A Life in Print
She’s been a printmaker for over 30 years, but Cathie Crawford still gets excited to explore new methods and different colorways. Her latest exhibition, Luminosity: Woodcuts by Cathie Crawford, will showcase her explorations at the downtown Peoria Public Library throughout September.
Some of her favorite subjects are her beloved koi fish, Crawford explains as she shows off her beautiful backyard pond. Her love of bright, bold colors is perhaps most evident in her koi prints, with their brilliant oranges and reds swimming amongst blue water and green lily pads. Achieving that brilliance is a long and laborious “reduction” process. After each print run (where ink is transferred to the paper from the wood block) pieces of the block are cut away; then the ink is removed from the block and more is cut away before the next run. “This process of cutting and inking is repeated until the image is complete,” she explains.
Crawford’s work has been featured in more than 300 exhibitions—regionally, nationally and even abroad in France, Poland, Saudi Arabia and the UK. Several of her prints on display this month were made via Mokulito, a process she recently discovered. “Mokulito involves drawing on the wood with greasy materials like oil-based paint markers,” she says. “Instead of cutting away what I don’t want to print and printing the surface of the wood, I am drawing and painting what I want to print and transferring those marks to the paper.” It’s a rather unpredictable process, she admits, but happy accidents often occur. “Going with what you get is sometimes better than what you intended.”
Always seeking to connect with other artists, Crawford recently corresponded with a printmaker in Austria who has been experimenting with Mokulito. “I was so thrilled to get his email!” she says. “He’s told me everything that works for him and what hasn’t, and it’s really informed me of this process.” These types of interactions fuel her creativity and motivate her to keep experimenting—and sharing her results. Luminosity will be on display September 4 through 29, with an opening reception on September 7 from 3 to 5pm. cathiecrawford.com PM