Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Southern Graphics Council Conference

We’re Back! Sasha and I were in Kansas City, MO for four days attending the 35th annual Southern Graphics Council Conference.

On Wednesday afternoon we landed outside Kansas City at at the regional airport. The land all around us was mostly flat, with bare trees dotting the occasional hill. As we reached Kansas City proper, our taxi driver drove us past the what seemed to be the old downtown, with small brick buildings, BBQ restaurants, pubs, and churches. The Hyatt Hotel where the conference was being held some 1,000 printmakers including us, were gathered, for the conference. We found our community. It was a welcoming sight to be greeted by groups of artsy people catching up and discussing their conference materials.

We checked in and registered for the conference immediately and after dropping our bags, we hit the swimming pool and hot tub. After our splash, we went back to our rooms to get ready for dinner. Sasha and I each had nice room with a comfy bed and a poster reproduction of the same Diebenkorn painting on the wall; we felt right at home.

We set out on that first balmy night to find authentic Kansas City BBQ and happened to end up in the (supposedly) number one barbeque restaurant in the country, Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque. After eating some ribs and burnt bits, cheesy potatoes and cheesy macaroni, we took a taxi four blocks back to the Hyatt for a nightcap. On the 40th floor of our hotel we found the Sky’s Lounge, a bar that rotates 360 degrees, so we were able to sit and slowly spin around, seeing the entire city laid out before us. What we saw from our vantage point were wide, empty streets as far as the eye could see. Sasha remarked that she’d never seen so much parking. There weren’t any cars out on the streets, and not a soul to be seen.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we worked at our booth in the Product Fair, and greeted fans and friends of Crown Point Press. People were excited about my book as well as the other Crown Point titles and products we had for sale. (This conference was the first time that we brought with us printmaking tools, hand creams, and aprons to sell. We are expanding our bookstore to include most items that a printmaker might need in their studio.) I really enjoyed meeting students, teachers, and other printers from around the country. It was fun hanging out with former Crown Point printer, Paul Mullowney who now is the director and master printer at Hui No’eau Press in Maui. The three of us spent each night taking a tour of the local galleries after happy hour!

Surrounding the product fair were performances, games, and portfolio exchanges in addition to workshops and panel discussions. Digital media was a hot topic as was non-toxic printmaking techniques. Despite these new innovations being made in the field, I felt that our old process of etching was still vital, and being surrounded by other printmakers was invigorating. It was great to be part of the printmaking community, representing a great place, making new friends.

-Catherine Brooks


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