In rude health!
I’ve just returned from the annual meeting of the US Southern Graphics Council Conference – this year in Atlanta Georgia.
At jolly good it was too and tremendously encouraging.
Twenty five years ago, with justifiable fears of toxins and finger squashing methods (not to mention the high costs of plates, presses and materials) printmaking was a declining discipline. I recall visiting a Canadian University whose entire printmaking studio had been destroyed on health and safety grounds and in the misguided belief that ‘printmaking was dying anyway’!
How wrong they were and SGCI and the several thousand delegates (who could be identified around their city by their SGCI canvas bags and take-out coffee cups) prove that printmaking is not simply enjoying a reprieve but an entirely new lease of life.
I set up the Cranfield Caligo stand in the vendor’s hall of the Loewes Hotel alongside all manner of traditional and innovative suppliers, demonstrators and institutions. Over the two days of the fair, my colleague and I enjoyed many wonderful conversations with printmakers from across the US. Equally exciting and perhaps promoting even greater admiration were the conversations with delegates from poorer communities. A delegation from Lima, a party from a college in Mexico and a solitary representative from Ecuador! These visitors to the Caligo stand spoke of our inks being used on presses made from a car jack and ply wood or a clothes mangle given new life! Printmaking not from expensive copper plates but from municipal from drain covers as part of the Urban or Pirate printmaking.
Printmaking is undoubtedly changing, and the evolution is exciting. And it’s a privilege that we at Cranfield have played our part in providing non-toxic materials that contribute to a rather more certain future than I could have predicted 30 years ago!