Sunday, February 17, 2013

One month down! Time truly flies...

I cant believe I've been here a month already! So far I have no complaints, Johannesburg has been great to me. I spent last weekend in Pretoria for the University's Rag fest. It was cool to get out of Joburg and meet some Pretorians. I bought a ticket to Ragfest not really knowing what it was but I'm glad I did as they sold out before we even went in. I got to see Jack Parow, if you havent heard of him check out the video:

BTW he's speaking Afrikans. Pretty silly, huh?

Almost finished with Kentridge's Universal Archive just three days at the beginning of the week of paper tearing, counting, numbering, and signing.

In preparation for printing Locust Jones' editions I spent a few days in paper tearing purgatory at the beginning of the week as well

On Tuesday Talya and I started proofing Locust's block with a Jaguar. We had to leave the print to dry overnight to be sure that it would dry the right color

Talya inking the huge linocut

The finished proof that will be printed this coming week

On Wednesday we began editioning two of Locust's smaller blocks. 

Talya printed the first layer of crackdown (on the right) and I got to print Rhinocut (left) if that's not the best title of a linocut print I don't know what is. I giggled about it like a five year old the whole day. 

The faces of pure concentration

The composite roller they have is heavy for its size but it was great to work with such a nicely cared for roller.

Another one of Locusts images that we proofed 

On Wednesday we had a BBC film crew come in to film the shop. Its for a three part series documenting Contemporary African Art. Should be interesting and I may or may not be in it (in the background hahahaha)

William Kentridge was in the shop on Wednesday and Thursday signing what we had prepared of the Universal Archive

He also had a few pages to tear and put back together

Friday was a great day of working with Talya and Stephen Hobbs. Stephen has a couple of images to finish up before we start editioning them in the next couple of weeks. We also discussed the pop up book and I went home with a new pop up mission. 
Friday was also Talya's birthday! Se we had a little celebration in the morning. 

Saturday, Jill took me around Joburg to see some shops and galleries. I also met Lisa Jaffe, a friend of Jill and the owner of Guillotine Design. Her clothes are absolutely impeccable! I'm so impressed with the designers I've seen here so far, the style is so unique and interesting. Black Coffee is another really cool designer boutique with some sweet looking clothes. Later on in the day we hopped on a van to the Nirox Foundation about an hour outside of the city, near the Cradle of Humanity. They were having an event for Dineo Sheeshee Bopape as she was concluding her residency at Nirox. The main event was a screening of her film that she had worked on while at Nirox. 

Nirox Residence. This is where Dineo stayed during her residency. 

Nirox is on a huge property that is occupied by different game animals that can be seen sometimes wandering about on the property (usually in the mornings though)

There are lots of ponds, streams, bridges, and waterfalls on the property. It was great to get out of the city for an evening and soak in some nature

Until next week...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Week 2 has come and gone

A view from the porch at Annabelle's front porch. This has been y favorite spot to lounge after work and read a book.

This week has flown by; the fact that its Tuesday night already mystifies me. After the fantastic visit to Calrose Typesetters last week I have continued to have great experiences and meet great people. On Saturday Jan 26 I walked down the hill to the zoo, unfortunately I forgot sunscreen and suffered the consequences of the South African sun. 

When I first arrived at the zoo at 9am the light was just to die for.

The lions, tigers, bears, zebras and elephants were all going about their lazy summer morning routines.

The brown bears kept it super easy and napped in the shade.

After an hour of aimless wandering throughout the park, partially due to my inability to read the map because of a confusion as to which entrance I came in, I came across the two seemingly unluckiest folks on the lot. The Johannesburg Zoo is the only zoo in Africa that has polar bears. If you think about it Johannesburg is about as far from the equator as New York and these polar bears are both older than me so maybe its not as bad as it seems. Standing there in the summer heat and watching them wait for the zookeeper to toss in a couple of chunks of ice with fish, kibble, and a chicken frozen in it, I couldn't help but imagine what these bears think of the situation they have found themselves in. 

Sunday, I was at the Arts on Main location helping Talya print two intaglio editions for an artist names Tegan. While I was there I met Jack Ginsberg, South Africa's main collector of artists books, and Alan Jeffrey who works at the Brenthurst Library ( Its absolutely amazing to me how serendipitous everything surrounding this trip has been, two very important and useful figures for me to meet just so happen to wander in to DKW while I was there on the weekend. 

