Sunday, December 2, 2018

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)

Monday, November 12, 2018

letter press studios crawl - kc

Food brings us together. Eighteen of us start our letterpress excursion with brunch upstairs above the Blue Bird Bistro on Summit (left) At one table a member ponders which future prints he will purchase for the dining room at JUCO. Another member talks about the Photoshop class she is taking. Her art making has been in studio spaces away from her home. Now she wants to combine her art training in one location at home on her computer with her photographs.                  One member tells about her art students squeezing clay with their hands. In the next room new members chat with others who love ink on paper. The program director lays out the itinerary. We exit to our cars and begin across the river. Our first stop is the Print Factory, 738 Armstrong Avenue, in Kansas City, KANSAS (below, left) Craft & Concept.(double click on images to enlarge) Jan and Karl Marxhausen (above right)

      From the street level, we climb a flight of wooden steps to the large studio level. We listen to Jesse Mc Afee. He believes that the printing press helped build the middle class and made education possible for those who were able to access it. The Print Factory funds itself by building printing presses for artists and print shops, as well as backpack proof presses. (For more on Self Contained Outdoor Printing Equipment, click and (courtesy of Craft and Concept, accessed Oct 13, 2013)
Cast type letters set in tray (BELOW), when rolled with ink, makes impression (ABOVE)
     The Nelson Atkins Museum has paid them come in to do thematic workshops. Last year participants created prints for the Day of the Dead celebration at the Nelson, through the live demos by the Print Factory. 

"Recently, we've been making wooden type. You will see some examples on the table, along with artist blocks and plates, to help fund ourselves and make on-site demonstrations possible. (To help people to look at a movable type printing press) and understand that THIS WAS HOW NEWSPAPERS USED TO HAVE TO BE PRINTED EVERY DAY. I think it is something that has been lost. To think about a whole newspaper, every twenty-four hours, being printed in this manner. The way information was been distributed.... When we set up at the Nelson, we tie clothes lines to whatever we can and that kind of became the drying racks. There is wax paper that people can use to make an envelope with to take their print home. On the back of each print there is a stamp that has the artist's name. And they can go to our website, Craft and Concept, and find out more about that artist."    Jesse Mc Afee

I think that what the Print Factory is doing is very exciting, in that their mission includes bringing printing to the people --- whether in the form of building backpack presses, travelling to do on-site printing, or their efforts to get kids excited about printing.  Paul Sokoloff

Print Factory artist, David Grime from South Carolina, discusses the control he has working with zinc when etching. When he engraves he prefers to use copper. Aluminum holds up better for doing a series of prints. Blue and orange stripes on top are done with a mylar transparency, after the etched plate has been inked and wiped, prior to printing. Print Society members look at prints from his flat file. Lithographs done in Tasmania by a friend of his. One is a a large drypoint and an etching. His friend Will Burnip was influenced by Whistler, says Grime. 

We trek from the Kansas side of the river to the Missouri side in Mid town. The caravan parks and we walk a city block to 3121 Gillham Road.  Music greets us as we enter the renovated office space.

     With training from the Kansas City Art Institute and experience from working at Hammarpress, Michelle Dreher began her studio in the West Bottoms in a Warehouse Loft. She had room there to acquire the equipment she needed. Two years ago her sister and her purchased an office building. They stepped away from the Crossroads area to a place that has potential. This area is being revitalized.

    She likes the idea of becoming an anchor to a community. They gutted the entire building and started over. The second floor is being converted to an apartment. Most of their efforts are going towards that. By next fall they are planning a grand opening, a store front space, window displays, a studio, a wood shop. The final goal is to have workshops there. She also teaches part time at the Nelson doing workshops. She want to bring that over to her studio. Four minutes.
Flying saucer abducting cows, four color block print, linocut letterpress, now in Etsy shop

The Dreher sisters in action making linocut designs, click
(courtesy of Blue Coffee Pictures, accessed Oct 25, 2013)

More of their studio history, click

The proof presses used by Two Tone Press are named after 80s rock stars. Such as, Bowie (her favourite), Lennox, Boss, and Lauper. Michelle Dreher explains the role of the machine to members of the Nelson Atkins Print Society  Six minutes.

Michelle likes to convert hand drawn elements into carved blocks. Above,
linocut blocks used for poster for Nelson Atkins museum event.

Cast iron presses are both strong and fragile at the same time, explains Michelle Dreher. She uses her clam-shell platen for die cutting and         scoring. Networks help keep her hundred year old machine in shape.    Two minutes.

