Alexia at Atelier Circulaire


My niece Alexia recently celebrated her seventh birthday. For the occasion I offered her a printmaking session at Atelier Circulaire. Alexia is a budding artist. In her basement there is a big wall permanently reserved for her artwork. In her kitchen there is an original Alexia pastel of a still life, next to her felt drawing of a black piano with purple pedals, and her bedroom wall is adorned with two of her abstract gouache pieces.


At Atelier Circulaire last Saturday, I showed Alexia how to make monotypes. Monotype printing is the most direct of all printmaking techniques. I gave her a thin styrene plastic plate and showed her the different ways to apply the oil-based printing inks: by brush, rag, hand, spatula and roller.


Alexia picked up the technique easily, mixed colors and experimented with different effects on the styrene plate. The difference between monotype and painting directly onto paper is that on the styrene plate, the artist can slide and combine the ink easily and play with transparency. On paper the ink is absorbed quickly and does not allow for this type of manipulation. Also, the fact that the monotype passes through a printing press, creates its own look, where colors and textures merge together.


In an hour and a half, Alexia made four monotypes, ranging from abstract to figurative. She tried her hand at all the steps of the creative process: wetting the paper, working on the plate, turning the wheel of the press, and putting the prints between boards and under weights to make them dry flat.



Yesterday our family visited Alexia. She numbered and signed her dried prints and gave them titles. The seven-year old artist had an impromptu exhibition of her monotypes in her dining room for the family. I was impressed with her work but what gave me the most joy was to hear how she described her experience and the technique to everyone. There was definite pride in her voice. That is always the magic moment for me as an art teacher, when I realize that I have transmitted that wonderful feeling that comes from creating art.

Talleen Hacikyan

The Flow of Atelier Circulaire

A few weeks ago a group of Circulaire artists drove to Ottawa for the opening of Manuel Lau’s print show at Galerie d’art Jean-Claude-Bergeron. The trip was full of spontaneous episodes. When four of us went to the National Gallery, our two Cuban friends, who swim in and out of conversations with strangers like tropical fish in a coral reef, bumped into a trio, packing instruments after performing in a wood paneled room featuring classical paintings. Before I knew it we were all back at our friend’s vernissage, listening to the guitarists strum their classical rhythms, much to the delight of the gallery owner.

St. Patrick Street, Ottawa

Another unplanned chapter of that trip was when Brenda, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the opening, invited our group of seven to her home after the show. This charming visit, doused with champagne, a delectable meal, and an animated trilingual conversation, was the perfect way to end the day.

Le couloir, Atelier Circulaire

Two weeks ago, Brenda came to Montreal. Since she wanted to see my work I hung a selection of framed pieces in my private space at Atelier Circulaire. I also wanted to show her a series of my large format collagraph prints. The exhibition space at our studio, colloquially referred to as Le couloir, was available for two more weeks before the next show, so I hung my big pieces there.

À marée haute, collagraph print, 130 x 96 cm, 2002

This series of prints was first exhibited in 2002, at my show Empreintes interieurs, at the Maison de la culture de Trois-Rivières, and two years later at Brique-collage, at the Saidye Bronfman Centre, in Montreal. Loto-Quebec owns four of these prints, Balance hangs in the Alcan collection, and Racines rouge was on exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Sales and Rental Gallery. However, after hanging the prints in Le couloir, I realized that many people had never seen them. It was a pleasure to share them with the artists I work with on a day to day basis. Since the prints were in full view from the kitchen table, we often talked about the work while grabbing a bite or sipping a hot beverage of choice.


Brenda’s visit to Atelier Circulaire coincided with a pot luck lunch followed by a Powerpoint presentation by Nicole, who had just returned from a stimulating visit to Philagrafika, the international print fair in Philadelphia. The table was bursting with wine bottles, improvised dishes alongside with more elaborate ones like Chinese pork and shrimp dumplings. When it was time to toast, Brenda asked what the special occasion was. She was bombarded with answers: “Your visit!,” “Nicole’s presentation!,” “Manuel’s residency in China!,” “Talleen’s vernissage!” That last raison d’être is a perfect example of how things fall into place at Atelier Circulaire. There was no opening planned, yet the atmosphere was a lovely celebration that coincided with my little show of big collagraphs. As I sat at the table surrounded by the circle of happy artists, gazing at my prints, I basked in the energy that makes Atelier Circulaire such a warm, vibrant and inspiring place. The joie de vivre and the love of art form the common ground where we create and interact.

