17 February 2011
10 Days Later
Although I consider the Pilgrim series complete, I can't seem to shake the native American side of the story. The human rights abuses, the broken treaties, the injustices done to North America's indigenous peoples weaves through the entire history of the United States and, in my opinion, taints it. So here I am, back on the topic.
I've begun this print by carving a river map of the United States. Before there were highways, before there were state lines, there were rivers and lakes. Rivers were the highways and the reference points. This is reflected in many native American words, such as the Indian name for my town of Northampton, Norwattuck, which means "in the midst of the river."
This is a large block of shina, 20 x 30 inches, which I purchased nearly 2 years ago for the Vast Unpeopled Lands print. I'm going to attempt to make this print on just one block, so I'll be printing by reduction and by using stencils and masks. Working this way appeals to both my lazy streak and my desire to conserve materials.
You'll notice in the photo above that there are several knots and voids in the underlayer of the plywood. This is an issue that my supplier (McClain's) is aware of and I think they've fixed the problem by now, but if you ever come across knots like this be very careful. The knots are extremely hard and can crack even a high quality chisel. Your tools can also go skittering across the knot before you even know it's there, messing up your intended cutting path.
Luckily for me not too many of my rivers landed on the knotty areas. But below you can see that the Great Salt Lake is squarely situated on a void! I'll have to be careful when printing that.
I just got a couple of large commercial projects, so this print may be on hold for a week or so, but I'll update you when there's more.