Ode to Ink

Must is a must

By Jane A. Black

You have to be a printmaker to really feel that headline, to understand the joy of ink – that viscous, odorous liquid paste. You would have to be a Dayton printmaker (or art aficionado) to get the subhead. It refers to one of our local treasures, Ray Must, who I’ll get to later.

Of course, in addition to the printmakers, journalists may have lifted an eyebrow upon reading that title, as they also say ink runs in their veins. I’m about three steps removed from being able to claim either of those professions, though I’ve dabbled heavily in both. Without doubt, I still crave a hard copy of the news. I certainly have an appetite for prints, as well as an understanding of and admiration for printmaking; and I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for that special breed of artists who embrace blackened fingers and have the ability to think in reverse.

If you are one of the print savvy, or if you’d like to find out about an art form that is every bit as challenging as oil painting, but can be collected for a whole lot less, you will be where I will be during the first weekend in December – at the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative’s annual sale. I have a lovely Craig Martin etching and an amazing piece by Sally Kurtz (stitched together prints) purchased from this event in years gone by. Who knows what treasure I will take home this year?

The two-day sale is bi-locating for the first time, bringing a selection of things to the currently-for-rent office space across the entryway from the Dayton Visual Arts Center, at 118 N. Jefferson St. While you won’t get to see the presses and such, the downtown location is more accessible than the Co-op’s second-story, walk-up loft. The sale at the Co-Op is a little bigger, though, so I plan to go to both. The Dayton Printmakers Co-Op is located at 913 N. Keowee St., at the intersection of Webster, across from the Kroc Center. Hours are Friday, Dec. 3, 5-8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 4, 1-4 p.m.

Dayton Printmakers Co-Op

Founded in 1983 to provide a place with the necessary space and presses to create hand-pulled lithographs and etchings, the Co-Op is member-supported through monthly dues. They have student and recent graduate rates, and co-op members run workshops periodically on a variety of techniques. They’ve added a silk screening studio, and open studio hours are to be announced soon, too. Certainly the place has been reinvigorated with new blood in the past few years, but there are also members who have consistently used the workspace throughout its existence.

One of these illustrious printmakers is Ray Must, who will be demonstrating woodblock printing on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Keowee location during the second day of the print sale. Ray is inventive, witty and acerbic – and a consummate educator. You will learn a lot.

Andrea Starkey is a newer member of the Co-Op who has been very active in the past couple of years (she worked with five other Co-Op artists to create the fabulous letterpress Film Dayton posters last May). Andrea will be demonstrating twice this weekend! On Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., she will be at the Jefferson St. space. And on Friday night, 5-8 p.m., she will be across the entry at DVAC, along with Matt Burgy, J. Austin Jennings and Lisa Wolters. So you can learn about printmaking, sculpture, collage and ceramics all at one time, and barely a hop, skip and a jump away from the Co-Op’s secondary location for this year’s print sale. Stop on by.

Jane A. Black is a fiber artist and the executive director of the Dayton Visual Arts Center. Visit the gallery at 118 N. Jefferson St. or the Web site at www.DaytonVisualArts.org. Follow her on www.Twitter.com at lookingabout. She can be reached at contactus@daytoncitypaper.com

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