Book Arts Residency Update

July 26, 2015

After a full week in the studio, Cat Snapp and I are well on our way to finishing the printing of our book pages. The next part of our efforts will include checking all pages for accuracy and quality, making sure that anything I hand-typed is correct and lines up as it should with its corresponding page. After this, we will begin to build the book block by folding and sewing our pages together in the correct order, then trimming off the excess edges.

After this we will glue in the body of the book to its front and back cover, including end sheets. This will be a long process as we will have to wait for glue to dry and will have to press the books with weights to secure and ensure the craft of the process. I am excited to see it all come together and can't wait to hold it in my hands.

checking the mockup against a stack of prints before typing the last line of text

Today in the studio, I will be typing the colophon. Thirty-five times. I think I'll need to eat a good breakfast.

Residency and Book Progress

July 19, 2015

The time has finally come for Cat and I to print our book! We have been communicating back and forth for almost a year using e-mail, Skype, Dropbox, and packages sent back and forth to one another in order to get ready for this. To finally be in the same place has been well worth the effort. Our thoughts and work together are uniting and it is a joy to see the book finally coming into its own, bit by bit.

working on book text and imagery for the mock up

We are just starting this journey, as we will begin printing our imagery on Monday in the shop. We have a ways to go, but with our residency at the Southwest School of Art Book and Paper Arts Studio, we have plenty of space to work and options to pursue to get our book to its final, best form. I think I speak for both of us when I say that we are excited to see how it turns out. So far, it has all been dreams and drawings, typed text and journal entries to one another. It is going to be fabulous to smell the ink, to fold the pages, and to sew the bindings. Pulling a physical form out of every idea that has been our shared goal will be satisfying.

Printmaking Video

May 28, 2015

I recently created a quick video that documents how I make a print, from etching to mixing ink to printing. It's a very shortened version of the process, but if you've ever wondered what the printing side of the creation of original prints looks like, here is a quick peek into how I work. Enjoy!

Two Minute Printmaking from Nicole Geary on Vimeo.

Spinning plates

April 25, 2015

Though I should be doing several other things right now, including packing up my jeep and at least grabbing a quick shower, it occurred to me that the mess on my desk was indicative of the quick changes I'm performing recently. I try to take in a lot of imagery from texts, galleries, instagrams, student work, graffiti, diagrams - it all gets shoved down into the semiconscious world of what drives me to make images. It is very inspiring to see artists posting their work, but today I want to share with you the humdrum and gear grinding that goes into making.

April's tasks

Getting to the point where I can create means that I have to participate in a lot of other activities first, including teaching. I've been really focused on the last few weeks of the semester, including grading papers and working on a final exam. It may seem monotonous to anyone who doesn't teach or doesn't like to teach, but it really gets me passionate and excited about the content, so I have to admit that I enjoy it, even if it cuts into my studio time. I'm also planning for this summer's round of printmaking classes at the Southwest School of Art, which I'm really looking forward to as the end of spring nears. I'm working on the application for the Intersecting Methods portfolio, and I'm also stuck to computer trying to get some work done for my ArtistLab residency. We have been working on organizing our financials, which will be a great help for next year's taxes. Finally, my Makerbot's extruder seems to have failed, so experiments are on hold until the replacement arrives. Though this is just a fact that I have to deal with, I can't help but feel sad about the hiccup in my workflow.

Thanks for reading about some of the things I do in order to make my work. I tend to spin a lot of plates.

Post-SGC Round-up

April 14, 2015

This year at SGCI Knoxville was a real treat, and I am happy to say that after a full month of being home, I have finally recovered and (I think) caught up on my e-mails and connections. The urge to make prints when at a conference like SGC is always present, and I come home filled with ideas, inspiration, and my sketchbook full of new avenues to explore. I'm happy to say that I've started learning to design objects for my new 3-D printer, and am excitedly testing models, at least in the theoretical realm.

first model design - will it print?

Thanks to my friend Dinah, I've got a couple of photos of the panel that I chaired and presented at for the conference. Meeting Shawn Bitters, Laura Moriarty, and Dr. Amanda Thomson was a truly enlightening experience and I can't say enough wonderful things about their work and their great personalities. I feel like this spring I have been very blessed to be able to work with such talented people, and that includes my students and colleagues! The prints that are being generated in my printmaking classes at Southwest School of Art and St. Philip's College have been spectacular this year.

Printmakers and Geologies panel at SGC

Romantic Writings

February 26, 2015

If you have been following my writing for the NASSR Graduate Student Caucus, I've posted on the blog this week. This new writing, entitled Geology, The Sleeping Giant, is a small, train-of-thought type of post which follows some of my research into the relationship of printmaking and humans to geology, and the ways I may have been overlooking rather important connections in my work only because they didn't seem like the work of a "printmaker."

