23 April 2011

earth day prints

Today I volunteered at the San Francisco Center for the Book's Earth Day celebration. It was a cozy, low-key event with lots of free activities to introduce people to printing, book-binding, collage, etc. I thought the fair was going to be outside, like Roadworks, so I panicked a little when I got there and didn't see the street closed off. But when I got to the front of the building, a sign reassured me I was there on the right day: Free Squid Printing on Saturday!

Some cute letter pressed bookmarks were made for Earth Day and free to attendees.

Inside, I checked out the other booths before starting to work at mine (veggie printing). I went to see the main attraction first and found two large squid sitting quietly on the tables. One looked at me with a reproachful eye and seemed as though it might be alive ~ although at the same time it appeared too eerily calm for that to be true.

A volunteer was rolling ink all over the other squid. I felt a bit sorry to see them like that, but someone explained that the squid are donated to an educational science group by fishermen who accidentally catch them in their nets. The squid are frozen and then donated to schools for educational purposes or community groups like SFCB for making prints. I felt slightly better knowing that they hadn't been killed just for us. Now they would transcend death to become works of art... still, it was hard to escape their mournful eyes. I've printed with tiny squid before and didn't feel too bad or squeamish, but these large ones seemed to have a lot of personality. They did make grand prints, though:

Immortalized in ink.

Next I visited a postcard station where I ran a letterpress fish print, then drew on it some more and added collage to make a fine little card for Senator Feinstein to thank her for her earth-friendly actions and votes. Hope she likes it.

SFCB provided the stamp, address and everything ~ thanks!

Then it was time to report to my veggie-print-a-greeting-card station. It was pretty busy the whole day. We had potatoes, yams, carrots and onions for printing and used Speedball washable ink. Here's one made with potatoes and onions:

The dolphin shape is achieved by using a cookie cutter to cut the potato.

My favorite vegetable for printing turned out to be the onion because of its versatility and delicate effect. The concentric circles can be taken apart or stamped together and the texture of each ring can show through if the ink is not applied too thickly.

I had a great time at my booth and met lots of creative people.

At the end of the day I managed to bind a mini-booklet at another booth and had a brief opportunity to admire the items for sale by Maiden Hand and Gold Rush Press. I've come home with lots of printed goodies that I'm planning to start including in some of my mail art packages so I can share the bounty!


SaylorMade said...

I had never heard of squid printing before. In your tweets I thought you were using a squid as a reference... not as a stamp. I would have felt sad as well, but I'm glad to hear it was a recycle, as such, from the fishermen.

The onion does print really nicely! Delicate and organic. Lovely.

Skybridge Studios said...

Agree, it's sad to see squid that way. I've seen prints that people have made of fish, too.

Looks like a great time and I hope to get out to SF one of these days soon!

kimi said...

Hi Jeannine ~ Yes, I was a little shocked when I saw how large (and dead) the squid were. Somehow I'd imagined them swimming in a tank and had some fanciful idea that there was a way to print with their squid ink or that they'd lend a tentacle?

So I was quite relieved to be working the veggie booth instead of the squid station! I thought of your work when I saw the onion results. Would love to see what you make if you try it!

kimi said...

Hello Skybridge Studios ~ Am I talking to Lisa? It's nice to meet you! I'm loving your mail art blog with all the submissions from around the world. I'll have to leave some comments on my favorites when I have some free time. So many have great composition and/or texture.

I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels for the squid. For many people, the squid printing was very exciting and was the highlight of the fair. While I agree it was impressive, I personally preferred the other activities. :)

rica said...

i remember as a kid okra was my favorite veggie to make prints with, they make flowery shaped circle prints :)

kimi said...

Okra! What a great idea! I'm going to have to start a veggie garden just for printing. I bet bell peppers would give some nice curves, too.