Crow’s Shadow Workshop 2014 (part 1)

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Since there is still a day-and-a-half of printmaking left, I’m assuming that I’ll end up posting about my visit again. I’m so glad I made sure to come down here again this year. While I was uncertain at first after two years of not creating any prints, it all came together and I’ve been making some new work that I’m really enjoying. But just the act of getting here is significant! Wednesday after work I stopped at home to pack and then left Seattle and drove to Yakima to spend the night with family. Then on Thursday morning, I drove another two+ hours to Pendleton. The landscape is so different here than what I’m used to back at home. There are mountains, but they’re closer and softer than the Cascade and Olympic ranges that I normally see. Things are flatter and vaster, and the sky is huge! Above is a photo I took arriving in Pendleton.

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Crow’s Shadow Institute is housed in what used to be the schoolhouse at St. Andrew’s Mission on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. A few miles east of Pendleton (which is already a small town) the location is extremely rural. One thing I love is the amount of mockingbirds I see flying around when I am approaching my destination. The photo above looks down the driveway leading to Crow’s Shadow and you can see the building to the right. The entrance shown is to the upstairs of the building, which is mainly used for storage nowadays.

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Inside, there is a gallery space with two movable walls. A selection of works from Crow’s Shadow’s permanent collection are on display and tables are currently set up for us to use during the workshop.

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Adjacent to the gallery is the printmaking studio, which includes two Takach presses and lots of space to accommodate multiple users. All of this is in the basement of the old schoolhouse. I’ve become so spoiled by working here that I’ve mainly given up on printmaking at home in Seattle!

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Frank Janzen is the man in charge! He is a Tamarind Master Printer and an amazing human being. A film crew stopped by briefly on Friday afternoon to get some shots of him doing a demo for the workshop. Apparently he’s being featured in a film being made that looks more closely at eastern Oregon–his part is obviously about the arts and culture scene. Here, he was showing some of his own personal prints he has been working on. He’ll have a couple of them included in an upcoming group show at Tacoma Art Museum this summer!

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Last night I spent a little time outside at dusk. It was great to watch the sky darken as more and more stars began to appear. I was thinking that I don’t do that enough at home, but there’s such a difference between being in the city (and I don’t just mean light pollution) versus being somewhere more rural. I don’t want to romanticize it, but the slower pace and natural surroundings really do change the way I interact with the world around me. That probably has just as much to do with why I love coming out here for the four-day workshop. I’m removed from my regular routine and able to focus on creating for an extended period of time. I love it!

I had visited in 2010 and 2011, but having missed the workshop for the past two years, I still showed up and found familiar faces from my last visits. It is such a warm and supportive environment in which to make art. I’m so happy that I found it! What is interesting on this visit is to reflect back on the person I was when I was here two and three years ago. I’ve gone through so much personal growth over that time that I feel like my experience of Crow’s Shadow this time is different, even as it feels so familiar. The work I’m producing also feels the same way. I’m still working with a lot of the same parameters as I have before, yet I feel that there is more freedom to my process on this visit. And more layers! I haven’t photographed any of my work yet, mainly because I’m still not sure which prints are really “finished.” More to come…

 

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