In March 2015, the staff from Hatch Show Print traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, to participate in the annual conference of the Southern Graphics Council International. The SGCI is committed to educating its members about issues and processes concerning original prints, drawings, book arts, and handmade paper.
Every March, the organization teams up with the printmaking departments of the colleges within the host city, to put on a conference that is wall-to-wall ink on paper—seminars, discussions, demonstrations, installations, open portfolio sessions, parties, exhibitions and sales and swaps. This year, as it happened to be in our home state, a gang of printers from Nashville spent the day in Knoxville, taking it in and sharing our work with conference attendees. Sharing the floor at The Standard were fellow printers Isle of Printing, Sugarboy Press, Brad Vetter Designs, Family Tree, Grand Palace, Midwest Pressed, plus Knoxville’s own Status Seriagraph and Striped Light Press.
The theme of the conference was “Sphere,” referencing the city’s most well-known structure, the Sunsphere, built for the 1982 World’s Fair. Martin Mazzorra of Cannonball Press carved large wood blocks of a selection of constellations and printed them on fabric to create an inflatable sphere that was placed around town during the conference. (The detail in the photo on the right, below, shows the printwork from the inside of the sphere!)
Like the centers of many cities, Knoxville’s downtown went through an era of decline and desolation, but to conference attendees in March, it was clear that the area is rebounding. Shops, galleries, and restaurants are in abundance, and local printers Status Seriagraph, Striped Light Press, and Pioneer House Press were within walking distance of our group’s venue for the evening, The Standard. Along the way to dinner, and around the neighborhood, textures were plentiful!
Work on paper was in abundance, and ranged in size from tiny to life size—the room on the left is about three inches by four inches, the room on the right is inside a garage, and each is made of paper.
It was great to see artists’ books on display, and an adorable one-room gallery featured work from the graduate students at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the host school for this year’s conference.
Local color! A music store on South Gay Street, and a detail from a print—those are frying pans.
Not only did we bring posters and fun from Hatch Show Print, every designer-printer shared his or her own work, so, once we were set up, relief printmaking was the name of the game on our side of the room! Shortly after this photo was taken, students, professors, presenters, and Knoxvillians began filtering in, and the multiple conversations that we had over the evening’s festivities were the best mix of educational, fun, and inspiring.
Though half of us had to get back to the shop to keep the presses rolling, Nashville was represented during the rest of the conference seminars, round-table discussions, demos, and portfolios, and those who stayed brought back more stories and ideas to last us until the next Printacular Spectacular!