Michelle can usually figure out what is going on with her clam-shell platen. Parts are available for her Vandercook proof presses through NA Graphic in Colorado. The clam-shell platen is simple in design and easier to fix. 1 minute.
Follow the sisters at 

It is so wonderful to see and meet these young artists who are taking control of their lives and careers in such meaningful and productive ways. It is a fantastic endorsement for their mentor the KC Art Institute as well.    david n roxie mc gee

      Down Linwood and right on Troost, at 3319 Troost we find Winka Press and the Telephonebooth Gallery, run by Cecilia Bakker (CB) and Tim Brown (TB). We step into an intimate gallery to find walls covered with the huge graphite drawings of Russell Fergason (next image).

Bakker was a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, from the printmaking department in 2002, and has worked for Mike Sims at the Lawrence Lithography Workshop for two years.  From that experience the two of them do editions for artists on their letterpress equipment.
Artistic development is a different mind set which Winka Press prides itself in. It sees its contribution as a hybrid one. Something that artists would be drawn to. An advocate for the inked impression both printer and artist seek to achieve.    Tim Brown

Tim Brown and Cecilia Bakker discuss their role when working with artists. Four minutes.
TB:  As a part of building artist careers, it is useful to have the ability to do an edition using our press. 
CB: We mostly do relief printing.
TB: Just a part of working with the gallery, there is development process when an artist does an edition. It is a lot different from doing a commercial job. Professional designers usually are very clear about what they want. And that is a very different kind of conversation than when an artist has an image and they are not really sure how to get to an end to it. Usually there is a lot of proofing, a lot of looking at color, and all of that changes the image. So, realistically that is a much longer development process.

TB: So, it's not about cash and trying to make money quickly. It's more about artistic development, and a different mind set. Part of the press is, we try to carefully, thoughtfully segment our jobs in that regard. You know, there is artistic activity and there is commercial activity, and that is how it generally breaks down.

CB: Around the corner you will see a print from Saskia Lehnert (above image). It was probably a two year project developing the image, working with the artist, and creating an edition. Those are long view projects.

CB: At Winka Press we have design print services, like wedding invitations, custom holiday cards. We also offer print services to other designers in the Kansas City area. Letterpress printing, and we do offer some retail goods, holiday cards and thank you cards, things like that.

TB: Cecilia makes art too.
CB: So I use the same equipment to make a hybrid litho method. And this brings us to our motivation for doing this. We both like ink on paper. We both have hybrid backgrounds, both have commercial art and fine art.

Look at recent work by Cecilia Bakker, above

Both continue to talk about movable type and pin registration used on the letterpress beds. The use of a fine art process that Mike Sims would use. Where the paper is hole punched along the edge of the plate to create precise registration in this process. Whereas in letterpress that does not happen, and you can get pretty good registration if you have a Heidelberg or high end equipment. Typically pin registration is not really possible.  This is a great example of the hybrid process with both of our backgrounds. Five minutes.

Above, metal plate used for Saskia Lehnert (sister to Cecilia) 

CB: The way is used to be made and now how it is made. They are able translate a digital file into an etched plate.
Visitor: Using a laser cutter?
CB: I think they use etching baths.
TB: You know the traditional way of a plate that gets exposed, you print it on a high quality piece of foam, and then it gets exposed photographically, and then it gets etched away chemically.
Visitor: Hmm.
TB: So, you are left with this piece of magnesium, and it is mounted on a very specific piece of probably Russian plywood. So that is the kind of sequence it takes to make it.

CB: But then, just like letterpress we lock it into a shape, put it on the press, and run it through.

Submitted by Karl Marxhausen
October 24, 2013
Videos shot with Luminx DMC-FZ7 camera
 Additional photos by Robin Gross
Way to go Team !!!!

Monday, October 15, 2018

laura berman - kc printmaker

  • Well, I am really trying to neutralize the hierarchy, I don't want one rock to be more prominent than the others, that is not the point. It's really about how they ALL COMBINE TOGETHER.

    1- She creates elements that belong together
  • Certainly it is a series, and it can all work well together, but I want each print to look like it is a SECTION of something, that's taken from. So there's more that might continue, but, of course I am not showing that it does, it's just that it's pulled out.

