AGALAB week one

My first week at AGALAB was humbling. I had been before, so it would be easy, right? Just slide back into my apron, and get to work, right? Wrong.

Brexit. I have a lot to say about Brexit, none of which is appropriate before the watershed, so I’ll just say this: shipping is not what it used to be. Rather than carry everything, I sent a box of nearly spent inks, a selection of paper offcuts, and some other materials to myself, ten days in advance of my arrival. I then spent the first two days in Amsterdam on the phone, weeping to customs, pleading for their release. I’ll leave it there.

It wasn’t the most auspicious start. Luckily, I had given myself over to two days of just graining, so I was able to wash away the bad, alone in the studio with a selection of stones. I chose the largest stone available, bigger than anything I could handle in my own studio, and some small and medium ones.

The best part of a live-in residency are the quiet hours. First thing in the morning, the light streams through the tall windows, the air is very still. On Sundays, when you have the whole studio to yourself, and you spread across every surface. That first weekend was bliss, just selecting and graining stones, checking out the press and rollers, preparing for the work to come.

Monday arrives and the workshop is filled with artists, technical staff, interns, and visitors. First drawings finished, and carefully, tentative, I began to process, having made a fresh gum solution, excited about processing with Geowash-K, excited about transitioning my stone lithography practice away from harmful traditional solvents.

The first three stones were complete failures.

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