Featured picture above from left to proper: Beehive, Intaglio on Handmade Gampi, Paper, 12 x 18; Rachel Singel portrait by Rudy Salgado of River Metropolis Tintype; Hen, Intaglio on Handmade Bittersweet and Esparto Paper, 12 x 18 inches, 2023
Printmaker Rachel Singel is on a mission far past making fairly photos. The advantageous artist and professor on the College of Louisville makes use of her finely tuned printmaking course of as commentary on the fantastic thing about the pure world and sustainability. The etching results of printmaking seize the intricacies and depth of the pure types she recreates, whereas the natural supplies she makes use of heighten her message.
“Past bringing consideration to the immense complexity of the pure world, one among my main objectives as an artist is to lift environmental consciousness,” she penned to PRINT. “I print on handmade papers constructed from recycled supplies akin to outdated cotton shirts and linen sheets, in addition to plant fibers, particularly these of invasive crops. Conceptually, the union of course of and topic embodies an vital metaphor for my views. Basically, my work is about discovering, then understanding, and eventually expressing an perspective in direction of nature.”
I just lately reached out to Singel with just a few inquiries to study extra about her course of and ethos as an artist. Her considerate responses are under! (Dialog edited barely for readability and brevity).
I stay in steady awe of the depth and pressure of the pure world.
How did you develop your distinctive printmaking model and methodology?
I used to be first drawn to printmaking as a result of I’m impressed by nature’s infinite complexity, and intaglio etchings on copper permit me to make the advantageous strains I must illustrate its types. My purpose is to seize as a lot info from the floor as potential.
In my works, the strains radiate out from a central level. Whereas starting with a selected picture of a vine, unfurling fern, fungi, and many others., the work is overtaken by the concept of probably limitless development. I stay in steady awe of the depth and pressure of the pure world. Finally, I hope to carry consideration to the environment’s intricacy, magnificence, and fragility.
What’s your studio arrange like? The place and the way do you carry your prints to life?
I at all times respect the prospect to journey to different studios for artist residencies, however for essentially the most half, I presently make my prints on the College of Louisville in Kentucky, the place I educate. I’ve a print store geared up with vertical ferric chloride baths for etching my copper plates, glass tabletops and hotplates for inking and wiping them, and presses (together with a 48″ x 96″ Takach press) for printing.
Earlier than I make the prints, I make the paper utilizing a Little Critter Hollander beater (made by Mark Lander) and molds made by my predecessor on the College of Louisville, John Whitesell.
Have you ever at all times been environmentally aware? The place does your love of nature come from?
I grew up on a small farm outdoors of Charlottesville, Virginia. My mom, who can be an artist and instructor, took my siblings and me outdoors to sketch the panorama and pure objects. That’s the place my love of nature and artwork started.
From the place do you supply the supplies you print on? Do you make the paper you print on your self?
I now make the entire paper that I print on. Whereas I first discovered paper making on the College of Virginia, after taking paper making with Timothy Barrett on the College of Iowa, there was no going again!
After that, I had the chance to be a resident artist at Bernheim Forest and Arboretum, the place I made paper from their invasive tree of heaven. That’s after I began primarily utilizing invasive crops.
I’ve since made paper with different invasives akin to yellow flag iris, Oriental bittersweet, Japanese honeysuckle, and johnsongrass, which I’ve collected from my household’s farms in Virginia, rural native areas right here in Kentucky, and even across the metropolis of Louisville.
Only in the near past, I even made paper with Japanese knotweed, which was harvested for me at Acadia Nationwide Park, the place I used to be a resident artist this previous summer season. I’ve discovered so much concerning the potentialities of papermaking by working with every of those fibers!
Why is reflecting on environmentalism in your artwork vital to you?
I’m conscious that as an artist, I’m additionally a client. As a instructor, I really feel an excellent higher accountability to advertise environmentally pleasant practices as a result of that’s the one method we will sustainability proceed to make work.