Global Implications: Southern Graphics Council Conference 2009
Early last Wednesday morning, Crown Point master printer Emily York, and I headed out to the airport to catch our flight to Chicago for the annual Southern Graphics Council conference. This year’s theme was global implications, and Kathan Brown, founding director of Crown Point Press, had been invited to give a keynote address. The talk, “Go with All Your Heart”, was given on the first morning of the conference, to a full-house at the Hilton Hotel’s ballroom, and it was about Kathan’s travels with artists to China and Japan during the Press’ woodcut projects, and to the island of Ponape, where artists’ talks were recorded (and which later became a three-record set, Vision 4: Word of Mouth, published by Crown Point.) Kathan’s talk was a success, with many conference participants remarking on it throughout the next few days.
At each SGC conference, Crown Point sets up a booth during the Product Fair, to promote the Press and our summer workshops, and to sell books which include our Magical Secrets series, and printmaking supplies. This time around we debuted the most recent addition to the Magical Secrets series, Magical Secrets about Chine Collé, by Brian Shure. Brian is a former Crown Point printer, and luckily for us, he was attending the conference to be part of a panel discussion, so we were able to have him hang around the booth to take Q & A’s about his new book, and to help Emily out with her chine collé demonstration, which was being presented during one day of the conference.
Emily and Brian’s chine collé demonstrations were a highlight, in addition to Kathan’s keynote talk. Originally there were two demos scheduled, but the demand was so great that Emily had to add a third, though abbreviated, demo. She worked tremendously hard that day, talking and printing and collé-ing to an audience of over three hundred people, for five hours (nearly straight!) I held down the booth at the Product Fair, selling books and supplies, and meeting new and interesting printmakers from all over the country. During these conferences, it is invigorating to be surrounded by so many who are devoted to, and passionate about, printmaking, and it is always wonderful to be reminded of how many people there are out in the world who love etching as much as we do here at Crown Point.
Emily came and helped out at the booth on the second day of the Product Fair. She is a great help, and fun to be with. During our nights out, we explored a bit of Chicago, visiting the neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, and Lincoln Park. One day, the sunniest and warmest, I was able to visit the Art Institute, and to see the amazingly blue Lake Michigan. We were staying at the Hilton on Michigan Avenue, so were lucky to have the park in front of us, and we caught a glimpse of Agora, Magdalena Abakanowicz’s sculpture, (once at night, the other time layered in snow!) Unfortunately, we missed seeing Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor’s sculpture in Millennium Park, because of our ignorance to the proximity of it!
The last day, Sunday, our travel day, it snowed. There was a funny sort of marathon out on the avenue, people running in the cold, wet slosh of snow, their legs burning red in the cold. We marveled at their endurance and commitment. I suppose one could say the same sort of thing about printmakers and the process of printmaking: it does take commitment, and endurance of mind and body to succeed.