Talleen Hacikyan

Swimming With Santana


There’s nothing quite like doing laps to the beat of Carlos Santana, especially the last round of calmer breast strokes that I do to wind down my routine. Carlos’ guitar has a definitely liquid sound that flows exquisitely. I felt like the black magic woman as I finished my fortieth lap at the Y today.

I’m not into astrology but for those of you who are wondering, I am a cancer. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I am definitely a water person. When I was born I lived with my family in LaSalle, in an apartment facing the Lake Shore of Montreal. My parents, who grew up on the shores of the Bosporus, in Istanbul, used to swim off the rocks in Lac Saint-Louis across the street from our home. Although I never swam in that in that river of dubious quality, I think it may have made an imprint on my mind. Maybe swimming stirs up feelings of security associated with early childhood.

A more plausible explanation for my love of water may lie in the fact that there was an outdoor pool in front of our apartment, and I do have vague memories of splashing around in there. Santana was twelve years old then, so I can’t say that I had the honor of listening to his music as I engaged in water play.

I swim a kilometer once, sometimes twice a week. That’s about the distance between my house and the local library. If there was a river between these two points–let’s call it Kildare River–and if I capsized from a canoe while navigating on it, I take comfort in knowing that I could swim to the safe harbor of the Eleanor London Public Library.

My Colombian husband, who grew up surrounded by the massive presence of the Andes, is a mountain person. No matter where we may venture on this planet, no matter what the temperature, if he sees a hill, his natural instinct is to climb it. I on the other hand, gravitate toward H2O.

Sacred pool, Pamukale, Turkey

One of my most memorable swims was in the sacred pool in Pamukale (“cotton castle”), Turkey, in 1995. This delightful aquatic haven is full of marble columns, plinths and the occasional capital– Roman remains from the nearby temple of Apollo. The pool is fed by an inflow of hot calcium-laden mineral water. Swimming, or rather floating languidly, amidst these antiquities that toppled into the thermal water after an earthquake, was an earth-shattering, experience, rivaled only by an exquisite soak in the natural pools in Pamukale’s calcium carbonate terraces.

Pamukale, Turkey

I have had the pleasure of swimming in the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean Sea, and the Aegean Sea, where I jumped into the open waters from a yacht.

A dip in the Aegean

So compared to the call of the wild, what’s so exciting about doing laps in a pool? Honestly? The hot shower and the eucalyptus steam bath after my routine. Some mornings, when the pool is particularly busy with zealous swimmers of all shapes, sizes and speeds, crawling in their respective lanes, it feels like I’m navigating a five-lane highway. It can get a bit stressful trying to decide whether to pass a swimmer or tag closely behind. When Santana works his magic, however, I calm down considerably. He puts the spell on me, baby!

Yellow Door Reading


The world is full of beautiful yellow doors. I wonder how many? Now there’s a novel. I will call it, The Yellow Door Quest. Knock Knock. Or, Opening Yellow Doors. I will wander the world, armed with a generous grant, and whenever I spot a yellow door I will knock, only to be greeted by eccentric, extremely hospitable characters who serve me delectable home cooked dishes doused with a portion of wisdom. I could actually write a novel about the ideas I get for writing novels. For now I am working on short pieces and will be reading them at where else but Montreal’s Yellow Door on Thursday, April 8. The door is open to all. Welcome!


3625 Aylmer, Montreal (between Pine & Prince Arthur) Tel: 514-845-2600

Founder, producer/host Ilona Martonfi 514-939-4173

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Doors 7:00 pm Show 7:30PM At the door $5

An Evening of Poetry, Prose & Music

Stephen Morrissey His latest collection of poems is Girouard Avenue, Coracle Press, 2009. Visit

Talleen Hacikyan Author and illustrator of the artist’s book, Postcards. Stories published in Ararat Quarterly and Room Magazine.

Laurence Hutchman Author of Explorations, Blue Riders, Foreign National, Emery, & Reading the Water. Teaches at the Université de Moncton.

