[caption id="attachment_11908" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Student print and block project created in Jim Horton's Wood Engraving class at the Folk School[/caption]
I recently talked with instructor Jim Horton about printmaking, wood engraving, his upcoming classes and the new Book and Paper Arts Studio. Jim has been a printmaking/graphic design instructor for 43 years, with special interest in historic graphic tools and processes. His work ranges from job printing and book arts to limited-edition prints. Enjoy our interview!
[caption id="attachment_11904" align="alignright" width="285"] Poster by Jim Horton[/caption]
CP:Where are you from?JH: I was born in Oklahoma, but lived most of my life in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Midwesterner to the bone, but I sure like to visit the South.
CP:Tell me about your history with printmaking?JH: My father was a sign painter, the old fashioned kind using a brush and gold leaf. It was an incredible skill. He also did silk screen printing back when the fabric was real silk. He cut stencils by hand. So graphic arts was always highly respected on our family culture. Making woodblock prints was way cool. As a college student in art school, naturally, I gravitated to the printmaking studio. I was at home there. I loved the industriousness of proofing an edition of prints on fine paper.
CP:What do you do when you are not in Brasstown?JH: I was an art teacher, and at every level, teaching graphic design, studio art.. all mediums. That and always printing. A few years back I deeply got into letterpress and engraving. I live in a rural area, and love working outdoors, walking and doing yoga. I still love to draw too. I go over to the local universities and draw from life (models).
[caption id="attachment_11906" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Class photo and projects from Jim's class: "The Art of the Great American Poster"[/caption]
CP:How long have you been coming to/teaching at the Folk School?JH: I want to say about seven years. Dea Sasso got me here, and she was right. People like the Pattersons, we can only get down here in these hills.
[caption id="attachment_11910" align="alignright" width="480"] Folkehøjskole print by Jim Horton and illustrations by Nancy Darrell[/caption]
CP:What are projects are you working on currently? Where do you draw inspirations from?JH: I am illustrating and printing a book of traditional folk songs. I love cowboy songs...why? I don't know. I also love old gospel, though I am not the least bit religious in a doctrinal sense.
[caption id="attachment_9620" align="aligncenter" width="425"] "Crow" Block and Print by Sandy Webster[/caption]
A lot of people think they can't dance. But then they try contra dancing: they can jump right in as a beginner. The moves are straightforward, and they don't need any special skills. With practice, they become smoother and learn some extra moves, but the initial learning curve is a mere ripple in the road.
White line printmaking is the contra dance of the art world. I spent last week in Sandy Webster's printmaking class and enjoyed every minute of it.
I'd chosen the class for many reasons: I like how woodblock prints look, and the class had a low materials cost. I would not have to buy expensive tools and could use my old watercolor set. As I had hoped, the technique proved to be one that I can easily continue to do at home, even without a studio space.
[caption id="attachment_9617" align="aligncenter" width="425"] White-line Printmaking Process: Line Drawing, Board, and Print by Emily Buehler[/caption]