Meet the Press!

Kristina Fiedrich, the new arts programmer for the City of New Westminster’s Cultural Services, is pretty excited about the possibility of things to come.

Fiedrich brings a wealth of skills and experience as an arts administrator, artist and scholar. She has earned graduate degrees in Visual Arts from the Emily Carr University of Art + Design and Comparative Media Arts from SFU, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Thompson Rivers University in Studio Art and diplomas in Photography, Professional Photo Imaging and Printmaking from Capilano University, Langara College and the University College of the Cariboo.

One of the things she is most excited about is the new printing press that’s just recently arrived at Anvil Centre.

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“Print making and printing presses are becoming scarce,” says Fiedrich.

“The printmaking program I attended only eight to ten years ago no longer exists, as they didn’t see it as a viable class offering anymore. But I don’t really see it that way – there’s a movement to get back to working hard, with physical labour, to create great things.”

The maker movement is a trend, or a subculture, that blends DIY crafting with technology influenced hacker culture. Maker Fairs (or “Faires” as the case may be) are common, and most are accessible to all ages and skills.

Anvil Centre has hired instructor Saskia Jetten, a local artist and skilled printmaker, to help bring the world of print making to New West. There are two great orientation classes coming up that are open to the public as drop-ins, though registration is preferred:

2016-04-05 22.33.49The printing press that Anvil Centre has acquired is an etching press. It was custom made for Anvil Centre, and cost $5000 US (fortunately paid for before our Canadian dollar tanked) and took almost four months to make. There are only two companies in North America that still make presses and the one now nestled into its new home on a rolling cart in a storage closet was made by the Conrad Machine Co.

Anvil Centre doesn’t have the facilities for intaglio or aquatint-based etching, which use acid chemicals for ‘biting’ into the plate and therefore needs special ventilation and disposal facilities. However, in the future the New West Press can offer drypoint or mezzotinting processes.

These two methods use sharp tools for scratching and scraping the surface of the metal plate. What is interesting about these two options is that drypoint creates an image on a ‘blank’ surface (a white or ink-less background), and the mezzotint starts from a black surface that is ‘burnished’ in areas to create gradations of tone.

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The press can also be used for a variety of other, more accessible printmaking methods, including monotypes, where an image is created on an acrylic or Plexiglas™ type surface and only transfers one, unique print onto paper, relief prints like linocuts and woodcuts, and collagraphs, a combination of collage and printmaking, where various textured surfaces are glued onto a board/plate to create an image).

Adult program are planned for Monoprints (May 7 & May 28) (class # 148555 and 148558) and Linocuts (May 14 & June 4) (class # 148556 and 148557). Theses classes are a 3-hour introduction to certain styles of printmaking and are currently open for registration. There are plans for future programs and classes for the Summer and Winter programs, including children’s programming, alongside artist-in-residence programs, open-studio options and press rentals.

Fiedrich also encourage printmakers in the community to reach out with ideas and wishes for future programming.

Another partnership this press opens up for our community is with Papergirl, “an inclusive, non-commercial art project that brings people together in celebration of art and community in an unconventional way, through the spirit of altruism.” In the style of American paperboys, art produced will be rolled up and distributed by bicycle to random passersby! A call for artists to participate in this project is currently open.

Papergirl will also be presenting some adult programs running April and May: “Sharing Your Art with the World; how to get more exposure for your work” on April 30 from 2-3:30pm (class # 148634) , “Mandala Drawing Workshop” on May 7 from  2-5pm (class # 148635), and “Moth Making Paper Capers Workshop” on May 14 from 2-4pm (class # 148636). 

Fiedrich is palpably excited about the press and what it can open up here in New West in terms of skill building and maker culture.

“Printmaking is a lost art, and it’s really invigorating to be a part of a renaissance in a community as great as this.”