Ksenija Spasic is completing a Master’s degree and editing Headlight magazine. She writes and sings, often about her travels.

Paul Serralheiro Poet, musician, & writer; author of a chapbook, Engines. Published in numerous periodicals; teaches English at Dawson College.

Barbara Myers Ottawa writer and workshop facilitator; grew up in Halifax. Her new book, Slide, is her first full poetry collection.

Jesse Patrick Ferguson resides in Fredericton. He is a poetry editor The Fiddlehead, Harmonics (Freehand, 2009) is his first poetry book.

Jordi Rosen plays her Dream Pop songs of love and healing for you. It’s time to celebrate life!

In Celebration of National Poetry Month. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the League of Canadian Poets.

The Lamppost Diary Book Launch


Agop J. Hacikyan

Reading by Talleen Hacikyan

Sunday March 14, 2010
6:00 p.m.
Admission is free
Reception at the end

2855 Victor Doré
Montreal, Quebec
H3M 1T1

The Lamppost Diary was published last fall, by Telegram Books, in London. It is a spine-tingling love story between Tomas and Anya–the daughter of white Russian emigres—burgeoning sexual desires, rituals of growing up and of startling fortitude of a group of youngsters living in Turkey during and after World War II before moving to Canada and the States in the sixties.

Agop J. Hacikyan is a Canadian academic and writer of Armenian descent. He is the author of over 30 books on literature and linguistics as well as five novels, including A Summer Without Dawn, an international bestseller. Hacikyan, now Emeritus Professor of Literary Studies, has been awarded several prizes in Canada, France, and Armenia for the ensemble of his literary work and contribution to Armenian culture. He has resided in Montreal since 1957.

Renata Burn’s interview with A. J. Hacikyan, in London, has just been published in Cafébabel.

For my interview with the author, see my blog (October 2, 2009), Reinventing the Past: In Conversation With A. J. Hacikyan

Room of My Own

I am in a nesting mode. After reorganizing my print drawers, and my basement crawl space, I got myself a private studio at Atelier Circulaire and vamped it up. After years of working on the shared tables located between the etching and lithography studios, I now have a nine- square-metre room of my own. Upon signing the lease I discovered that it is officially called C1, or Cubicle 1.


My son painted the walls Infinity White and the cement floor Bone White. Now I can feel infinitely pure right down to my bones! I spent a week fluttering about the studio as I got down to the serious business of settling in. I plastered, repaired the moldings, made a table, put up my curtain, and once again, organized a set of drawers. For the finishing touch I will install my hammock for the well-deserved siestas that I will take after working long, uninterupted hours, with nothing but four white walls to distract me.

Apartment, Snowbound, Her Resort, from Crémaillère exhibit
Mixed media on handmade paper

My studio friends are impressed with my space. Some of them want to move in, others have suggested I rent it out on weekends. My son wants to furnish it with a sofa, and a plasma TV, which might not be a bad idea if I decide to start an after-hours film club, art films of course. For the moment, I have converted my piece of rented property into a mini gallery, and am now referred to as the new gallery owner. The exhibit, that continues in Le couloir gallery of Atelier Circulaire, is entitled Crémaillère. The prints and works on paper are on the theme of home, and this show is a house warming celebration for my new space. Again, in a festive spirit, with a touch of enterpreneurship savy, I am selling original print greeting cards.

Making cards

On the first day of my exhibit, profits from card sales were booming. People kept entering my space and handing me ten dollar bills! This definitely felt like a good omen. As of today card and print sales have covered eight months of rent. One day I walked into my space and an artist had placed a stunning wild orchid in a blown glass vase on my table, to complement my white world, she told me later. This morning another friend stuck in his arm through my curtain with a present from a common friend in Vancouver. Yes, C1 is a good space!


Come see for yourself. Crémaillère is open to the public. Be part of the on-going house-warming party.

Talleen Hacikyan

Photos taken in the studio: Celia Vara. Gracias!

