Printmaking mecca

I’ve waited three years to experience the wonders at Konstnärernas Kollektiva Grafikverkstad (KKV) in Malmö, Sweden. Although I was awarded an artist residency via Women’s Studio Workshop in 2019, the coronavirus interfered with me traveling to Malmö until, finally, this year. Now. For an entire month I’ll be printing an artist book at KKV.

Yesterday a KKV member named Sofie picked up my fellow resident artist Maggie Puckett and me at the train station and delivered us to this amazing facility that has printmaking equipment I’d never dared to dream of. We met several members, all kind, generous, knowledgeable and friendly. They all speak impeccable English. I know 8 Swedish words.

Maggie and I each have personal workspaces and full access to all of the printmaking equipment and supplies. Here’s my workspace on day 1. Note how clean and uncluttered it is.

Today – day 2 – a KKV member named Cecilia kindly introduced me to the lithographic equipment, supplies and printing process. We prepared a piece of mylar (clear plastic film) for drawing and painting images that will be exposed onto an aluminum plate. To prepare the mylar, we applied water and carborundum, a steel-colored grit. 

When I learned lithographic printing decades ago at Minneapolis College of Art & Design, I drew and painted directly on the aluminum plate. This process that Cecilia demonstrated has some unexpected advantages, and I discovered I am lacking some needed supplies. Tomorrow I will use a bike provided by KKV to ride to an art supply store for brushes, gouache and perhaps India ink. Cecilia returns to KKV on Thursday to see my progress, which means I have a lot of work to do tomorrow. Today I worked on sketches, searching for the right images to print. I’m not satisfied yet, but getting closer. 

Here is Cecilia, talking with another KKV member. Note! (OBS! in Swedish) the tray with a coffee pot and sugar in the middle of the large table. Yesterday we experienced “fika,” a delightful coffee break with a small group of artists. Strong coffee, tasty biscuits, sweet new friends. 

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