Sunday, January 18, 2015

terri wheeler - kc printmaker

It's a challenge. It takes you outside of what you are normally going to do.    Terri Wheeler
Photo from previous print exchange.
There was this print exchange. And I was, I CAN DO that, I can do THAT!. And they had this theme, it was like "Just A Second." And so I was like, well, you can do JUST ABOUT ANYTHING with that!! I mean, that is, what is that? I mean, it took me longer to figure out the concept  (laughs) than what I am going to DO. So I did a LEAF that is FALLING. And it turned out really good.  Terri Wheeler
The submission deadline for "Print Exchange -
Just a Second" was December 15, 2014.
Double click images to enlarge.
Terri's print exchange entry, next.

falling by terri wheeler

After I started dating my boyfriend Oscar, he brought me on our first date, these really pretty yellow lillies. And I just loved them. It inspired me to do some drawings and then some prints.          Terri Wheeler
Above, hand-made folio
Next, a suite is a group of prints that go together.
Below, yellow lillies, three-color linocut, artist's proof.

Whether she does a linocut, a painting, or sculpture,
her image is found through drawing. Two minutes.

Ms. Wheeler walks me through her studio. 
She uses her sun porch for drawing overlays.
A block from 2010 reveals her layout execution. Many patient cuts.
Two blocks are used to produce one image.
Video runs two minutes. Click on

Ms. Wheeler and her expensive table top press. The advantage of a mechanical press over hand-burnishing is having impressions that are even and consistent. She knows what it is like to have burnished areas of the block with a doorknob. It can be difficult to get the right pressure over the whole plate. She uses felt blankets for her linoleum blocks. She likes the embossing that it produces.
She dries her prints on a clothesline she pins up within her space.
To bring the press up to their second story apartment, Wheeler and her boyfriend took the press apart, carried the pieces upstairs and re-assembled the press without instructions. Setting the pressure is different for each block, depending on the humidity, according to Wheeler. Video runs five minutes. Click on

Artists Terri Wheeler and Karl Marxhausen talk about the importance of setting a routine in the studio. Three minutes. Click on

"You HAVE TO SET that LITTLE ROUTINE. I'll come in, I'll sit down, either something will come to me or it won't, I'll think about something and sketch in my book, I'll paint on this or that, until something starts to click, and then by the time something has clicked it's already dark and I'll have been up here for several hours." Terri Wheeler

"It's also WITH EXPECTATION, you don't go up and say fatalistic: "I'm never going to get anything done. It's a waste of time, why am I even bothering?" Some days CAN be like that. But sometimes it's like I'm just HOPEFUL. I just think: "I'm just going to TRY."  Karl Marxhausen

"And I find, you know, it's just THE TRYING. Art is three letters, T - R - Y. Try. Try something." Karl Marxhausen

"Yep. Yep. EXPERIMENT. CREATE. Just DO IT. If it fails, you have learned know, it could be a happy accident. Like all of a sudden, it could be "WOW, OK, that really WORKS!!" Terri Wheeler
A suite of work. Video runs six minutes.
Her process, linked video runs ten minutes, click on

Wheeler is excited about the Sketchbook Project and Print Exchange. Video runs two minutes.
For more on this, click

A final word to fellow printmakers. One minute.
Don't give up. There is room for everybody. Terri Wheeler

Terri Wheeler is a member of the Kansas City Artists Coalition. Her print studio is in Kansas City, Missouri. Her website is
This interview took place Sunday, December 14, 2014.

(Sketchbook Project images, courtesy of Flickr,, accessed Jan. 4, 2015)