Etching the Past

My Horse Was Frozen
Etching, 1989

I have 15 drawers where I keep my prints—twenty-five years worth of trials and tribulations on paper, and the occasional greatest hit. This week I’ve been reorganizing the contents of these drawers that used to store architectural blueprints, before I bought them from a secondhand office supply store in the East end of Montreal. I didn’t think this would be such an emotional undertaking. I was expecting a breezy, mechanical task that would not tax the right cerebral cortex of my brain. Little did I know that this act would have the impact of viewing the autobiographical film that one supposedly sees right before dying or fainting.

Etching, 1992

Each of my images brings back an episode or a sensation related to the time and place where I made it. They are little, and sometimes not so little, markers of time, embedded with messages only I can decode. The sheer volume of creative energy trapped on these sheets of Arches paper provoke an uneasy feeling in me. I wonder what to do with all the work, what my family will do with it when I leave this material existence, what it means to have been an artist for a quarter of a decade, what will happen if all this goes up in smoke or drenched in a flood, what order to put the prints in, what contribution I am making to humanity, where I’ll put the next twenty-five years worth of prints, how I can be such a perfect candidate for an anti-anxiety drug yet be so substance free….and then my husband will come down to the basement and see the ping pong table full of the disarray of artwork and marvel in awe at all the “beautiful work,” and then sensing my self-doubt, adds, “Bravo, Talleen,” before running up to work on the sketches for his latest book project.

Dry point, 1992

A colleague of mine one day suggested that I have a retrospective exhibition. At the time I did not think much about this idea but now I can imagine it. The show could be entitled, “Les tiroirs.” Somehow, “The Drawers,” just doesn’t cut it, although this title does stir ideas involving soft ground imprints of Calvin Klein and Fruit of the Loom briefs. Betty Goodwin made prints of vests, and Deborah Wood at my studio made a litho of lace panties disguised as a salad bowl full of leafy greens! Hmm, food for thought.

I am too young to have a retrospective. Let me be too young for something other than a discount for metro tickets. In the meantime there is a bank of prints that will go unseen for several more years, unless a brilliant curator reads this blog and decides to organize a show with these treasures from the past. Paris, Beijing, New York, would work for me. I’ve heard that these semi-subtle pleas pitched into the World Wide Web actually materialize sometimes, even if each reader does not forward the link to this blog to thirteen extremely special friends within five minutes of reading it.

This is day three of my cleanup mission and I am on drawer number four. This one contains prints made by my son, Pablo. There are even prints made by his yummy six-month-old feet. Wistfulness, the passing of time, wondering how almost thirteen years passed so quickly, anxiety, worrying about curfews worries yet to come. This drawer also contains prints and printed greeting cards by other artists. I wonder about friends I lost track of, regret not having kept up correspondence, the old way with paper and pen, and realize that some of my email correspondence has been reduced to receiving forwarded or pseudo-cute or funny messages that I delete before opening.

Dry point, 1993

I love this messy business of reorganizing my drawers. Like making art, this act pulls at my emotions and makes me feel alive. It makes me ask questions. Maybe by drawer number 15 I’ll have a few answers. For now I’ll put on my Katak CD by Florent Vollant, and dive into the tiroirs and cleanse my spirit. As Vollant has written inside the CD cover, The Spirit is Good.

Talleen Hacikyan

Prints by Talleen Hacikyan, to prove that once upon a time I etched copper plates!

Reinventing the Past: In Conversation with Agop J. Hacikyan

Agop J. Hacikyan is a Canadian academic and writer of Armenian descent. He is the author of over 30 books on literature and linguistics as well as five novels, including A Summer Without Dawn, an international bestseller. Hacikyan, now Emeritus Professor of Literary Studies, has been awarded several prizes in Canada, France, and Armenia for the ensemble of his literary work and contribution to Armenian culture. He has resided in Montreal since 1957.


His latest novel, The Lamppost Diary, has just been published by Telegram Books, in London. It is a spine-tingling love story between Tomas and Anya–the daughter of white Russian emigres—burgeoning sexual desires, rituals of growing up and of startling fortitude of a group of youngsters living in Turkey during and after World War II before moving to Canada and the States in the sixties.

I was sure the writer would grant me an interview. After all , not only am I an enthusiastic reader of his novels, I happen to be his daughter. When I was a child his study was right next to my room. Many a night I’d fall asleep to the rat-a-tat-tat of his typewriter. I often wonder if this lulling sound–reminiscent of tropical rain on a tin roof– that repeatedly seeped into my subconscious had something to do with my own desire to write.

