Tamarind Institute: week six and seven

Oh my goodness is time ever flying by! Let me get you all caught up.

I promised to report back on my tusche wash tests and I wish I had better news, but they did not go so well.  I had some success on my stone but the plate was a disaster, although a huge learning opportunity at the same time, so I can’t say it was a total wash… get it?! Bad printer humor, sorry, but I couldn’t resist! Megan, my class mate and press assistant this past week would be so proud. She is brilliant with puns, keeping us all on our toes. The good news is that although I was not required to I opted to redo the test on a new plate, and all went extremely well. I am pretty pleased with the results and the edition, although it was a scramble to put the extra work in and still keep up.

We moved on this past week to solvent washes both on plate and stone and  I am happy to report that despite this being my first time trying them out, processing and printing went much better. We are being guided through using a wide variety of materials and techniques and in the process setting up some complicated printing scenarios. It’s inevitable that we all improve and learn from each other’s successes and failures. It’s exciting to be so focussed at this level, facing scenarios head on that honestly would be natural to avoid altogether.

As I mentioned, we have changed press partners and will continue to do so week by week for the remainder of the program. We had also been switching presses each week (there are four in total) although now there is a sign up system that we are still trying to negotiate through. I believe the underlying impetuous is to have us work on our communication and organizational skills and to keep us from getting too comfortable. This ensures that as professional printers we can adjust to a variety of scenarios that may present themselves in the future, some of which may be less than ideal of course, depending on our aspirations. I know my friend Sarah Dudley and her partner Ulrich Kühle of Keystone Editions in Berlin, both launched into projects in some pretty remote areas of South Africa, Botswana and Australia, after their training at Tamarind. They have moved on from these adventures to set up a fabulous studio that is thriving – congrats Sarah and Uli!

Outside of the studio these past two weeks I have attended both UNM men’s soccer and football games, purely out of curiosity.

Football in particular is so much more popular here in the US (at all different levels) then at home in Canada, I couldn’t resist seeing what all the hype was about.

Game day is quite the spectacle! I attended with my Australian friends, Jade and Adrian. We were simply blown away at the size of the crowds, both inside the stadium and tailgating in the parking lot. There was a marching band, cheerleaders, mascots and hard-core fans from the opposing team that had travelled all the way from Boise Idaho, to cheer their team on. I had never really witnessed all this before, despite my long-term relationship with a former pro-football player! I’ve somehow managed to avoid it…. probably by being in the studio, printing.

Another major event in Albuquerque this October is the Balloon Fiesta. I was able to snap this shot on my brisk walk to Tamarind the other morning. Another first for me! Massive and at a huge distance, hot air balloons seem to move through the sky quite quickly.

During the first two weeks on October over 600 balloons will ascend into the sky in the wee hours of the morning. It is the largest ballooning event on earth and the most photographed event on earth. A group of us spoke of setting out on our bikes at 5am for the 11 mile/17.7 km ride to the vast 78 ac/31ha launch field. Just imagine 54 football fields all put together and covered in vibrantly coloured balloons. It’s a massive event and I hope I get to see it!


8 thoughts on “Tamarind Institute: week six and seven

  1. Victoria Cowan

    Hi Jill: It’s a real treat to read your posts; it really feels like I’m there. Funnily enough, when I went to visit my daughter in San Francisco a few weeks ago, she picked me up at the airport and took me to my first ever football game. Of course, that included the tailgate party. Her husband’s father has season’s tickets. 70,000 people in Candlestick park all wearing the red team colours. Never seen anything like it. I really had no idea at all about the game but loved the atmosphere and that camera that flies around overhead so give close-ups on the big screens.

    Glad you’re getting so much out of your time in Albuquerque. Hugs. V.

    1. jillgrahamink Post author

      Hi Victoria,
      Sounds like your football experience was even more intense then mine! It’s a crazy kind of commitment fans of the game have. I think I would be more open to going to a game with Andrew now, at least he could explain what’s going on!
      I’m doing my best to soak in as much of life in Albuquerque as I can and it’s fun knowing friends are sharing the experience.
      Hugs back at you! Jill

  2. Ann Unger

    Hi Jill,
    I love reading your posts. I’m curious about the visual difference between the 2 washes. Does the solvent wash look more crisp? I’m still working through trying to find the right etch. Praying to the litho gods helps on occasion:) Look forward to your next post about the ballooning event.
    Hugs from Toronto, Ann

    1. jillgrahamink Post author

      Hi Ann,
      Water washes will give you that reticulation pattern that is so desired while solvent washes tend to be more closed, a bit saltier/harsher looking, depending on the solvent used… I’m not going to do it justice here I’m afraid! There would be specific reasons to use each, factoring in of course the desired look. Aside from the prayer ritual, try testing different mixes and different etches – it will come. I look forward to the time we can go over some of this in the studio.
      All good things, Jill

  3. Jennifer Bhogal

    Happy Birthday, Jilly Bean!!

    What a wonderful program… Grueling, but such exacting standards. Perfect for you.

    All the best for now! I hope you told someone down there its your birthday!

    Have a good one,


    1. jillgrahamink Post author

      This comment almost didn’t go public my friend! Thank you for your birthday wishes Jennifer, very thoughtful. Endi made sure I celebrated… 29 again!
      Cheers, Jill

  4. Geneviève

    Hi Jill!
    Happy belated birthday! Looks like you’re having a great time down there! I’ve finally settled into Vancouver and will now have a bit more time to keep in touch and up to date on how you’re doing.
    Take care and I look forward to hearing all about the balloons!


    1. jillgrahamink Post author

      Thank you Geneviève, so nice to find you here!
      I heard you were on your way out West. Glad you are settled and hope you are enjoying Vancouver.
      Definitely keep in touch, Jill


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