Wednesday, December 31, 2008

About Tucson from Robert and Catherine

March, 2009
Hi everybody,
Hope you are enjoying the coming of is certainly here in Tucson!

We just got back from an exciting three weeks in India, left on the 9th of Feb for Dehli and the Punjab and were completely out of reach of internet and email.

Ah, unplugged! India was completely challenging and intriguing in the same moment. We spent three weeks in a meditation much to learn on so many levels. We are grateful to have had the chance to unplug, rest, contemplate and "view" our American life from afar...all the while experiencing such a colorful and complex and ancient culture. Incredible......

We were able to spend some time with Dehli artist Radha Pandey and her family, including the renowned Indian filmmaker Mike Pandey. Radha took Catherine's Japanese papermaking course at Haystack Mountain School of Arts and Crafts in Maine. Please check out Radha's final stop action animation project for her art degree...a lovely film (short but poignant) entitled
Roopaantar- Metamorphosis that uses the thin translucent papers like we made together in 2005. ...she is just awesome!!


About Town
From Robert
At the Center for Creative Photography there is an upcoming show entitled Odyssey: The Photographs of Linda Connor that I think many of you will find very interesting. I know Linda's work and this is a chance for you all to get inspired. It's also a chance to see some non digital printing. As many of you know I do alternative photographic processes myself so if you are curious about this type of image making, this is an opportunity to see some up close.
By the way I am offering an Alternative Photographic Process workshop in my studio April 15th and 16th. Try some of these processes yourself!

There will also be a lecture on Friday March 27th at 6pm by Linda at the CCP. It will be packed so get there well before 6.

March 27 — June 21, 2009

"Connor's photographs reveal the essence of her subjects, yielding a sense of timelessness while visually evoking the intangible. She uses a distinctive technique. A large-format view camera allows her to achieve remarkable clarity and rich detail. Her prints are created by direct contact of the 8x10-inch negative on printing-out paper, exposed and developed using sunlight. Toned and fixed with gold chloride, the prints have a warmth, luminosity, and delicacy seldom found in standard photographic printing."

Also are you interested in seeing original works of art of your choice from the Center for Creative Photography’s photograph collection?
Find out more about reserving a print study session

Up now at the Tucson Museum of Art
and great for those of you who are into nature photography and painting:

Trouble in Paradise: Examining Discord between Nature and Society
February 28 - June 28
Artists are looking at the beauty and the terror in the forces of nature through their honest and emotional portrayals, while sending urgent
messages to pay attention to the ravages society inflicts on the land through war and waste. This exhibition will examine a range of art in a variety... read more

You all should look into what is happening at Dinnerware ArtSpace
on an ongoing basis- they have started two new art exhibition spaces downtown. They have an ongoing call to artists for a variety of unusual and exciting exhibitions. Your work could be included! Consider joining the Central Arts Collective and show your work in their group shows. Contact David Aguirre for more info (he's nice!):


Dinnerware ArtSpace
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-5pm and by appointment.
264 E. Congress St, Tucson, AZ 85701 | ph. 520.792.4503



Catherine is honored to be included in the innovative "4th Annual Encaustic Invitational Exhibition"
at the Conrad Wilde Gallery • 210 N. 4th Ave. • Tucson, AZ 85705 • 520-622-8997
Saturday March 7th-28th.
Open Tues - Sat 11-5
more about the 4th Annual Encaustic Invitational artists
To buy a catalogue

At the
Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum Ironwood Gallery
, we both have works still up in the faculty show:
Art Institute Instructors Invitational
January 10 - March 29, 2009

About Town

From Catherine
This isn't really in Tucson, but we just changed planes in the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport en route home from India. I always love to meander through the wonderful Phoenix Airport Museum. I was delighted to find "Other Words", an inspiring show that includes both 2 and 3 dimensional works that incorporate letters or text somehow. Tucson artists Chris Rush and Herb Stratford (as well as one of my favorite book artists, Dan Mayer from Tempe,are included in this visually rich exhibition.

Read all about Herb's latest work in Margaret Regan's Tucson Weekly article

If you haven't already, you would be very fortunate to still be able to see Chris Rush's work in a superb show entitled "Translations"
at the Etherton Gallery with work by Bailey Doogen and Alice Leora Briggs. Read Margaret Regan's review

Long time Tucson artist Nancy Tokar Miller is being truly and duly celebrated in a very thorough pair of retrospectives:

At the Temple Gallery:
NANCY TOKAR-MILLER: a life envisioned through April 1st.

at the University of Arizona Museum of Art:
Nancy Tokar Miller ... In Retrospect February 19 - April 5.