My father and I sat in his present-day study in the basement of his Westmount home, where he has not one, not two, but three desks. A sleek PC has replaced the mighty black Remington of my childhood, but the book-lined walls are just as impressive as the ones I remember, like a mosaique of mysterious characters, places, and plots.

Talleen Hacikyan: You have said that every novel is autobiographical. What are your thoughts on this?

Agop J. Hacikyan: My novels are often about incidents that I have lived. I’ve written five novels and they are all based on experiences as a child, adolescent, or adult in Turkey, Europe, or Montreal. In general, every novel is autobiographical in that the author chooses his words according to what he has seen, lived or even imagined. He has a particular background—his or her own warehouse of expressions, phrases, and words that come out when he writes. Fiction partly comes from experience and imagination—both merge and then suddenly that experience turns fiction. In The Lamppost Diary there is a lot of fiction as well as many episodes based on reality. It reflects a crucial phase in my life in a particular country, which, eventually with distance and the passing of time, regain new visions and awareness. For example James Joyce’s A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man is certainly autobiographical, not only the plot but the ideas and emotions. A novel is often autobiographical in terms of plot, emotion, ideas, and personal principles and philosophy. These then often become part of the story and most of the time unconsciously. This is turning into a lecture!

Cover page of Tomas

T.H.: Tell me about the experience of writing your first novel, Tomas.

A.J.H.: I wrote Tomas during a sad transitional period in my life. Sadness activates creativity. I wanted to produce a collage, very much in vogue at the time. There was no outline. I call this novel “evening writing”; I added something every night according to what I felt or thought on that particular day. My sadness took me back ten years to when I first came to Montreal, which was a good and bad experience, full of changes and shocks. I wrote the book during the peak of the Quebec separatist movement and FLQ activism and I was inspired. There was something in the political climate in Quebec at the time that echoed my experience in Turkey. A novel is a slice of life—not a clear-cut slice, but a mixture of how people lived and how they should have lived otherwise.

T.H.: The American-Armenian novelist, Oscar and Pulitzer winner, William Saroyan, prefaced Tomas. What role did he play in your development as a writer?

A.J.H.: I’m an admirer of Saroyan, read everything he wrote, including his grocery lists. I had access to him through our common friend and writer David Kherdian. When I was busy writing Tomas I sent some chapters to Saroyan and his warm sincere comments encouraged me, and I kept on writing an experimental hodge podge and it happened that it was published. At that time to have a preface by William Saroyan was a big deal so I figured I should continue writing. He was a great great man. I owe him so much.

T.H.: Tell me about the first time you met Saroyan.

A.J.H.: I met him for the first time in Fresno, California, where he lived. He gave me an appointment at the zoo, but he warned me not to buy an entrance ticket and to sneak in from a hole in the back fence, which I did. We spent the first three hours talking about animals, establishing a peculiar interaction between them and comparing them with human beings.

T.H.: Your latest novel, The Lamppost Diary was just released last week in London. What can you say about the process of writing that book?

A.J.H.: I wrote it over two years. I knew where to start and where to end—everything that came in between was spontaneous—snippets of a past turning into fiction. I decided to write it because there were many unusual incidents and events in the 40’s in Turkey, which were obscured by the government. I’ve lived these events but no one pays much attention to them; the majority of people don’t know anything about that. Armenians are busy to have the genocide recognized by Turkey but after that tragic period there were so many unjust, cruel incidents against the minorities of the new republic. If I wrote a documentary about that particular period only scholars, students, and interested parties would read them. So I fused these events into a narrative, a love story between Tomas and Anya.

T.H.: All of your novels feature a character named Tomas. Who is he?

A.J.H.: Tomas is a detective of my personality. He started as my Doubting Thomas in my first novel and I liked him. He represents my different facets. He is my friend, sometimes he is me, my ego, or my alter ego. . . He has become part of my family: a father, a brother, a cousin or close family friend. I don’t want to leave him out—I’m attached to him. He writes my novels for me and turns me into fiction.

Robert College, Istanbul

T.H.: Describe your early writing days. Who and what influenced you?