Laura Berman (LB) and Karl Marxhausen (KM) discuss the illusion of creating space and the translucency of hand mixed inks. She uses Graphic Chemical and Gamblin oil base inks.  The monoprints are on a Rives heavy weight printmaking paper (250 gsm) and run through a press bed. Each of this series measures 19 inches square. Plastic wrap is put over the inks to keep them from drying out.  She documents each color she mixes.  Video runs five minutes.

KM: What are you working on?
LB: OK. I have these monoprints over here that I am finishing up. They are really close. And what I ended up doing was cutting down a bunch of old prints that I had started editioning, or they were already proofed and things I just hadn't finished. I trimmed them all on the same sides, a series of ten now going. So, there are lots and lots of layers. The idea is "to fill them edge to edge, crop them, as much as I can, almost like a pointillist painting." This is a series in progress, almost finished right now.
KM: And you said the edges are really important?
LB: Yes, they are. I'm trying to, certainly it is a series, and it can all work well together,
 but I want each print to look like it is a SECTION of something, that's taken from. So there's more that might continue, but, of course, I am not showing that it does, it's just that it's pulled out.
KM: So, in a sense, you are creating a space...within the picture plane.
LB: Definitely, yeah.

Hand mixed inks

Monoprints are hung using clean
strips of print paper and clips.

 Dried prints between gessoed boards and newsprint


The large round colored shapes in her monoprints are based on a specific collection of 125 small beach pebbles from Topsail Island, North Carolina, USA. Her rock shapes celebrate an event from her life, her marriage. For Berman, the rock shapes are unique and have personalities like that of people. The value she places on her collection brings her a sense of security and identity no matter where she lives. That said, she treats the enlarged forms in a different manner. As an artist she stays open to new possibilities.

             2 - She pays attention to the moment

       "These forms take on a LIFE OF THEIR OWN, the way you are thinking-- it is sort of like stepping stones. You have the rocks first, but when you are at this stage you are thinking: "OH WOW, WITHIN THIS SHAPE, WITHIN THIS SPACE, HEY, I LIKE THE WAY THIS (HERE)  IS MOVING, I LIKE THE WAY THAT (THERE) IS MOVING. AND, I WONDER, IF I COULD DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT WITH THIS, AND TRY THIS (NEXT PRINT OVER)" So THAT is taking you further. As opposed to saying, "oh I have got to make it look exactly like this photo that I took. Or, exactly like whatever reference material I have. So it (the choosing) is more INTUITIVE, and like that." Karl Marxhausen
           "Definitely. Definitely. I probably could never be an "editioning" printmaker. I must have A LOT OF PLAY when I am thinking. Otherwise I get really bored with the process. And it is not teaching me anything if I am just a "factory," and just executing one idea, the same idea over and over. I try to build in a LOT OF SURPRISE for myself as I print."  Laura Berman
Tint extender
    Four minutes. Laura Berman (LB) and Karl Marxhausen (KM) discuss what makes her colors translucent, her attention to the surface quality when using multiple layers, and the intuitive process of looking at your color choices, being open to new surprises, and letting ideas follow their own course. 

    3 - Her love of pattern -- from Barcelona.
Berman showed me the 63 photos on her studio wall. These remind her of the origin of the patterns that fuel her work. The colored ceramic and mosaic tiles used by the architect of her birthplace, Antoni Gaudi.
     "I was born in Barcelona and my biological father was Spanish. I lived in Barcelona for my first year and my mother walked around the entire city with me daily. I suspect that the sights of Barcelona settled into my own aesthetic values from these very visual beginning points." 
      "I am a dual-citizen of Spain and the USA. My mother moved to Spain in the steps of her older sister, my aunt, who also married a Spanish man. They all lived in Barcelona before and around the time I was born. My aunt then lived in Madrid, and now lives in Alicante, Spain. My mother lives in North Carolina (her marriage to my father was short-lived– we left Spain when I was 1 year old and she remarried when I was 6 years old)." (courtesy of Berman email 5/29/13)
    "My favourite architect is Antoni Gaudí. My most favorite building of his is Casa Batlló."

    Three videos on Gaudi in Barcelona follow.
Three minutes. Gaudi structures in Barcelona.
(Tile background Park Guell Barcelona Spain.
courtesy of Thumbs Dream Time,, accessed June 13, 2013)

Eight minutes. Ten Things You Need To Know. 

 Eleven minutes. Barcelona, my city. In 2011
the population of Barcelona was 1,615,448 people.
Berman's home town.