"pieces of three":
Midge Angevine, Janice Angevine and Tana Jay von Isser

I have a family of friends, three generations in fact, who are showing together this month at the Artist of the Month Gallery in the Unitarian Universalist Church, at 4831 E. 22nd St. Show hours are from Monday through Friday 9am-3:30pm. Should be great! Can't wait to go...

Desert Paper, Book and Wax
Tour around the Net

Japanese Papermaking:
An Incredible Resource!
Hiromi Paper of Santa Monica, CA, has posted all their newsletters all focused on Japanese papermaking
Read "Papermaking in Echizen" by Sidney Berger
This is a village I visited and studied in during my research trip in 1987...and although that is more than 20 years ago (yikes!), they have consistently been producing handmade sheets there for ~600 years!
Hiromi Paper is my resource for synthetic formation aid, the best I have found! I have visited them numerous times in California, but I am just placing an on-line order with them for kitakata, some wonderful extremely thin papers to use embedded in encaustic wax as they become very translucent!

Artist Books:
Check out this video on book artist Roberta Lavadour from Oregon.
She creates beautiful and unique books, some based on historical bindings.

Wax and Encaustic:
These are just great! Encaustic painting instruction videos recently posted by Kathryn Bevier of Enkaustikos at the Rochester Fine Art Store: View them for free!

Keep making artwork all of you...- we need all the beauty we can get these days! All the Best- Rob Renfrow & Catherine Nash

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Encaustic and Handmade Paper

Encaustic and
Handmade Paper

Thought to post some of my latest works. I am loving encasing cast handmade paper in encaustic wax. Some can be left very translucent so as to still see the beautiful fibers, others can become a substrate for a thicker resilient coating that can be worked into.

I also love to layer very thin layers of drawn upon mulberry bark paper counting on the encaustic medium to make the paper translucent and offer a depth to the 2d is wonderful to start bringing my two worlds together!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Encaustic show at Conrad Wilde Gallery!

New workshops in papermaking, encaustics, photography and Photoshop just uploaded to for Jan-May 2009!

Although I just took down the exhibition, I have thought to post some of my encaustic paintings from my November 2008 show at the Conrad Wilde Gallery here in Tucson. Using pigmented molten waxes, encaustic painting has a long history, dating back to the 5th century b.c..

I became enamored with the media by default as I came to it through papermaking. I discovered the wonderful qualities of beeswax in 1994 when I started using wax to heighten the color of my handmade paper pulp paintings. With a colleague from Oslo, I started washing/filtering/grinding my own pigments for use as a colorant in my handmade papers. It was an easy jump to start adding the pigments directly to the wax and start painting...I have been using encaustic ever since!

I often add handmade papers to my paintings, but these from the specific show happen to be pretty straight forward paintings. I have been encasing my cast paper works in wax and lately I am also exploring the use of wax within my artist books as well.

Artist Statement
“I slump down into the thick foliage. ...In the forest, I am my
self. Everything is possible in my heart just as it is in the
places in ravines.”
-Rene Menard, Le Livre des Arbres, 1956.

Recently, I have been spending hours watching the evening sky slowly shifting color - dusk into twilight into deep night, letting gradations and atmosphere and air infiltrate my being. Finally, the brush leads me in a kind of poetic, wordless dance through the memory of space. The fleeting early evening hours and the late night rich darks are particularly cryptic, potent and profound. To navigate through them requires an innate sense of direction. Gaston Bachelard writes: “Night isolates us from earth, but it gives us back our dreams of kinship with air.”

I will be teaching encaustic painting and papermaking in my Tucson studio this coming winter spring and our new classes have just been uploaded to our site at I am very excited to be invited to give a lecture, Wax and the Artist Book: A National Survey, at the 3rd Annual Encaustic Symposium at Monteserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA in June of 2009 . I attended last year and it was incredible! I learned so much during the symposium and subsequent three days of workshops. Met some great people too. Can't wait to go back!

In July, I will be teaching at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN...taught there in 2006 and loved it! I am honored to be invited back to teach two classes:
The Paper Artist’s Dream: From High to Low Shrinkage Pulps!
from July 12th -18th 2009
& The Hot and the Cool of it: Encaustic Painting and Monotypes from July 19th -24th 2009.

Catherine Nash
New Growth 2008

encaustic painting over cast handmade mulberry bark paper boat and hand formed gampi bark paper leaves. Found tree with root ball, grafting tape, mud from the Rillito River.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

September Papermaking Workshop

Hello Everyone!

Well, we are very excited to have held the inaugural workshop in our new studio...Fine Rag and Plant Papermaking with participants from three states! We made Western style papers from cotton rag, black denim, abaca, bird of paradise, curly dock, iris and kapok...with many combinations, multiple dips, and laminations thereafter.

