to Irena at Columbus Circle I wondered what my next step would be.  All I had to do was look up.  I was standing in front of MAD, the Museum of Arts and Design.  On my previous trip to New York I had come to MAD only to make it as far as the gift shop since the galleries had closed.  This time the museum came to me.  What a fascinating place!



Windsor Form, 2004 by Christopher Kurtz


I visited the Against the Grain exhibit in a meditative daze and savored each of the 90 pieces with delight.  The exhibition features 57 international artists, designers and craftspeople that explore cutting-edge conceptual and technical trends in woodworking today.  They deconstruct shapes and play on the relationship between function and form.  The video featuring talks by several of the participating artists is informative and inspiring.



Grey Figures, 2000 by Nicholas Africano


The Playing With Fire exhibit that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the American  Studio Glass movement is a treat.  One of my favorite pieces is Grey Figures by Nicholas Africano.



Irena Pejovic with her collagraphs at Lower East Side Printshop


I ended my art tour of New York with a visit to the Lower East Side Printshop to see Irena’s latest collagraph prints.  I met Irena Pejovik in 2011.  She was instrumental in introducing me to the Printmaking Center of New Jersey, where I teach.  She currently has a solo exhibition at Right Angle Gallery in Hoboken, New Jersey.  It was wonderful to see her unique and fresh approach to the collagraph medium that I love so much.

By the end of the afternoon I was on a Clinton, New Jersey bound bus, saying goodbye to the New York skyline, and anticipating new art adventures.

Talleen Hacikyan

Stay tuned to the next blog as the story continues in New Jersey.









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