Laura Berman (LB) and Karl Marxhausen (KM) discuss the mosaics of Antoni Gaudi, her interest in pattern, memories of her mother walking her around the her birth city of Barcelona, her interest in things with history like the one hundred and three year old Kansas City Livestock Exchange Building, where she keeps a studio for her printmaking. Five minutes.

LB: (Of Gaudi) You know, breaking the definition of everything. But another of his trade
marks is this mosaic. So he would apply mosaic to the surface to almost everything he did. All these chimneys at the top of this building are covered in little mosaic squares. (see side photo)
KM: Say where these photos came from again?
LB: These are from buildings in Barcelona. This is where I was born. When I was a baby my mom would stroll me around the city, just looking at these sites. And I actually had a great aunt that lived in this building (points to La Perdera) (see side photo)
LB: I think the patterns and colors of the textures of tiles and ceramics in Spain really influenced me on a fundamental level, cause I saw them a lot when I was a child.
KM: It is interesting that they are ceramic in nature as opposed to like patterns in nature...
LB: Yeah.  But it's a very urban city. This is a building façade. It is a printmaking thing, they will carve into the tile and put a glaze color on top. So it is almost like a relief print on the ceramic tile, I forget the term,  maybe, sgraffito?
KM: I was going to say sgraffito. That is what you usually do on bowls, pots, like that.
LB: But the whole buildings are covered with it. It's just beautiful. That one too up on the right.

Speaking on history out in the hallway:
  "I love things that have history to them, old things. We live with a lot of vintage furniture. My son plays with vintage toys. I just love things that come with that kind of history. When I travel I like to research more about 'where I am' at than the art that has been collected there.  Art does not affect me when I am traveling like a natural history museum does. I love those kinds of things that have that kind of story, it is sort of an excavation of history."

  4 - Her dream has been to be accepted by her home locale.
     Berman told me how she connected with Circulo Del Arte.
       "Círculo del Arte published 5 prints of mine last year (each in an edition of five). I printed these editions in my studio here in Kansas City and shipped them to the gallery once they were printed. The prints were on exhibit there this past spring, and also featured at    Arts Libris in Barcelona last April. It is Barcelona's equivalent of the
Fine Papers and Prints Kansas City, and the EXPO KC." LB

Three minute video about Circulo Del Arte, above.
Six minute video about Arts Libris expo, next)

       "I was invited to publish and exhibit a set of new prints with this gallery after meeting with them in the fall of 2011 during my sabbatical from teaching at the Kansas City Arts Institute.         Circulo del Arte is a gallery and also a print publisher.  They work with many artists to publish unique editions of their prints and they make these prints accessible to the gallery members. Members of the gallery receive a discounted price. I receive a set commission for every print the gallery sells." LB
   "I rarely edition my work – it is possible– but I prefer to work in a more spontaneous manner. This project required that I create an edition, and we agreed on a small edition number of 5 for each print. My hope is that the prints will sell sooner than a larger edition would so that we can make another project together. So far, about half of the prints have sold!" (courtesy Berman email 5/31/13
"It has been a dream come true for me to exhibit in my birthplace and have collectors in Spain and in Europe for my work."

5 - Art consultants have been a plus for her

Laura Berman discusses finding a home for her monoprints, the advantages of having art consultants/ dealers, eleven monoprints sold to a hotel in Abu Dhabi, how the prints can stay together as a family, her rock prints at the KU med center take on a  cellular look, and about being in relationship to arenas outside her studio, not working just for herself. Two minutes.

The hotel that purchased 11 of my monoprints last spring: Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. ( )

This interview took place Saturday morning, May 11th, 2013.

Laura Berman is an Associate Professor in the Printmaking Department @ the Kansas City Art Institute. Her studio is located in the Livestock Exchange Building, 1600 Genessee Street, Kansas City, MO 64102 (suite #350 on the third floor).
Her website is

Her blog is
She was one of 20 vendors at the KC Expo in April 2013.


(Barcelona chimney tiles courtesy of Paris Parfait,, tile background Park Guell Barcelona Spain.
courtesy of Thumbs Dream Time,,, accessed June 17, 2013. Matfield Green exhibit link, courtesy of, accessed July 4, 2013. Barcelona videos: Gaudi in Barcelona,,  Ten Things You Need To Know,, Tour of Gaudi Buildings in Barcelona,, Barecelona, Mi Ciudad,

accessed June 14, 2013. Kansas City Livestock Exchange building courtesy of, accessed June 19, 2013. Circulo Del Arte link,,,  accessed July 1, 2013)