Dawson City’s historic newspaper office again got to open its doors and let the presses roll, as the 3rd edition of the Dawson Daily News Print & Publishing Symposium kicked off at noon today. Featuring some of Canada’s most creative print artisans, the symposium is part of KIAC’s annual Yukon Riverside Arts Festival, and is co-presented by the Dawson City Community Library and Parks Canada.
Featuring a mix of exhibitions, demonstrations, workshops, open studios, and ongoing projects, the symposium has been growing in popularity each year. A steady stream of visitors came through the doors throughout Saturday afternoon, and were visibly enthused by the gorgeous hand-crafted printed matter on display, and the tools and techniques used to create them.
Participants in the symposium were a combination of new and returning artists, both local and hailing from coast to coast to coast in Canada. Setting up shop in various corners of the rustic heritage building, the artists provided a variety of projects and demonstrations related to the craft of printing.
Dawson’s own John Steins again offered his Wood Block Printmaking workshop, which has become a popular staple of the symposium. From concept to final product, those attending the workshop were shown how to sketch out and carve a wood block, then use it to produce a finished print. Judging from the results, many were clearly established artists looking to adapt to the woodcut medium. On the other side of the old press room, Suzanna Zak and Justin Apperly, artists who are both currently living and working in the Yukon, offered a hands-on demonstration of trace monotype, a unique technique for real-time one-off printmaking. A host of visitors, including several youngsters, tried their hand at the process, with great and varied results.
Master printer Peter Braune was back again to make use of the on-site vintage Chandler & Price letterpress that he has spent the last two symposia helping to restore to working order. In addition to ongoing demonstrations and productions on the old machine, Peter brought examples of some of the gorgeous hand-crafted books and other print creations from his New Leaf Editions firm in Vancouver.
Wood, vinyl, and metal are not the only materials being used to produce blocks or plates for the printed projects. Nunavut artist Ashoona Ashoona, a carver and jewellery maker, gave an ongoing demonstration of stone-cut printmaking, as he meticulously carved a soapstone block depicting a caribou motif. The plan is to produce limited edition prints from the finished stone cut tomorrow.
Again this year, a print-related art installation was on site for visitors to appreciate. Titled Hidden Wonders, the exhibit is the brainchild of Halifax printmakers Paul Hammond and Seth Smith (who collectively go by the name of YoRodeo!) and is the latest chapter in an anaglyphic 3D series that explores science fiction and fantasy themes. Visiting (and returning ) artist Paul Henderson, who is working on a print project of his own during the symposium, did a live interview with YoRodeo! that was aired on Dawson’s community radio station CFYT 106.9 FM.
More on Paul’s work, and the other ongoing projects taking shape over the weekend, in tomorrow’s blog post, along with details of the Sunday workshops.
— Danny Dowhal