Sunday, March 10, 2019

Back to School

By Amanda Verbeck

Last week I had the chance to head back to my elementary school as a visiting artist. I haven't been there for over 25 years, so it had changed quite a bit. But there are always those things that are familiar—the gym with its stage, a tornado drill, the morning announcements, and even the path that I used everyday to walk to school from my grandparents' house.

It was a full day with twelve classes of Kindergarten through 5th Grade. I started each class with a question: What is art? There were so many great answers. Art is creativity and imagination. Art is colorful. Art is a way to express your feelings, ideas, and emotions. Art is playful and fun. Art is whatever you want it to be.

I brought along a sampling of prints from Pele collaborations, along with some of my own work. I also had plates and printmaking tools to pass around so we could talk about process. All in all, it was a great visit back to school. Many thanks to my good friend and Point Elementary teacher Alisha Oetting for recommending me for Fine Arts Day!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Roxanne's First Year at Pele

By Roxanne Phillips

A year ago I joined the Pele Prints family, and it has been a wild year: we moved the studio into its forever home, we participated in two art fairs and two exhibits, and we printed multiple collaborative projects. It has been a year of organizing, adjusting routines, and staying flexible.

Pele Prints moving day
Moving day

It was exciting to move the Pele studio. I personally learned much about construction skills, which may come in handy when I find my forever living space. We prepared the studio for the move and thankfully had industrial movers to relocate the presses, flat files, and exposure unit. The actual moving day was a family affair, with help from friends and family making the transition smooth. The celebration came later with an open house, after the unpacking and organizing.

Pele Prints open house
Pele Prints open house

Working with artists in the studio is a unique experience. By the time the artists get to the studio, we have talked and have a flexible plan for what will happen during the week they are in the studio. Most of the time I am a set of “spare hands,” anticipating the needs of the artists, so that printing is not interrupted. Some of my tasks include mixing inks, switching out printing plates, newsprint management, and lots of cleaning. No matter how much pre-planning occurs there is always trouble-shooting and brainstorming to keep everything on task.

Laura Berman working at Pele Prints
Laura Berman working in the Pele studio

Maria Verbeck and Roxanne Phillips cleaning plates
Maria and Roxanne cleaning plates

Most weeks, I’m in charge of and do quite a bit of contract printing for SKIF International. This consists of creating fine art prints on clothing. Each piece is individually printed on an “as need” basis. Printing for SKIF keeps the time flying. I’m constantly changing colors and switching designs. Before I know it, an entire day has flown by.

Pele Prints designs on Skif sweaters
Printing Skif sweaters

Traveling with Pele is motivating. Seeing and hearing the public interaction, thoughts, and opinions on the art that is displayed keeps me wanting to make more art. When a piece finds its home, it is inspirational. Knowing that an individual or business wants to look at art every day in their space that I’ve helped to create makes me proud to be part of Pele Prints.

Pele Prints booth at the Texas Contemporary art fair
Pele Prints booth at the Texas Contemporary art fair