Participants had the opportunity to create for specific projects which included artist books, papers for editioned etchings and scrapbook pages. Fun!
What a wonderful group of participants~ Thanks to all for helping us celebrate our grand opening!

Rob is currently teaching a Photography Portfolio class, just starting up and going great. We are truly looking forward to the rest of our fall offerings. Hope you will j oin us soon~

Monday, July 14, 2008

Using Hollander Beaters: Beater Finesse

I have always loved to research and write... I find I have been doing it for over twenty years! I would like to share with you a very useful set of reference materials I've produced for The Hollander Beaters.

Beater Finesse for the Artist Regarding Beater vocabulary and techniques originally published in Hand Papermaking magazine, Vol.23/No.1, Summer 2008)

Beater Finesse, Beater Notes from 25 International Artists - A Comparative Study
Two downloadable pdfs: a 50 page e-booklet including 50 color images with a chart (printable on a large format printer...)
Both available here for a nominal charge of $15....$5 of each purchase will be donated to Hand Papermaking magazine. Donations will also be made to Mark Lander's "Critter Fundraiser".

Index of Artists:
Shannon Brock, MJ Cole, Betsy Dollar, Eileen Foti, Peter Gentenaar, Helen Hiebert, Lois James, Natan Kaaren, Michael LaFosse, Tom Leech, Margareta Mannervik, Roberto Mannino, Catherine Nash, Margaret Prentice, Brian Queen, John Risseeuw, Priscilla Robinson, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Asao Shimura, Vicky Sigwald, Gail Stiffe, Lynn Sures, Marilyn Sward, Peter and Donna Thomas, Pat Torley-Gentenaar

Table of Contents Listed by Substrate/Media:
Casting, Digital Printing/Photography, Drawing/Mixed Media, High Shrinkage Pulps, Letterpress, Artist’s Books, Origami, Lithography, Relief Printing, Etching, Pulp Painting, Pulp Spraying, Watermarks...more!

In 1983, I started making paper like all newbies, using my kitchen blender to recycle paper and "easier" plant fibers into pulp, just enthralled with the magical results. I had no idea that paper would become a life journey! So much can be done with hand pounding or a blender, (I compiled a list of blenderizable plants offered by Yahoo papermaking group members which is currently in their files on the Yahoo site). Gorgeous, thin, strong and rattley papers can be made by hand pounding Japanese barks and certain other plants in the traditional way.

Hollander beaters are machines designed to beat cloth and plant fibers into high quality pulps to make a diverse range of Western style sheets and contemporary paper art techniques. I "grew up" experimenting with a Valley beater from Voith Paper, without much instruction or guidance from 1985 through 1990, and purchased a Reina beater in 1991 from David Reina of Carriage House Paper. I later also bought a collapsible Lander beater, a Critter, when Mark Lander came to teach in Phoenix in 2000.

Even after many years of papermaking and using a Hollander, I felt that there was still so much more to learn about how one manipulates the beater to create different types of pulps. Indeed, through the years, I have experimented and designed successful pulps needed for my paper sculptures and installations. But as a teacher, I wanted to understand a beater's potential way beyond what experimenting for my own work would require in order to enable others and teach more succinctly. Since 2003, I have been buying books from the early 20th century such as Sigurd Smith's The Action of the Beater from 1927 and a couple of 1930s manuals. These were of course written for the industry and a small studio operation's contemporary requirements needed to be extrapolated from their technical texts.

At the Friends of Dard Hunter conference in Chillicothe, Ohio in October of 2006, I attended two beater workshops: a morning session given by Howie Clark and an afternoon session by Lee Scott McDonald (with Howie and Kathryn Clark, Peter Thomas, Wavell Cowan and others all answering questions and conversing above our heads). I couldn't write fast enough. I conversed with a lot of papermakers and paper artists in Chillicothe, running my idea for an article about with them and got great feedback and affirmation that it would be something of interest.

Then, with the support and article deadline from Mina Takahashi, editor of Hand Papermaking magazine, I began to pursue this in earnest, interviewing 25 international paper artists on their methods of using their Hollander beaters. My article, Beater Finesse for the Artist, first appeared in Hand Papermaking magazine in the summer of 2008 issue. The sheer volume of research for this article warranted another "publication" which I am offering here as a downloadable pdf.

Beater Finesse: 32 Beater Notes from 25 International Artists - A Comparative Study is a compilation intended to guide and inspire us in our experimentions within our own studios, rather than to be used as a recipe book. As all Hollander beaters are different, getting to know your own machine and its capabilities is the foundation from which your new work will spring.

I hope that by studying these notes, you will learn as much as I have...

Remember: rules are meant to be broken...
and that’s the fun of it!