Visual Arts

With Bluegrass Printmakers, you can make your valentine cards

Bluegrass Printermakers Cooperative, 'Netflix and Print'

The Bluegrass Printmakers Cooperative hosts an event on Feb. 12, 2016, called "Neflix and Print," a party where people can custom print their own Valentines. Here, members of the Cooperative talk about the printing process.
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The Bluegrass Printmakers Cooperative hosts an event on Feb. 12, 2016, called "Neflix and Print," a party where people can custom print their own Valentines. Here, members of the Cooperative talk about the printing process.

Members of the Bluegrass Printmakers Cooperative will challenge Hallmark on Friday night as they teach Lexingtonians to hand-press their own valentines.

“What we’re going to have is like a print buffet,” Stephen Wiggins, the president of the Bluegrass Printmakers Cooperative said. “We’ll just have a station set up with blank molding blocks ... and I’ll show them how to carve out different images. So they bring the creativity, and we provide everything else.”

Since the designs will be hand drawn and carved, they will each be one of a kind, Wiggins says.

Movies and shows from Netflix will be playing in the background, and families can come enjoy the art, take part in a lesson or explore the studio with other visitors. Proceeds from the fundraising event, “Netflix and Print,” will help pay for printing materials and the cooperative’s studio space in the basement of ArtsPlace.

The process begins by tracing an image onto a blank wooden block or leaf, which will then have grooves carved in it to create the shadows or shapes of an image. Once a block is carved, it is inked, a five-minute process of rolling ink onto an applicator, called a brayer, and then rolling the desired amount onto the leaf.

The co-op has the materials and presses to do monotype, relief, screen, colographic and linoleum block printing. On Friday, Wiggins will teach linoleum block printing, which is the type he uses for his introductory classes.

“If you’re not going to go to grad school, you’re not going to have the equipment you want to use,” Wiggins said. “If you want to print, you’re going to have to go into debt to do it or find a bunch of people that want to get together and share their expenses for printing. So that’s where this works. It’s kind of like a stopgap or a place for people to print that want to.”

Wiggins got his bachelor’s degree in art studio from the University of Kentucky with a focus in stone lithography, a process that requires a special type of stone to be flown in from Italy. A lithograph can cost thousands of dollars to produce. He sells his paper and clothing prints for $10 to $100 a print.

Co-op vice president Cathy Vigor has been printing since 1988, and at age 72, she plans to continue to crank the wheel until she no longer can.

“You never stop being an artist,” Vigor said. I don’t think we could stop if we wanted to. We don’t give up. We may change mediums and expand to other things, as long as you can do it.”

Marjorie Kirk: marjorie.kirk@uky.edu, Twitter: @marjorie_kirk

If You Go

‘Netflix and Print’

What: Event presented by the Bluegrass Printmakers Cooperative in which participants can print their own Valentines.

When: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 12

Where: ArtsPlace, 161 N. Mill St.

Admission: $10 donation suggested

Online: Bgprintmakers.org

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