Sunday, February 15, 2015

Producting Prints

by: chicago designslinger

[Lill Street Art Center, Chicago; Printmaking classroom /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Last week I completed a printmaking class at Lill Street Studios. It was a survey class which introduced us to a variety of printmaking techniquesand met once a week for 14 weeks. From etching on plastic plates (instead of stone) to carving out relief blocks in linoleum, we covered the basics. The last 4 classes gave us an opportunity to focus on one or more of the processes we learned.

[Capital, (2009) silkscreen on white and olive colored paper /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

I was a printmaking virgin. I really enjoyed the silkscreen process and used a photo from our files as the image I transferred on to the screen. It was very interesting experimenting with the ink colors, shifting the registration of the image, and using different colored papers to see the kind of results you’d get.

[Linoleum carving: tools, carved and inked lino blocks, reduction lino block /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Doing relief printing turned out to be my favorite. If you don’t know what relief printing is, here’s a very simple explanation; carve into something, and the parts that remain are the relief segments that will create your printed image. A lot of school children create their first relief print using a potato as their printing block. Rubber stamps are a source of relief prints.  You may have heard of wood block prints, we worked with linoleum in class. We started by transfering an image on to the linoleum, used the image as a guide as we carved grooves into the surface, and the raised areas were inked and pressed on to paper.

 [Hollywood (2009); Fall (2009); Smiling Sun (2009) /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

I tried a process called reduction relief printing. You make your first cuts into the surface, print your first color, make a second series of cuts, print another color, make a third series of cuts, ink another color and so on and so on. It takes planning and an entirely new approach in the way you think and see. I loved the challenge, as well as using my left and right brain cells in a new way. So much so that I’ve signed up for a 10 week course that focuses on linoleum relief printmaking. We’ll be posting the results of that adventure in March.


Ogden: The Story of a School, a House, and a Trust
 by: chicago designslinger

 [William B. Ogden Public School (1953) Chicago Board of Education /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Sometime in the next few weeks, this little gem of a Chicago public school building will be demolished to make way for a much larger, state-of-the-art school facility for future generations of young Chicagoans.

 [William B. Ogden Public School, 24 W. Walton Street, Chicago /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The current Ogden school building is kind of overwhelmed by all the new high-rise construction that engulfs it, and although it doesn’t make any significant architectural statements, the building has an endearing, charming quality. The students however are looking forward to attending school in a new building with top-notch facilities.

 [Mahlon D. Ogden Residence (1859) Walton Street, between Clark and Dearborn; Chicago Mansions, Images of America series; Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton Street, /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

William B. Ogden was Chicago’s 1st mayor, founder of the city’s 1st railroad, 1st president of the newly organized Union Pacific Railroad, and one of the largest property owners in the city. His brother Mahlon, also a real estate mogul, owned a house that once stood directly across the street from the current Ogden School site.
Although he was a mover and shaker in his time, Mahlon’s true fame and notoriety comes from a fluke of wind direction during the big Chicago fire in 1871. The Ogden mansion stood prominently in the center of a full city block. As the fire destroyed everything around this 3-story mansard-roofed residence, a sudden shift in the wind saved the house from destruction and the home became famous as the only surviving residence within the path of the inferno. The many-roomed mansion eventually became the headquarters of the Union Club, and by 1893, the site was occupied by the brand new Newberry Library building.

 [Newberry Library (1893) Henry Ives Cobb, architect /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The library was built in a style known as Richardsonian Romanesque by architect Henry Ives Cobb. Walter L. Newberry’s will provided the capital for this “uncommon collection of uncommon collections”, and the building houses one of the country’s preeminent research libraries.

 [Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton Street, Chicago /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The architectural detail around the window bays is in a different style at each floor: transfomed, arched, squared, and the entrance has three triple arches said to have been inspired by the 12th century Romanesque French church, Saint-Gilles-du-Gard.

 [Newberry Library /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Ironically, the structure was meant to fill the entire block of the old Ogden property, but the back portion of the building wasn’t finished during the 1890s construction. The library had to wait until 1981, when an addition designed by architect Harry Weese was added to a part of the rear section, but not all the way to the edges of Cobb’s building. You can still see the unfinished edges of the architect’s design on both the Dearborn and Clark Street sides of the original facade.

[Ogden Slip (ca. 1840) McClurg Court at Illinois Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Among the vast real estate holdings overseen by William Ogden was a 40 acre parcel of property along the main branch of Chicago River and Lake Michigan. The land started on the north side of the main branch and extended north towards Oak Street, and west to Michigan Avenue. In 1858, attorney Abraham Lincoln was paid a fee of $350.00 to draft the paperwork required to set-up the Chicago Dock and Canal Trust Company. The Ogden Slip was constructed to provide access for cargo carrying ships to load and unload freight from their hulls and into a series of warehouses that lined the water’s edge.

[Pugh Terminal Building/River East Plaza & North Pier Apartment Tower (1905/1990/1991) Christian Eckstrom, architect; (1990) Booth Hansen Associates, renovation architects (1991) Dubin, Dubin & Moutoussamy, architects; East Water Place Townhouses (1997) Booth Hansen Associates, architects /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

During the 1980s, the Trust, from which Ogden descendants were still receiving an income, transformed the former industrial/warehouse district into an upscale residential, commercial, retail and hotel mega-development callled River East Plaza, North Pier, East Water Place Townhouses and Cityfront Place. At the far end of the photo on the right, the Chicago Spire was meant to rise – now, just a big hole-in-the-ground.

[William B. Ogden Public School /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]