‘Mecca of printmaking’ site of daylong Northampton festival

  • A carved woodblock about to run through the “BIG INK” press COURTESY OF BIG INK


  • “Woman in Ruins,” by Zea Mays Printmaking director, Liz Chalfin COURTESY OF PRINT FAIR NORTH

  • This print was created by Lynn Peterfreund, a member of Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence. COURTESY OF PRINT FAIR NORTH

  • Viewers look over selections at a previous Print & Book Fair. COURTESY OF NORTHAMPTON PRINT & BOOK FAIR

For the Gazette
Published: 9/28/2016 2:59:06 PM

Northampton will soon be awash with paint, screens, murals and ink, as “Print Works 2016,” a citywide festival, comes to town.

On Sunday, three daylong events will be held in three downtown locations: the “Northampton Print & Book Fair,” a “BIG INK” printmaking demonstration and “Print Fair North.”

The goal, says Esther White, a faculty member at Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence, the event’s organizer, is to expose the community to printmaking in all its forms, from book publications and silkscreen posters, to zines and monoprints.

“The festival is about live interactions, between artists and the public,” White said. “They’ll be able to represent their own works to everyone who is interested.”

The events

“Print Fair North” and the “Northampton Print & Book Fair” both involve artists from the Pioneer Valley — as well as a few artists hailing from New York state, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

During the festival, the public will have a chance to meet the artists, to purchase quality, local artwork or simply to observe the varied printmaking culture.

“Anyone could come,” White said. “ ‘Print Works’ will attract people who already love the art, but it will also be a nice event to check out for anyone walking around town on a beautiful October day.”

The third event, “BIG INK,” is a collaboration of eight artists who are using a one-of-a-kind giant mobile etching press to make large- scale black-and-white woodcuts. The artists will demonstrate the use of the press and will also exhibit a selection of large prints created by artists from across the country.

“The festival is about live interactions, between artists and the public,” White said. “They’ll be able to represent their own works to everyone who is interested.”

Related events

On Sept. 28, there will be a programming workshop at Forbes Library, where youths aged 11-16 will be taught to create zines, self-published magazines of original and appropriated texts or images. The final products will be displayed for the public at Print Fair North, along with all the other professional art.

On Saturday, there will be a pre-fair party from 8 to 10 p.m. at 13 Queen, at 13 King St., which will include a screening of the movie “A Visitor’s Guide to Reorientation on Spectacle Island” by filmmakers Maria Molteni, Sue Murad and Hermione Spriggs, along with a poetry reading by Halie Theoharides.

Northampton is a fitting locale for such a festival, says Liz Chalfin, the director of Zea Mays.

“There is a very long history of printmaking in the area, going back to ... Leonard Baskin,” she said. (Baskin, a renowned artist, taught printmaking and sculpture at Smith College in Northampton from 1953 to 1974, and later taught at Hampshire College in Amherst.) “The culture drew artists from all over, book arts, printing, all of it,” Chalfin added. “The Valley is a real Mecca of printmaking.”

“The Print & Book Fair” will take place at the A.P.E. Gallery at 126 Main St., from noon to 6 p.m.; “BIG INK” will be held in the parking lot behind Thornes Marketplace, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and “Print Fair North” will be in a tent between Thornes Marketplace and the E.J. Gare Parking Garage, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

For information, visit www.zeamaysprintmaking.com; www.bigink.org; and northamptonprintandbookfair.com.

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