It’s day 2 of the workshop and things are going really well. I’ve been doing demonstrations in the morning for about 25 people and around 15 stay for the afternoon to try their hand at the different techniques. They are a mix of APS teachers, students, printers and other South African printers from Joberg and further afield, and academics from several universities. They include folks who have their own studios, or work at big ones like David Krut studio. There seems to be a real interest in learning safer etching and I am thrilled to be introducing some new methods to a very sophisticated group of printmakers. I’m especially excited that Diane Victor is taking the workshop. I’ve admired her work since I saw it in NY at the print fair years ago. She’s eager to learn safer techniques for her self and for the workshops she teaches occasionally. Today she was telling us about a workshop she did recently on the wild coast (a very rural part of the country) that was held outdoors and how the biggest challenge was keeping the monkeys out of the nitric acid baths! Now that’s a problem I’ve never encountered!
My favorite people by far are the eager students. These young artists are so excited about what they are learning. Yesterday I introduced 4 techniques and asked everyone to choose 1 to try on their own. Of course the young artists attempted to do as many as they could all at once. It’s hard to be disappointed with that kind of enthusiasm.
Even though we are only making test plates and learning technique, the skill level and imagery is so good. It’s really a joy to be in this community. Everyone is so supportive of one another and helps each other when I am busy. Today we had someone helping with the airbrush, someone else at the press, someone else at the ferric bath. I couldn’t cover half as much as I am without this kind of camaraderie and willingness to take care of one another. The studio has a guiding philosophy called Ubuntu, which is about creating a safe and supportive space for self-expression: a space that is respectful, empathetic, and nourishing for the well-being of the community. I really feel it here.
Tomorrow is the last day of the workshop and I imagine it will be a printing frenzy. I can hardly wait!