For the 2015 Research Colloquium, I will display and discuss my independent journey through the world of printmaking. My childhood was filled with art, however, I was nervous to dedicate my life to art as it was all I had ever known and felt the need to pursue a different path. In the fall of 2012, I switched my major from business to biology but was not satisfied or eager about my studies. That fall, I decided to participate in my first art class at PSU, which was Printmaking and Paper Arts. I was immediately at home with the processes and materials. I began a series of independent studies courses over the next few years to quench my interests.
My first independent studies course was in the fall of 2013. During that semester I researched printmaking, learned new techniques, developed a series which was later in an exhibition, and blogged about my research about the old and ‘broken’ letterpress in the department. As my letterpress research was successful, I met with the department chair in regards to a small budget to supplement a potential letterpress restoration. In the spring of 2014 with a budget in tow, I successfully restored the art department’s letterpress to working condition. I even obtained an internship at a letterpress studio in Kansas City for that summer where I learned about and participated in commercial printing. That included the opportunity to use the letterpress that I had restored. I also was fortunate enough to share my story and a demonstration of the working letterpress to the group that attended the “Letterpress Restoration Celebration.” The second independent studies course from that semester was dedicated to researching textile printing and design and using those findings to assist in producing my own textiles. During this semester, I discovered how vital printmaking is to me. The Journey presented through these art forms continuously lead me to investigating infinite questions. Creating is my chosen method of learning; it is my language, my voice.
Currently, letterpress and textile printing are my career pursuits upon graduation this upcoming December and have led me to two major conferences in New York City at I will be attending this summer. It has also come to my attention that there are two letterpresses being stored in the Axe Library, and have been since the 1990’s. I am in the process of working with the art department in an attempt to restore them and move them into the printmaking studio with the previously restored press. My journey through printmaking has not only changed my life, but is benefitting the future of PSU’s printmaking classes. The title of the printmaking class now has the addition of “letterpress” and in the upcoming fall, I will be teaching the printmaking class and our professor, how to letterpress print. I am thrilled that my passion will be shared with future classes.