A.J.H.: I started writing poetry at 17. I was influenced by the contemporary Turkish writers at the time. I used to buy tons of poetry books for 10 cents each and collect them. These writers were older than me at the time and many turned out to become household names. The Armenian poet Zahrad really influenced me. At the beginning many didn’t believe what he wrote was poetry, but I did. My mother used to write poetry. Unfortunately I have lost her poems during my various moves. What really led me to write was my fabulous years at Robert College in Istanbul. I had two outstanding literature teachers—Professor Boyd, from Oxford, and Professor Child from New York. Professor Child conducted his classes from his home in Bebek, right next to campus. Every Wednesday a group of six of us would get together at his place to discuss books. Moris Farhi, The British-Turkish novelist and a dear friend was one of those students. We devoured all French, American, and British contemporary writers of the 40’s and 50’S. The most memorable years of my youth.


T.H.: You co-wrote your bestselling novel A Summer Without Dawn with Jean-Yves Soucy. How would you describe the experience of co-authoring a book?

A.J.H.: My publisher at Libre Expression, read my novel, The Battle of the Prophets and wanted me to write a long epic novel in French. Those were the Mitchner and Clavell years. I told him I could write it in English but he insisted to have it in French and suggested I collaborate with Jean-Yves Soucy, who had read the novel and liked it. The publisher explained that I could write my part, and Jean-Yves could collaborate by adding his part. At first he did not know very much about the Armenian-Turkish conflict and history but then he read a lot about the subject. I left him very free. I had never written anything with four hands. We wrote 800 pages and gave it to the publisher. The answer was no. We threw it in the garbage and I swore I’d never touch the subject again. Then Carole Levert, our editor, and guardian angel encouraged us to repeat the experience under her supervision. And we did. We finished the novel, and one week after its release it became a bestseller here in Quebec. Then it was sold to Presses de la Cité and France Loisirs in Paris and it also was a bestseller there. Now it’s been translated into eight languages and has come out in thirteen different editions. And from that time on Jean-Yves Soucy became my very good friend and a precious colleague. The reviews consider it the best novel on the subject and we can’t complain of course.


T.H.: What is the worse thing about being a writer?

A.J.H.: (After the first silence in our conversation.) No worst thing really about being a writer. Every profession has its drawbacks. Some people enter a profession because they have no choice. I had a choice, I was a professor. The hardest thing is dealing with the anxiety. There are three levels of anxiety: to satisfy yourself, to satisfy your editor, and to satisfy your reading public. Every profession comes with its set of worries. When a shopkeeper opens his store in the morning he wonders, will he sell three kilos of rice, or four kilos of lentils? Nobody becomes a novelist unless he or she wants to say something, to tell a story, share it with others hoping that it will interest them. If the novelist doesn’t have the strength to overcome difficulties and disappointments it’s better not to try. Every writer has a reader, himself/herself. He or she must first be satisfied himself/herself. The worst part for new writers is the insecurity. A new engineer knows he will be paid at the end of the week. But, in the beginning, to be a novelist is like gambling.

A. J. Hacikyan receiving the Tekeyan Cultural Award, Mount Stephen Club, Montreal, May 2009

T.H.: What is the best thing about being a writer?

A.J.H.: Writing has an absolute cathartic effect but that’s not why I write. I write for the reading public. The most satisfying thing about writing is when readers appreciate you and you begin to hear the echoes of what you have produced. If you like what you have produced it is the first essential satisfaction and reward. When the body is gone, hopefully the stories stay and the author becomes part of what perpetuates. Furthermore, writing helps others be entertained, to be educated, and provides them ideas to discuss, even if they disagree. The writer, like the artist, leaves behind an eternal shadow—a shadow that elongates him even in the dark.

I stepped out into the crisp September sun with “the brilliant writer and philologist,” as William Saroyan refers to him in a dedication in his novel, I Used to Believe I Had Forever, Now I’m Not So Sure. As I was pulling out of the driveway, my father stopped me and said, “I have written so many anthologies and translations, there are still many novels I want to write, and finish.” We said our goodbyes a second time and he walked, deep in thought, toward King George Park.

Thanks, Dad.

