26 November 2018

Start Where You Are

I'm still poking around this topic of water, trying to find my way. I have friends who have been on top of the climate crisis for decades now, sounding the alarm to a mostly-indifferent world, and I don't know how I'll ever catch up with them. But I can start now and I can start where I am, knowing that I won't catch up but trusting that I'll find my way.

What I mostly do in my art practice when I begin a new topic is read. Often I simply read the news and begin from there. This month I started to notice articles about sewage and flooding and water treatment plants. From Austin, Texas, to Raleigh, North Carolina, to the Merrimac River valley in Massachusetts, cities and towns all over America are having to cope with new threats to clean water that are being caused by a combination of aging infrastructure and more frequent flooding. Obviously, coastal water treatment plants are at risk from sea level rise, but hundreds of inland water treatment plants are located in flood plains and are also at risk.

In this early portion of my series I'm looking for images that can stand in for a whole constellation of issues/problems and that also might be beautiful as prints. For the issue of water/sewer treatment, I'm going with an image that will call up the ubiquitous and rarely-discussed action that most westerners perform an average of five times per day: the toilet flush. Toilet flushing is the single highest use of water in the average home. Clean water, that is — water that must then be processed before it can go back out into the environment. People who know more than I do might have some ideas for better ways of treating human waste. I hope so.

This print will be a simple three-color print. Unlike the Fiji Water print I just completed, which required a lot of printing tricks (blends, wiping, etc.) this one will rely on very detailed carving. Here's the first impression, which is just a background color for the whole shape:

Then I traced outlines for the second color using carbon paper, and now I'll start carving:

No comments: