One of my goals for this year is to make 2-3 small works per week (while simultaneously working on larger pieces). I'm a week late in getting started, but here goes with the first idea to explore.
I am ambivalent about corn. For one thing, the monoculture of farmland has all but destroyed the prairies I love. And a case can be made that corn has become too much a part of our diet (check out Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma). On the other hand, since my husband works in the corn processing industry, I am dependent on corn for my support. So it seems like a natural subject for an artist to explore.
First thing I did was to carve this stamp out of Blick's E-Z Cut printing blocks. The block has been inked so the pattern shows up. This material is very easy to carve, although it does crumble a bit around the edges. And don't lay it on fine furniture, the plasticizers in one messed up the finish on my dining room table.
For the first prints, I poured some Setacolor transparent paint on a plate and used a roller to ink the block--a traditional printmaking method. I printed it on several scraps with this result:
All of these pictures are keystoned because I shot them on the fly as I was working. In real life, the prints do have straight edges.
I also wanted to try using the block as a rubbing plate with Shiva paintsticks. I have successfully done this in the past, I think it worked here, too.
This method allows more color variations than using a roller. I also tried painting different colors onto the block, but you have to work really fast to prevent it from drying.
So now I have a pile of pieces with this stamp on them. The first one I played with resulted in this:
It has thread stitching, and measures around 5"x7". I like it, but I'm not sure that it really makes any statement about how I feel about corn. Is that because of my wishy-washiness? Or do I just get caught up in the elements of design, the process of making art, that any intended message gets sublimated so much that it no longer exist? Do I care? I think at this point I want to make good art more than I want to make a political statement. So read into the pieces what you will...