Talleen Hacikyan

Novels by Agop J. Hacikyan

The Lamppost Diary (2009)
Les rives du destin (2005)
A Summer Without Dawn (2000)
The Battle of the Prophets (1981)
Tomas (1970)

Woodcut and Linocut Workshop at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts


Last winter I taught a printmaking workshop at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the first time. Over the past 25 years I have had the opportunity to teach in many different settings to people of all ages. Each experience is unique. The museum has two studios, both pleasant to work in. There are no printing presses. This challenging detail prompted me to design classes that use hand-printing techniques. Since there isn’t a heavy-duty ventilation system, students print with water based printing inks, as opposed to the more toxic oil based variety. The printing techniques I teach at the museum can be used in a home setting. I love the idea that students can continue creating prints in their homes after the class is over.

Student work: monotype

Student work: monotype

I taught a monotype workshop at the museum to a full house of 20 students. The energy always flowed as students freed themselves with the experimental nature of the technique. There were several stunning prints at our in-class exhibit on the last day of the workshop.

In October I will have the pleasure of teaching a woodcut and linocut workshop, the first two techniques that turned me onto printmaking in Monique Charbonneau’s class at UQAM, in 1985.

Woodcut detail, Talleen Hacikyan

Linocut detail, Talleen Hacikyan


Our woodcut class was so popular last year
that we’ve decided to give it a new twist!
This introductory class in relief printmaking
using linoleum cut and woodcut techniques
will not only give you the opportunity to try
a fascinating medium, but also to create
your own sets of greeting cards using motifs
inspired by our encyclopedic collection.

Fridays, October 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30
1.30 to 4.30 p.m.

Instructor: Talleen Hacikyan,
printmaker and art educator

Cultural activities of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

The Yellow Door Poetry and Prose Reading

On Thursday evening I will be reading at the Yellow Door. For over forty years the Yellow Door coffehouse has been one of Montreal’s favorite acoustic music venues. It also features regular poetry and prose readings, hosted and produced by writer, Ilona Martonfi.

Performing at the Visual Arts Centre December 2008

When I was a McGill student in the early eighties, a fellow student took me to the Yellow Door’s basement café, not to eat, but to see the place and to point out the curious fact that clients washed their own dishes. I never ate or washed dishes at the Yellow Door but seven years ago, I started reading my fiction there. I have also performed my work at the Visual Arts Centre readings, also organized by Ilona.

I took my first creative writing workshop with Ilona. Shortly after that class I read a short piece one night at the Yellow Door during open mic. It was a heart-pounding, eye-opening experience. I discovered I enjoyed reading my work aloud in front of the public. There is a very particular atmosphere in that small, dim room, chock-a-block with lit fans, students, and writers. One night I read my work practically a foot away from none other than Booker Prize recipient, Yann Martel!

You don’t have to be a famous writer to attend. You are all officially invited to my next reading at the Yellow Door.

The Yellow Door
3625 Aylmer, Montreal (between Pine & Prince Arthur) Tel: 514-845-2600
Founder, producer/host Ilona Martonfi 514-939-4173

Thursday, August 27, 2009
Doors open 7:00 pm Reading 7:30 pm At the door $5

Poets, Prose Writers & Musicians featured:

Michael Mirolla recently published the novel Berlin. Another novel, and a brace of short fiction/poetry collections complete the picture.

Rana Bose Montreal poet, writer and engineer. His second novel, The Fourth Canvas has been published by TSAR, 2008.

Talleen Hacikyan Author and illustrator of the artist’s book, Postcards. Stories published in Ararat Quarterly and Room Magazine.

Denise Desautels GG Award (1992) winner will read from The Night Will Be Insistent (Guernica). English translation read by Antonio D’Alfonso.

Louise Dupré A major voice from Montreal reads from The Blueness of Light (Guernica) English translation read by Antonio D’Alfonso.

David Cavanagh A second book of poetry, Falling Body, (Salmon Poetry of Ireland, 2009.) Even the cross on Mount Royal gets into the act.

Jennifer Neri
The Mistake won second place award for 2008 QWF/CBC. Published in In Other Words. Broadcast on CBC radio.

Louise Dessertine began singing in Chœur Maha, joined cappella Ensemble Rubia, & discovered song-writing; performing compositions, solo.

Talleen Hacikyan


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