Studio Update: Internet Detox + Printshop Visit in Frankfurt + New Linocut

Wow, it has been a long time since my last post! Truthfully, I have backed off of the internet  in kind of a personal growth experiment after reading this article in the New York Times. I decided to do a digital detox myself, just to see if I could do it. My main goal was to stay off of Facebook for a month. Facebook is my biggest addiction and, like many people, I find myself spending way too much time on it, even when I just intend to “check in.” The other thing I notice about Facebook is that I’m not very “present” when I am out doing fun stuff. I am endlessly wondering how to report back with a picture or status update. On days when not much is happening, I felt pressured to invent something. (I think this is how a lot of unworthy food pictures end up in newsfeeds.)

So, I took the challenge, and found that when I got off of Facebook, I also easily backed off of everything else. After checking my email and looking at the news, there wasn’t much else to look at, so I would move on and get started with my day. This led to some pretty boring mornings, when I would drink my coffee and just sit and stare. Yes, that’s right. Eventually, though, I found myself doing yoga every morning and even reading books in the morning, rather than getting online.

Now that my detox is over, I find that I don’t even feel like getting on Facebook or any other social media site. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing pictures of my friends’ lives, especially news about babies and kids. I also love to see pictures posted by artist friends of work in progress. I also think Facebook is a great way to share and discover information. However, I also found that, after a month away, I didn’t miss a whole lot. The posts were pretty much the same, the memes have just moved on to other hot topics – Russia and Putin instead of, well, whatever came before that.

So, I challenge you, dear reader. Try this detox exercise for yourself and see if it leaves you a little more centered and grounded. It certainly did me.

So, on to my latest artsy news….

Yesterday, I had the tremendous fortune to visit an old-school printer’s studio in the Frankfurt area, thanks to my good friend, Astrid Haas.  Our friend, Bernard at Drucken+Lernen, took us through the history of printmaking from the days of the first movable type printing in Korea, to Johannes Gutenberg, who perfected the printing press, to the different techniques still used today, even in the age of computers and sophisticated graphic design software. It was a little tough keeping up because most of the presentation was in German. I was impressed with myself for even getting the jist… I guess those German classes are paying off!

Here’s a tour:

Trappings and tools of printmaking techniques, including a lithograph stone and a woodcut.
Trappings and tools of printmaking techniques, including a lithograph stone and a woodcut.
Such an amazing place.
Such an amazing place.
Etching plates. This type of printing involves drawing in wax on a metal plate. Then, acid is used to cut into the metal and create an indelible image with which to print.
Etching plates. This type of printing involves drawing in wax on a metal plate. Then, acid is used to cut into the metal and create an indelible image with which to print.
A Gutenberg-style press. The handheld-lever made  printing easier than older wheel cranking presses. However, because it printed one sheet at a time manually, the text was often off-center from page to page and on either side of a page.
A Gutenberg-style press. The handheld-lever made printing easier than wheel cranking presses. However, because it printed one sheet at a time manually, the text was often off-center from page to page and on either side of a page.
Bernard, showing us a little model of the Gutenberg press.
Bernard, showing us a little model of the Gutenberg press.
A modern press, the newest technology in the shop, sitting right next to some of the oldest technologies.
A large letter press machine. (Much bigger than my wee one). That is a linocut print on it.
A linotype machine from the 1970s. This fascinating machine used to be the industry standard for printing newspapers. It gets its name from the fact that it can instantly produce an entire line of metal type. And it is literally "type." The line is produced from a typewriter attached to it.
A linotype machine from the 1970s. This fascinating machine used to be the industry standard for printing newspapers. It gets its name from the fact that it can instantly produce an entire line of metal type. And it is literally “type.” The line is produced from a typewriter attached to it.

This visit got me even more excited about my new print project. Remember how I was talking about doing a series of linocut prints commemorating the six beverages that changed the world?

I’ve moved onto beer! And it is my most ambitious print yet! It will be a three-colored print with two plates and one of the plates will be a reduction print. I am still in the carving stage so this is just a sneak peek, but you can get the idea. I hope to start printing this week.

The quote I used for this print is from Ray Bradbury: “Beer’s intellectual. What a shame so many idiots drink it.”

The sketch and the tracing paper I used to create the design.
The sketch and the tracing paper I used to create the design.

The carving:

BeerLinocut-HeatherKerley

BeerLinocut-HeatherKerleyBeerLinocut-HeatherkerleyBeer Linocut-HeatherKerleyBeerLinocut-HeatherKerley

… and, that’s about all for now, folks. Thanks for reading! I have a series of new paintings and ideas cooking and in the works so definitely stay tuned this spring for my new work.

Also, be sure to catch my next travelog about Ghent, Belgium where I got to see the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, the greatest painting to come out of the Northern Renaissance.

Tchüss!!

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4 thoughts on “Studio Update: Internet Detox + Printshop Visit in Frankfurt + New Linocut

  1. I can totally relate to the time-waste that Facebook becomes! It was great in Iceland to just decide to worry about all the posts and pictures later. Definitely on to something with the digital detox–let’s see if I have the courage to commit to it! Great post.

    1. You can do it! I thought it would be hard at first, but it wasn’t all that bad and now I’m much less interested in Facebook in general. I suppose that might put a dint in my social media marketing efforts, but I think it’s worth it to have the time for other, healthier pursuits.

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