Susan Hurrell Fieldes
This affair of the heart
of the senses
of the soul
began when my son went to The Juilliard School in 1994. I’ve visited him regularly in the past few years, though these trips have taken on new meaning. I am a printmaker and for five years I’ve travelled to New York to intern for two master printmakers - one on Long Island, the other on Manhattan.
A fine art print is made when ink is transferred from a base plate ...it could be copper, glass - even cardboard - to another surface (usually paper).
But back to New York….
I travel to Long Island first, staying at the Hamptons on a seven acre property in the woods. This where Dan Welden, an artist, lives and works when he’s not giving workshops in the States and throughout the world. I help him with whatever needs doing. Last year I joined him on a trip to North Carolina to make vitreograph plates, also to print a Solarplate edition of 100 prints for a commission to the Rochester Print Society. Another year I curated a show for him. I’ve regularly assisted at print workshops which he takes at schools, universities and in galleries. He has an extensive collection of his own art, but also pieces from the many artists he’s collaborated with. I’ve done cataloguing work, I’ve cut plates - even cleaned the fridge!
But this year I spent a great deal of time on my own work. One day a group of students from a Long Island University came as part of a field trip to three artist’s studios in the Hamptons. Dan showed them his studios and his work and answered questions about the process he uses (solarplate etching - a technique he developed in the 1970s and which is now widely used throughout the world). I was fortunate enough to go with this group to Jackson Pollock ’s house. The movie about him was shot at the house, which stands on an estuary through East Hamptons. His studio was most interesting - I was surprised how small it was - and the floor was, of course, a mass of multi-coloured splatters.
Manhattan is quite different. Kathy Caraccio is very well known in the print community, and unlike Dan, spends her days and nights printing editions for artists. Every day many come through her door and each one is different, each using different print techniques. I work with this variety of people and their art. This year Kathy was printing for a tattoo artist who was making editions of a number of his most successful tattoos - some rather confronting
Kathy teaches at two tertiary institutions in New York so twice a week our day starts at 2pm and we work until 9 at night. Every day is different. This year she took a workshop while I was there and I was able to spend the weekend taking part. Sometimes we go to exhibition openings at other galleries, but this year there was an opening in her gallery space.
I deal with the paper - soaking, stacking, drying it. I help with the printing, with the cleaning and this year I spent two days hand colouring prints.
And of course I get to stay with my son. He’s a musician and I tag along after him on many of his gigs. A highlight is always going to a Broadway show he’s playing in. This year it was “Next to Normal” which won a Tony for the Best Score and Best Actress.
I’ve been back three weeks now and feel so fortunate to have all these wonderful experiences which feed into my own art and life.
But the best thing is that next year I’ve been invited to have a solo show at Kathy’s gallery space on Manhattan. Can’t wait for 2011!!