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Meet Valerie with Tugboat Printshop! You are going to be blown away at these enormous woodcut prints. The world is filled with so much digital are that it's refreshing when you see something made entirely by hand.
How did art play into your childhood? What kind of art did you like to make as a kid?
Always been a maker/tinkerer--pretty much inspired to do & create since I can remember. As a kid I built forts out of everything, braided grasses, made crayon & pencil drawings, cut paper, paper mached, sewed; I liked to make plays with my sisters (and playbills, scenery, costumes, etc.); Started into darkroom photography in high school; Always drew. Printmaking entered my life the summer after my freshman year of university and has kept my attention pretty steadily since then.
What did/do your parents and family think of your art?
My family has always been highly supportive. My father is a whittler, knife maker/leather worker, hunter, construction/factory laborer--and my mother was an extremely crafty homesteader.
How did you get into printmaking?
I was asked after my freshman year drawing course at USD to assist Frogman's Print & Paper Workshop. I did, and have been hooked on print ever since. I majored in printmaking with a BFA from the University of South Dakota in 2004 and co-founded Tugboat Printshop in Pittsburgh in 2006.
What did you do before owning your own studio?
After graduation in 2004, I worked as a concept artist & game-texturer for an educational video game start-up in Vermillion, SD. I was able to work remotely, moving to Nashville and then to Pittsburgh before eventually deciding to put all energy towards Tugboat in late 2006.
Your print work is amazing! Tell us about your studio and what you do.
Thank-you! Tugboat has had a few incarnations through the years--currently I'm working on a new body of solo woodcuts. I begin every woodcut with a drawing made directly to wood. The drawing is carved in low relief for printing using hand-held knives and gauges. Once carved, the block is inked using brayers and impressed to archival paper through a printing press. Oftentimes, I made images in color that require multiple blocks.
Printmaking on the kind of scale you’re doing seems like it would be physically demanding, are you wiped out at the end of the day or are you used to it?
Yes, I get tired. I switch between tasks during the workday so I don't get to weary doing one thing exclusively. I tend to have multiple projects going at the same time; an edition being published, a block being carved, an idea taking shape...keeps me motivated.
What kind of art do you do that isn’t printmaking? Do you ever sculpt in wood? Urban sketching etc?
I keep a sketchbook, occasionally make little paintings & drawings. I want to experiment with ceramics & metal someday...and maybe get back into making some etchings? Woodcut is my favorite though--I mostly think in woodblock right now.
When you’re not making art, what do you do for fun?
I like to go to music shows, play drums, garden, cook, sew/patch, chill with friends, play with my 2 kids (Ayla-almost 7, Rudy-3)
If time and money were no object, what project would you do?
Gee I think I'd be working on some big big color woodblocks :)
Thanks for taking to time to allow us to get to know you better. Where can people find your work?