Some of these ideas may make their way into my opening remarks at next month's SGCI panel, however I am more likely to use this a reflective exercise before working on a more broad approach to the overlapping ideas and themes that emerge from the group. All four of us use rocks and landscapes as a starting point for more significant and interesting work, and some of that work isn't even printmaking! I have been shadowed by these old-fashioned terms for so long and only now, at the age of 33, can I see past the traditions that drew me into it. The structure and the rules and the beautiful cleanliness of it all were some of the characteristics that printmaking had in common with the scientific method. I now know why there was a comfort in that, but art is not science. Printmaking is no longer defined by these old tenants.

antique copper engraving, published circa 1803

If you happen to like reading my post, please explore the writing of the other researchers and graduate students on the blog. There are wonderful, enlightening, and very interesting articles on the topics of Romanticism, scholarship, printmaking (especially Blake), and the intersections of science and art. As a guest visual artist on the blog, I'm happy to also be joined by guest poet Melissa Walter this year.

February Events and Updates

February 21, 2015

I just finished my second year of showing at Flatbed Press's Contemporary Print Fair, and it was wonderful. The chance to share work alongside other amazing regional printmakers and friends is always a gift and a rewarding experience. I had a blast meeting people, seeing other people's prints, and representing the Southwest School of Art with my friend, Dinah Coakley.

Dinah Coakley and I at our table at Contemporary Print Fair

Secondly, if you are attending this year's SGCI in Knoxville, there will be a great chance to hear how I research my work and what inspires it at the panel At the Core: Printmakers and Geologies which takes place on Saturday, March 21. I am looking forward to this year's conference as it will include not only several stimulating academic discussions but also lots of printmaking events, gallery openings, and open portfolios. SGCI is truly one of my favorite things to do and I'm always glad when I get a chance to contribute to it.

Finally, if you're keeping up with me on Twitter or know me personally, you've probably read that, through the generous support of the Surdna Foundation at Artist Lab, I have aquired a Makerbot Replicator Mini. This one tool will not only enhance how I work in the studio, it will create opportunities for me to think about my prints in new and completely different ways than before. For now, I have so many ideas and a bit of a learning curve, so I'll save you all the excited posts of messed up pieces of plastic. I think this really bodes well for future capabilities for me and my ideas about the blending of sculpture and print.

screengrab from Makerbot's first print run

Book Collaboration with Artist Cat Snapp

January 15, 2015

Cat making edits and notes on final drawings

At the very end of 2014, I had the chance to spend all day in the studio working on a project with my friend, Cat Snapp. Over the course of a few months of sharing Dropbox files and e-mails back and forth, we developed the idea of writing, drawing, and sharing work that will someday become an editioned artist book. Two weeks ago, Cat and her husband Mike had the opportunity to come through Texas on a trip to see family and spend an extra day just on studio time for our book project.

working on drawings together in my studio in San Antonio, Texas

My day with Cat was really invigorating and helped me see how time-focused one has to be in order to make successful work. When creating with a partner on drawings and goals, it was gratifying to have instant feedback on choices ranging from paper samples to what direction a drawing needed to go in order to make the cut. I found that the weaknesses I had were some of Cat's strengths, and in the wonderful symbiosis of teamwork on projects with other artists, I discovered more of my own voice and felt great being able to utilize it with a trusted friend. So much development happened in only one day that I can't wait to see what comes of our efforts when we get this book onto a press.

More to come as we keep going forward.

I'll only come to regret all the art I didn't make.

December 9, 2014

installing work at the Guadalupe

Today was install day for our group show at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. I've been trying to document my working process with photos and some writing, but sometimes things come on quickly and I will write them or do them as soon as I can - after teaching or when I get home from work - or sometimes as soon as I wake up and remember what it was that seemed like such a great idea. I've started keeping a small sketchbook next to my bed, so that when I awake from these dreams that appear to have so much weight and meaning, I can write them quickly. It seems sometimes like art should be a reflex; to make something as fast as it comes to me, and stop fooling around with all this overanalyzing.

Anyway, please do come and see my new work. I'd really like it if you wanna discuss all the rationale with me.

December Exhibition

November 28, 2014

Our first exhibition as a group is coming soon. Fernando Andrade, Kim Bishop, Daniela Riojas, Luis Valderas, and I will present our latest work with the Artist Lab during the month of December.

Artist Lab: Inaugural Exhibition
Friday, December 12, 2014
6-9 p.m. Museo Guadalupe


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