Alan invited me to come by on Tuesday and see the Brenthurst Library which is an elegant building on a hillside near Annabelle's house that was founded by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. Alan showed me around his beautiful book restoration/conservation/binding room, the main library, the art collection, and Sir Oppenheimer's private study which contained some absolutely incredible examples of gold tooling, leather box making containing first editions of European romantic poets, and handwritten letters between important historical figures such as Lord Byron! Alan also gave me some great advice and great leads on where to buy book making supplies in Johannesburg. 

The focus of the week was preparing for the upcoming bookmaking workshop which was to be held on Saturday at the Arts on Main location and working with Kate McCrickard, our artist in residence who resides in Paris and who also used to run the David Krut Gallery in New York City. She is a painter and printmaker working on a new body of work for an upcoming show in March. She worked on creating two suites of etchings and a whole bunch of monotypes. It was amazing to see the way her work progressed as the week went on. She was fearless when it came to making new marks and the vibe of the shop while she was in it buzzed with energy without any anxiousness. I learned how to put steel facing on copper plates and put my skills to the test with a couple of Kate's plates. I also assisted Jill, Mlungise and Talya in proofing the etchings and printing the monotypes. 

A few of Kate's many plates after they've been steel faced

Kate burnishing a plate

Belgian Lace Binding or Secret Belgian Binding

Saturday came and the bookmaking workshop went swimmingly. We had five participants at first then four more walked in around 10:30am so we prepared more paper and caught them up. Our group included DKW artists, DKW staff and interns. We kept the first class in house so that it could function as a trial run. I had already taught Siphiwe and Chad how to make the structure while I was making the example book (pictured above) on Wednesday. Chad could then assist me in teaching the workshop on Saturday. 

Demonstrating to the class how to place the end paper once the cover board has been covered with decorative paper

Covering the spine pieces with decorative paper

Teaching the Frank Mowery trick of folding over the short side of the decorative paper

Robyn Penn and her daughter Mia giggling about the spine piece

Demonstrating proper paper punching posture and hand postioning

Senzo Shabangu and I, with Chad in the background, making sure that all the holes are straight

Senzo and Kate Vota sewing their covers with the utmost attention to detail

We managed to make a bit of a mess...

But the books came out lovely!

Today was Kate's last day in the shop so it was a bit of a scramble to make sure that all the plates were ready to go for the editioning process. We did have some lovely cake and tea to celebrate a successful collaboration but it was brief to ensure maximum working and perfecting time. 

Kate and Jill preparing a large monotype to go through the press

One of the last prints that Kate made. It's a good summation of the feeling of all of us after her residency, exhausted! I cant wait to see images of her show all hung up in New York and I look forward to editioning the plates she made with us this week. 

Oh and one last thing, CONGRATS RAVENS! CAW! CAW!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Made it to Joburg!

I got in Saturday evening. Jill Ross was so kind to pick me up from the airport and put me up for a couple of days. Sunday, Jill, Kate (also a new to David Krut Projects) and I went on a tour to see works public works done by Hannelie Coetzee. This lead us into an amazing abandoned post office, a huge building in downtown Joburg that burned down in 1998. They've begun to reconstruct it and it is destined to become the new mayor's office. 

 On Sunday I also ran into a familiar face. This mural of Jan Van Riebeck was painted by none of than Gaia.

Monday was spent orienting myself to the DKP Arts on Main location in the Maboneng Precinct. I made myself useful when possible but spent most of the day sponging up as much as I could about the work being made there, where everything goes and how the workflow runs. 
Tuesday was great, I spent a good chuck of the day handling William Kentridge prints. He came into the workshop to sign the finished editions and I was able to introduce myself. I couldn't help but be a bit starstruck. David invited us to go along to see William's studio and check out the sculptures he is working on at the moment that will soon be cast in bronze.

Assembling prints

Some assembled and signed prints

Mlungisi brought over some finished prints to dry and be assembled.

One quarter of the workshop (interior spaces are hard to photograph without a ladder, no?)

And today, I assisted Talya in proofing plates to be editioned (we hit just about every possible printmaking speedbump) 
In the afternoon Talya took me to see a closed down letterpress shop called Calrose Typesetters. The shop suffered burglaries that left them without any matrixes for their Ludlow, Intertype and Monotype machines. Jill, Talya and I ae rallying David to purchase the shop however it is unlikely that DKP will save the type-producing machines and will rather stick to saving the type and the Vandercook SP15 that are cooped up in the shop. Who knows where the wind blows...

Always nice to see a familiar face

Intertype machines, though fascinating are hard to save because they are complicated and heavy pieces of machinery that very few people know how to use or have the need to use. Its a sad story. If you're interested at all you should check out the documentary about Linotype machines called Linotype The Film

They have twin Monotype machines in a little room with a big window

Ways to tell that letterpress was a man's world: Wall of Boobs