Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Unkind Conversation

The gathering of Ravens is called an “Unkindness”

The origin of that name is associated with conspiracy. The raven is a vocal virtuoso. The world’s largest song bird, raven blends a unique rendition of clicks, yelps, trills, thumps, chucks, trumpets and rattles repeated perhaps to emphasize an important message, but its vocal variety is what distinguished the raven’s language from all the animal kingdom except Man. Some signal common dangers or opportunities while others are mimics, such as a dripping noise, perhaps interpretations by a raven composer as she listened to sea shells clink against pebbles in the tide. They can hold intense conversation and also seem to vocalize for the sheer joy of expression. Caesar Augustus owned ravens that announced his as “our victorious commander”, the ravens in the Tower of London have been speak to tourists for years, and YouTube is full of videos of speaking ravens, the most articulate of avian conversationalist.

From Gifts of the Crow by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell:
“Talking crows reveal a part of their cognitive lives. To talk, crows must be able to form and replay memories. They confront the immediate with memory of the past. They dream. While we don’t claim that speaking crows really grasp the complexity of human language, they use our words to get what they want, which is remarkable. That a crow will learn and use a human trick reinforces the depth to which our species are intertwined. Crows manipulate, deceive, play, and converse with other species. They anticipate rewards and, to reap them, devise and carry out plans. When we overhear crows singing softly to themselves, we wonder if they derive pleasure simply by listening to the sounds they can make. So much of what we hear from crows or ravens is inexplicable. They ring like bells, drip like water, and have precise rhythm. They sing alone or in great symphonies. Some of their noise could be music.” (Copyright 2012 Free Press)

This is a series of large Linoleum Relief prints, one and a half foot square.

Relief printmaking is the the oldest form of printing and was invented by the Chinese.
A traditional woodcut is done by taking a plank of wood or sheet of veneer, oiling the surface with linseed and then dried. After the wood has been seasoned the image is carved directly into the surface with carving tools. When the image is printed a sheet of paper is laid over the block and it is either sent through a light pressure press or it is hand rubbed with a wooden spoon or barren. The process is repeated several times to create an edition the number of prints.

Linoleum was invented in the late 19th century and many artists prefer it to wood because it is easier to carve.
I had assigned my printmaking students a relief print project and they had infinite reasons for their plates NOT to be finished. So I challenged them. I said I bet I can do six feet of plates over "Spring Break". I spent 15 hours on each plate and had them finished and printed during break. 
My students lost the bet.

Cutting the Linoleum plate
one can never have enough carving tools
three finished, one more to go!

 These plates are handmade and hand printed. The image is 18 inch by 18 inch and the paper size is 24 inch by 24 inch.

"Unkind Conversations", Number 1, Relief print. 18” x 18” on Thai Kaso Paper. 2014 by Larry Vienneau

"Unkind Conversations", Number 2, Relief print. 18” x 18” on Thai Kaso Paper. 2014 by Larry Vienneau

"Unkind Conversations", Number 3, Relief print. 18” x 18” on Thai Kaso Paper. 2014 by Larry Vienneau

"Unkind Conversations", Number 4, Relief print. 18” x 18” on Thai Kaso Paper. 2014 by Larry Vienneau