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Walt Whitman, From Photographs to Prints: A Series of Three Workshops
10:00am - 4:00pm (UTC)
Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion
January 26
10:00am - 4:00pm (UTC)
Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion at 3420 Walnut Street
Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center (6th floor)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

As part of Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy, the Common Press and the Penn Libraries are offering a series of three workshops around the creation, translation, and printing of images, which was a major part of the nineteenth century print trade in which Whitman played an important role. Your take on Whitman’s visage.

1) January 26: "Drawing from Vintage Photographs" with artist RA Friedman. This lively, hands-on workshop will explore capturing a sense of Whitman's character from the visual evidence left behind and the broader question of how to recreate a human presence when the subject’s likeness is only reachable through photographs. 

RA Friedman (M.F.A., Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge) is a figurative artist with a background in science and technical theatre who works with drawing and photography. Intrigued by the idea of building bridges to the past and experimenting with older forms, his projects have included installing a camera obscura in an abandoned church spire, constructing a giant hand-cranked zoetrope, and evolving a series of complex, multi-figured pinhole photographs over an eight year span.  He teaches classes in photography and drawing at PAFA, Pratt Manhattan and for The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Project. 

2) February 9: "Cutting a Linoleum Block" with artist Barbara Henry. Learn to carve an image into linoleum, a medium that is low cost, easy to carve, adaptable to machine or hand printing, organic and readily available. We will discuss various techniques and materials, from drawing to finished print, to help you find your own best method and create something unique and beautiful.

Barbara Henry holds an MFA in painting from American University and studied typography at the University of Iowa with Kay Amert. She was, between 1985 and 2004, Curator of Bowne & Co., Stationers at The South Street Seaport Museum in New York City. During this time, she adopted the name Harsimus Press for books she produced in her own studio. In addition to her work at the press, she teaches workshops at The Center for Book Arts in New York.

3) February 23"Printing from Linoleum Blocks" on the Letterpress. Explore several printmaking techniques in this unique opportunity to use Penn’s Letterpress Studio. Learn to print on the cylinder letterpress from mounted linoleum blocks, using either blocks carved in the February 9 workshop or pre-carved blocks in the Common Press collection. (Or bring your own pre-carved mounted linoleum blocks to the Press.) In addition to learning how to prepare and print linoleum block images on the letterpress, participants will combine techniques to build multi-layered artwork. Experiment with hand printing found materials to create textured multi-color backgrounds, and set wood type to add another layer to your image. 

Mary Tasillo directs programming and strategic initiatives for the Common Press. Mary has taught classes and workshops in letterpress, book arts, and hand papermaking for University of Pennsylvania, Naropa University (Boulder, CO), Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the University of the Arts, and will be guest faculty at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in 2019. She is also the cofounder of The Soapbox, a community book arts studio and zine library in Southwest Philadelphia, where she has taught classes and organized numerous community events. Mary exhibits her work nationally and internationally. She has been an artist-in-residence at Vermont Studio Center, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, and the 40th Street Artist-in-Residence Program. Her extensive background in book arts and letterpress began when she apprenticed with Quercus Press in Waltham, Massachusetts. She holds an MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from the University of the Arts.

Registration and Cost:

Space in this workshop is limited to 12 participants. Cost is $90 for all three workshops/$45 for Penn students. Register here* or click 'Get tickets' to the right. 

*Registration open to single workshops, as available; see registration page for details.