Living a little

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself he always seems to be doing both. Enough for him that he does it well.” ~Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

I’ve been working at living a little…



Some leather treats

The shoes were purchased in a distinct bout of retail therapy much required the week before the announcement was made about the second year Apprentice Printer position. I was weak and simply couldn’t resist.


The leather roller was purchased in celebration a week after I received the news that I had been offered  the Apprentice Printer position.


I broke the shoes in over the past two weekends. I will break the roller  in starting this Monday and it should serve me well during my year of printing here at Tamarind (because of course I said yes).

I feel quite spoiled but luck must be on my side right now as I stumbled upon a stray $20 outside the store yesterday. I’ll take it as a sign. A girl’s got to treat herself  every once in a while….

(and yes Daryl, I kept the boxes!)

the big news…

I did not sleep well on Thursday night, I couldn’t fall asleep until after 2 am and couldn’t seem to stay asleep. I was up around 7 am and in to the studio for 8:30 am to sponge for one of my classmates. We had been told we would get the news of who was selected for the second year of the program at noon, in the form of a letter. It was a bit tense in the studio and had been for several days. It was good to be occupied and focussed. Noon came all too quickly and I had a strong urge to leave without finding out my fate. It’s been difficult to think of my time here at Tamarind ending so soon.

We made our way to our work tables. Marjorie and Rodney said a few words before the envelopes were handed out. Wasn’t sure I read it right but mine contained an apprenticeship offer…


I did it! I was the one selected for the second year of the program and will receive certification as a Tamarind Master Printer. Unbelievable. It could have been any of the eight of us. I’m still a little stunned.

Sorry, but I won’t be coming home for a while….

Today is the day…

I know I still have a lot to get you caught up on and I’ll get there. I could really use your positive thoughts today though, as this morning I will be turning in my letter of application for the Master Printer Training Program at Tamarind, year two of their education program. This basically amounts to a paid internship working on actual publishing jobs under the tutelage of Master Printer Bill Lagattuta. 

We found out last week from director Marjorie Devon that they only have funding to keep one lucky person this year out of eight of us, so it’s and an extremely covetted position.

I’ve spent a good deal of time these last few days reflecting on my experence this year and what a position like this would mean to me in my career as a printer and  although a ‘YES’ would mean the world to me I am ultimately at peace and will carry on as always.

My letter is written and ready to hand in. I’m hoping you will all send me some positive energy. I could use.

We will receive results next Friday… so I’ll let you know one way or the other.

Crossing fingers and toes…. now.

The missing weeks…

So much time has passed. I am truly sorry for failing in my mission to keep you all up to date on my activities here in New Mexico. Much has happened and very little has happened at the same time… hard to explain. At this point though I am struck by how fast the time has gone by and how little time there is left for me here in Albuquerque and I am motivating myself to try to post consistently once again. I hope you’re still with me…?

I believe the Balloon Fiesta photos are where we left off so allow me to go back in time a bit to this past October. I wasn’t able to attend due to a flight delay on my return trip from Ann Arbor. Here’s a taste:

Jade, Adrian and Kate woke up very early and set off on their bikes to make it to the grounds for around 6am. I wasn’t looking forward to the waking up early and riding in the freezing morning hours but seeing the photos, I am truly sad I missed joining them on this adventure.

DSC_0224It gets very cold in the early morning in Albuquerque, which is what makes it so ideal for hot air ballooning as I understand it.


I can only imagine what going up in one of these must be like, I am very tempted to try it out!



Apparently the balloon creations are judged in a competition.




Dias de los Muertos was the next exciting event outside of the studio, Sunday, November 4. I believe the day is celebrated differently depending on location. David, a fellow Tamarind student from Xalapa Mexico, explained he is accustomed to marking the day by going house to house visiting friends and family, enjoying food and drink.

It took me a good half hour to ride to the parade route and there was some confusion over what street it would actually run along once I got there. It was a beautiful sunny day though so hanging out for a while made no difference to me.


There were a lot of children and families involved and it seems almost everyone had their faces painted, even the onlookers.





Some of the floats had themes which I am not sure I understood.


The tricked out cars were amazing!


Not sure if you can make it out in the photo below but both the truck and car were on hydraulics and popped up almost sideways. Crazy!


The parade ended in a park where live music was featured along with craft vendors and food trucks.



Skulls made of sugar- a traditional sweet.

