March 30, 2011

Morris Library to host 'Woodblock Woodstock'

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is celebrating the art of wood block printing with Woodblock Woodstock, a series of special events in April that highlights the art, Morris Library Special Collections and the SIUC Printmaking program.

Morris Library is hosting a special exhibit and three events. All are open to the public. Library visitors can view the works of University printmaking students during April. “Backhanded Compliments” is the exhibit in the library’s Rotunda Art Space.

Kicking off the programming is “Bringing Light Out of Darkness: A History of Woodblock Printing” at 3 p.m. on April 6 in the Morris Library Hall of Presidents and Chancellors. Ann Myers, special collections cataloguer and assistant professor, and Melissa Hubbard, rare books librarian and assistant professor, will present the discussion and exhibition. A reception will follow. There is no cost.

“Backward Thinking: Reflections on Printmaking” is the talk set for 7 p.m. on April 19 in the John D. Guyon Auditorium on the first floor of Morris Library. Speakers will be Travis Janssen, printmaking visiting assistant professor, and graduate assistants San Eun Lee and Erich Neitzke. This presentation is also free and open to all.

The grand finale of Woodblock Woodstock is the Drive by Press event set for April 27-28. Joseph Velasquez and Ryan O’Malley will bring the mobile, printmaking Drive by Press operation to the library. In 2005, Velasquez and Greg Nanney, both graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, loaded up their 600-pound printmaking machine to share their love of printmaking with people across the country. The operation, with an expanded crew and massive print block collection, gathers support through the sale of custom-made wood block prints on T-shirts and more.

The Drive by Press crew will present a historical perspective of printmaking from the 14th Century until today, work with printmaking students and assess their work, and then demonstrate printmaking. They’ll draw and carve specialized single-color woodblock designs and talk with people. On the second day, those who choose to do so can purchase one-of-a-kind prints inked as wearable T-shirt art or on all sorts of other mediums from bare flesh to baby blankets, toilet seat covers, dog sweaters or virtually any object that will lie flat to have a design pressed on it. Learn more about Drive by Press at

The exact schedule for the Drive by Press events isn’t set as yet. Watch Saluki Times for the complete schedule and details.

The Friends of Morris Library and the University’s School of Art and Design are sponsors for Woodblock Woodstock. For more information, contact Megan Lotts, assistant professor and fine arts librarian, at or visit the Facebook page at