“The Art of Wayzgoose:” University Gallery exhibit previews upcoming art festival

Originally published in The Mooring Mast March 21, 2014

The University Gallery is displaying a sneak peek at some pieces for the upcoming art festival Wayzgoose.

“The Art of Wayzgoose,” which opened March 12 and runs through April 9, showcases prints from various artists that will be on display at the annual Tacoma printed arts festival April 27.

Wayzgoose is an annual celebration of the printed arts held at King’s Books in Tacoma.

“It’s a great chance to see what people are doing,” Sweet Pea, owner of King’s Books and Wayzgoose co-organizer, said. “It gives people exposure to the different arts.”

This year’s festival will include 30 tables with local artists and organizations, hands-on activities and the opportunity to steamroll prints in the parking lot, Sweet Pea said.

The name, Wayzgoose, comes from an old-fashioned term for a festival when printers would come together and celebrate the summer harvest with prints and festivities, Jessica Spring, Pacific Lutheran University resident artist, said. Spring is a co-organizer of Wayzgoose.

Unlike other mediums, printmaking is unique because it’s very labor intensive, and printmakers often form a community, Craig Cornwall, PLU resident assistant professor of art and design, said.

Cornwall estimated it takes about 50 hours to complete a print, from start to finish. He said between six and eight students worked for several hours each on the piece “Road Narrows,” which is on display in the University Gallery and the Anderson University Center.

“Why in the world would you go to all that trouble to carve that great big thing?” Cornwall said.

Resident artist Jessica Spring recalled an instance when one art student was studying away in London and was injured. At the hospital, she was talking to a nurse and found out they were both printmakers. There was an instant connection.

“That’s the kind of community that you have,” Spring said. “If you run into a fellow printmaker in another country, you’re instantly best friends.”

“Other mediums aren’t like that,” Cornwall said.

To create a print, artists carve out a design on large linoleum blocks. They paint or ink over the block and press it onto a piece of paper, like a stamp. The original design must be carved into the block backwards, because the image reverses when it is transferred onto the paper.

The technique dates back to the 1500s, when prints were commonly used to make playing cards and pictures of saints, Cornwall said.

All of the students in Cornwall’s printmaking class will be involved. They are working on designing and carving images for Wayzgoose, and during the festival itself, they will be in charge of inking. Students from Spring’s graphic design and book art courses will also be there.

Despite the labor-intensive process involved, Cornwall described printmaking as addicting. “The marks that you get — you can’t do that any other way.”

Tacoma Wazygoose
King’s Books
218 St. Helens Ave.

April 27, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Event is free and open to the public


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