Renovation has thrown my usual schedule off a bit, so I apologise for the slow down in communication. I guess I wasn't expecting it to go so quickly, so I had visions of lengthy recaps in blog form. Instead I am trying to make my exhausted body sleep enough to keep on top of it all. Adrenaline is helping! We have just eleven days left in our IndieGoGo campaign, and we have made it over the $5,000 mark! I am very proud, and happy, and annoyingly, still need to ask for more! This process isn't over until it's over, and that won't be until July 20th. So if you've been thinking about contributing but haven't yet, there's no time like the present. If you have contributed, thank you! Could you share the campaign with others? The more the merrier, this idea works best when lots of people give whatever amount they are comfortable with....
So on to another teacher profile. May I introduce Eliza Jane Curtis, who will be teaching screen printing. Eliza is a designer and printmaker with over fifteen years’ screen printing experience. Originally from Gorham, Maine, Eliza studied textile and graphic design at Parsons School of Design in New York City. She has lived and worked as a designer in New York and in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and recently returned to her home state, where she is currently renovating an 1800’s farmhouse in rural York County. Eliza sells her hand-printed paper and textile goods under the name Morris & Essex. She also offers custom design and illustration services. You can find her online at www.morrisessex.com
AGOS: What made you first take up screen printing?
EJC: Family! Any time that I'm hanging out with family, we're all either eating, or sitting around with our projects: knitting, needlepoint, whittling, anything that fits on a lap. My grandmother lived with us for years and she gave me my first printmaking lessons, as well as a taste for hoarding art supplies. By the time I was ten I think I'd had knitting and sewing lessons at various times from my mother, my aunts, my sisters.
AGOS: Did you learn from someone dear or important to you?
EJC: (see above!)
AGOS: Do you have a favorite project/design/collection, something that you are particularly proud of?
EJC: I've been collaborating with my friend Lillian Harris to make hand-printed tote bags; I design and print the patterns and she sews the bags. http://www.morrisessex.com/category/products/bags/
AGOS: Why do you screen print?
EJC: I screen print because I love it! It's a kind of instant gratification that I really like. I love the feeling, once the screen is made and my work station is all set up, and I'm surrounded by a dozen jars of ink, I could grab anything and print on it! Any color! Any old thing can be instantly transformed with a quick print. I usually print on fabric but I love grabbing random stuff to make extra prints on: old t-shirts, bed sheets, pieces of cardboard and wood. It's nice to be neat and tidy, and I pride myself on my technical ability to print neatly, but it's also great to be messy, to mix inks right on the screen and make weird messy prints. So I do it because it's fun, and now it's part of what I do to make a living, so I have another reason to print. It's really satisfying to turn my patterns and designs into useful things that people use and love.
Dyeing is exciting because it's always kind of a surprise. It takes time and process and waiting... and I never know exactly how it'll turn out in the end, which is fun if you can embrace it. I make hand-dyed scarves and they usually come out with wonderful variations in color, a soft and subtle wash that feels so special. But once in a while they come out quite unexpected, which can be tough if it's something I was hoping to sell and it doesn't look the way I expected. Or it can be a good surprise! Tie-dyeing is so beautiful and fun and requires a bit of technical thinking if you want to plan out your design - it's a fun challenge.
I also do knit, usually while riding in the car or watching movies, because my hands can't stand to be idle. These days lots of my friends are having babies and it's so fun to knit tiny cute things for them.
AGOS: Who are your design influences?
Sister Corita Kent, https://www.corita.org/
Louise Fili, http://www.louisefili.com/
Eduardo Paolozzi, Sonia Delaunay
Lulie Wallace, http://www.luliewallace.com/category/commissions/
there are too many to list - I'm sure I'm forgetting some other favorites!
AGOS: Do you have a favorite material or fiber to work with?
EJC: Cotton. So simple and easy.
AGOS: Tea or coffee?
EJC: Tea! Jasmine green tea is my favorite.
Thank you Eliza! Stay tuned for her workshop listings, coming soon!