April 22, 2011

Morris Library to host 'Woodblock Woodstock'

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A celebration of the art of wood block printing is coming to Morris Library at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Woodblock Woodstock, an exhibit and series of special events from Morris Library Special Collections and the SIUC Printmaking program in the School of Art and Design, culminates with a two-day Drive by Press happening on April 27-28.

Joseph Velasquez, who along with Greg Nanney founded Drive by Press in 2005, will bring the totally mobile, printmaking operation to the library. Ryan O’Malley, a newer member of the Drive by Press crew, will join Velasquez as he brings a 600-pound, 14th-century-style printmaking machine to campus and shares the history of and his love for printmaking.

The Drive by Press crew, which has traveled more than 250,000 miles with its unique inking lectures and demonstrations, will be assisting and critiquing the work of art and design students on April 27 and the following day, their SIUC production goes public. Velasquez and O’Malley will offer details about the history of printmaking from the 14th century until today and talk with visitors about the art that is printmaking during a 10 a.m. lecture at the John C. Guyon Auditorium. There’s no cost to attend and everyone is welcome.

Then, the exhibition moves outside the library from 1 to 4 p.m. While at SIUC, Velasquez and O’Malley will demonstrate how to make a woodblock and then they’ll show how to create single-color woodblock prints. Visitors can look through the substantial Drive by Press print block collection and select a design from the hundreds and hundreds of available prints. Then, you can purchase a limited-edition shirt inked with your choice of print or, for a nominal fee, Drive by Press will ink the print on virtually anything or everything you bring with you from baby blankets to toilet seat covers to dog sweaters. If it’s possible to get something to lie flat to press a design on it, they’ll do so.

Learn more about Drive by Press at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBr3WG8txQk or at http://drivebypress.com/.

While you’re at Morris Library, you will also want to take a gander at the exhibit “Backhanded Compliments” in the library’s Rotunda Art Space. The exhibit, also running through April 28, features the handiwork of SIUC printmaking students.

The Friends of Morris Library and the SIUC School of Art and Design are the Woodblock Woodstock sponsors. For more information about the Drive by Press event or the Backhanded Compliments exhibit, contact Megan Lotts, assistant professor and fine arts librarian, at mlotts@lib.siu.edu or 618/453-2663.