The food trucks in Albuquerque are quite something! I tried nopales for the first time.


This is a photo I took back in September of a cactus that grows just about everywhere… and despite it’s dangerously sharp spike, it’s delicious!  The nopales were grilled and wrapped in a freshly made corn tortilla with Mexican cheese, black beans, fresh salsa and green chile…of course! Nummm.

This was a welcome outing as my focus switched at the beginning of November to completing a comprehensive print studio business plan for our business course taught by Tamarind Director Marjorie Devon. I wrote forty eight pages of research and financial information in support of a hypothetical business plan. A very interesting exercise but hard to juggle on top of all the work that was still going on in the studio.

American Thanksgiving on November 22, was marked by a big group dinner party at Bill and Vera Lagatutta’s house. Unfortunately my camera did not make it along but my bike did. The weather was still quite warm and sunny during the day. We had cocktails and appetizers outdoors it was so nice. We feasted on a traditional dinner inside with turkey, all the trimmings and then some. We each brought a side dish and mine became my main course; a gorgeous barley, beat and black bean salad. Sorry, this is starting to sound like a food blog! Making myself hungry.

In the studio we worked on a few photobased techniques: egg albumen on stone, negative diazo, four colour separation and waterless lithography before the holiday break.


A big studio clean-up was scheduled for our last day of class and I arranged a trip home to Toronto for a few weeks to see my family.

My time in Toronto was very low key. I popped into Open Studio very briefly. I guess I should have organized things differently as I missed seeing everyone except for Sara Kelley, Associate Director and Doug Guildford, a long time studio artist member. I had intentions to visit again but I was so burnt out I really didn’t make an effort to spend time with anyone other then my daughter Sydney and my partner Andrew. We spent a quiet Christmas at my place despite my hopes of  making it home to Montreal to see my father, stepmother and brother. The days went by so quickly and before I knew it I was on a plane again heading back to Albuquerque. My apologies to all for being antisocial! Truly my loss.

Well rested and recuperated from the hectic pace of the first semester, we launched into our second semester on January 14th, 2013, the final four months of the Tamarind program.

Tamarind Institute: where did week 9 and 10 go? and the rest??

I am afraid I am not doing very well at keeping up with posts week to week. Somehow I wrote this entry  weeks back and never managed to post it! Oh well. It’s been busy here in  litho land….

After my visit to the University of Michigan (October 8-12) I got rather bogged down with work. We had begun our collaborative print projects just before I left town. I was the artist for a classmate (Kate) and she was my printer, while another classmate was the artist for me (David) and I was his printer. I managed to finish my drawing for my printer but had work to do meeting with my artist, processing his image and printing the edition upon my return to Albuquerque. Things went very well with the edition I printed. Unfortunately there were some challenges with my own image and much of it was altered in etching. It was fun to draw but hard not to get caught up in the art side of the project. Time is always at a premium so really all we need is to make some marks to have something to print, but the artist ego seems to inevitably take over.

We quickly moved from the collaborative project to working with toner. I can’t believe I haven’t experimented with toner washes before, they’re fantastic! They are really easy to work with and transfer well to ball grained plates. We worked with photocopy transfers as well and finally delved into multilayer printing in colour.

Rodney Hammond’s toner transfer demo image. The unicorn obsession lives!

Our instructor had ulterior motives getting us started in colour with the toner transfer project as we translated what we learned into another collaborative project combining three runs, one on plate and the other on stone, all sitting over the first run (or layer) printed as a full 22″ x 30″ sheet size. The first run was a rainbow roll in a minimum of 5 colours, in an edition of 12/12, with 3 trial proofs… that show a colour change for each run.

5 colour rainbow roll, 22″ x 30″ (55.88 x 76.2)

For those of you who couldn’t follow all that, let’s just say it was hard work! I had major anxiety tackling this edition. It seemed insurmountable to me, definitely way out of my comfort zone. It feels amazing getting through a challenge like that. I wasn’t sure the edition would be a success but I managed to pull it all off and got some very good feedback from Rodney.

Outside of the studio I am sad to report I did not get to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta as I had hoped. My return flight was delayed and I missed my chance since everything begins by about 5:30am and ends by about 7:30-8am. I am please to share some photos with you regardless. Credit goes to Adrian Kellet and Jade Mahoney, my Australian friends, who are very generously allowing me to post their pics…. sorting through them to share ASAP.

I promise to try to get you all caught up.