Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Stanford University workshop at Magnolia

Students from Stanford University's SIMILE program at Magnolia Editions in October, 2014.

Undergraduates from Stanford University's SIMILE program, an intensive program in which students explore the history of science and technology, visited Magnolia Editions this weekend for an intensive three-part workshop.

Photos of the event below were taken by Era Farnsworth, who coordinated the workshops with SIMILE assistant director Kristen Haring.

Nicholas Price and Donald Farnsworth with students from Stanford University's SIMILE program

After a quick tour of the studio's latest mixed-media innovations and print techniques, workshop participants learned to use raw materials to fabricate their own handmade ink, pens, and paper under the guidance of Magnolia's own Donald Farnsworth, Tallulah Terryll, Nicholas Price, and Heather Pratt, with additional demonstrations by artist Guy Diehl, book binder extraordinaire John DeMerritt, book artist Clifton Meador, and expert calligrapher Georgiana Greenwood.

Haring, together with Stanford professors Paula Findlen and Reviel Netz and SIMILE program lecturers Marcelo Aranda and Katherine McDonough, brought the group of more than fifty students to the studio in late October, just before Halloween. Appropriately, participants had the chance to grind their own inks from charred pig bones and oak gall, giving everyone an opportunity to get into the spirit of the season.

Oak gall, used in ink-making; photo by Guy Diehl

Tallulah Terryll with students from Stanford's SIMILE program, making ink at Magnolia Editions in October 2014

Oak gall, ground up and used in ink-making

Students from Stanford's SIMILE program making ink at Magnolia Editions

Students from Stanford's SIMILE program making ink at Magnolia Editions

Students from Stanford's SIMILE program, making ink at Magnolia Editions in October 2014

Tallulah Terryll with students from Stanford's SIMILE program, making ink at Magnolia Editions in October 2014

Painting by Guy Diehl: coffee black pigment made at Magnolia Editions

Pigments made at Magnolia Editions, September 2014

Meanwhile, John DeMerritt and visiting photographer/book guru Clifton Meador supervised a demonstration of basic book binding and stitching techniques in Magnolia's front workroom.

Students from Stanford University's SIMILE program with John DeMerritt and Clifton Meador at Magnolia Editions

SIMILE students try some bookbinding techniques at Magnolia Editions

Heather Pratt at a bookbinding workshop at Magnolia Editions

In the back room where Magnolia's framing and wood working usually take place, Guy Diehl helped the students create their own handmade ink pens out of bamboo, while Georgiana Greenwood used the newly fabricated pens to demonstrate some calligraphy techniques.

Guy Diehl with students from Stanford University's SIMILE program at Magnolia Editions

Made by Guy Diehl at Magnolia Editions; photo by Guy Diehl

Made by Guy Diehl at Magnolia Editions; photo by Guy Diehl

Georgiana Greenwood demonstrates calligraphy to SIMILE students at Magnolia Editions

And in Magnolia's handmade paper studio, Donald Farnsworth discussed the science of handmade paper and led a workshop in creating paper from raw pulp.

Donald Farnsworth with students from Stanford University's SIMILE program

Donald Farnsworth with students from Stanford University's SIMILE program

Heather Pratt with students from Stanford University's SIMILE program

Don Farnsworth, Heather Pratt, Clifton Meador and John DeMerritt in Magnolia Editions's handmade paper studio

Magnolia Editions would like to thank Kristen Haring and all at SIMILE for identifying Magnolia as a destination for students of scientific innovation, providing yet more evidence that science and the arts are simply two sides of the same coin. Haring tells us that the students will use the materials they made at Magnolia to produce their own medieval-style codices as a means to consider how scientific knowledge was transmitted over the centuries.

Thanks also go to the terrific group from Stanford for their enthusiastic participation!

Stanford students grinding handmade inks at Magnolia Editions, October 2014

To be notified of upcoming events and workshops, stay tuned to this blog and be sure to sign up for Magnolia Editions's mailing list here.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ramos Superheroines Up Next

Mel Ramos - Superman, 2014. 37 x 26.75 in. Edition of 30

The response to Mel Ramos's Superman and Batman woodcut/acrylic editions has been tremendous!

Revisiting some of his earliest Pop Art paintings and released only four months ago, Ramos's superhero prints proved to be especially popular with his European audience; only seven sets were acquired by American collectors, while the rest were speedily dispatched overseas.

The Sacramento-born Ramos lives and works in Oakland, where he is equally well-loved: a Batman print donated to Flourish, an annual art auction held locally to benefit the Oakland Art Murmur organization, sold before auction at a price well over retail.

Mel Ramos - Batman, 2014. 37 x 26.75 in. Edition of 30

Magnolia director Donald Farnsworth credits the artist's commitment to broadening the scope of his practice, as well as the innovative hybrid techniques perfected by the staff at Magnolia: "Having worked with Mel for twenty years," Farnsworth says, "he has been consistently fearless in diving in to tapestry, digital/analog print combinations, and the variety of mad science experiments he is presented with at Magnolia."

Farnsworth also points to the unusual intersection of content and technique from multiple generations that coalesces in Superman and Batman. "In these prints," he explains, "we're using an Old World woodcut matrix – but the content is classic Pop Art, and the artist is using digital-age tools to manipulate the composition and direct the cutting of the wood block."

Judging from the extraordinary response to these editions, Ramos's heroes are still able to profoundly affect their audience more than half a century since Ramos decided to paint his favorite comic book characters in 1962 and Pop Art was born.

Magnolia Editions and the artist also donated a Superman print to San Francisco's M.H. de Young Museum, which in 2004 acquired the iconic 1962 canvas upon which Superman (2014) is based:

Mel Ramos - Superman, 1962. Oil on canvas. 45 x 32.5 inches

“It is the most historically significant Pop Art painting in our permanent collection,” noted de Young Curator of American Art Timothy Burgard in this excellent 2012 magazine profile of Ramos.

Besides signaling the beginning of Pop Art, Ramos's early superheroes also marked an important transition in the artist's subject matter. Once the de Kooning-inspired abstractions of his art school days gave way to the unambiguous figuration of Superman and Batman, it was only a matter of time (less than a year, in fact -- cf. 1962's Phantom Lady and Wonder Woman) before Ramos began painting superheroines, which ultimately led to the colorful female nudes for which he is best known.

Accordingly, the artist is currently working on a new set of woodcut editions that will revisit the superheroines of his Pop Art past. Stay tuned to this blog for details, or sign up for the Magnolia Editions mailing list.

For more details on the Batman and Superman woodcut editions, please see this press release:

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Japanese Papermaking class in October

Custom watermark moulds fabricated using Magnolia's 3-D printer

On October 4th, Carol Brighton’s popular Japanese Papermaking class returns to our recently renovated paper studio! Please reserve your spot by emailing papermagnolia@hotmail.com, and don't hesitate to pass this info on to anyone you know who might be curious about how paper is made.
  • Japanese Papermaking with instructor Carol Brighton will meet on Saturday, Oct. 4 from 10 am to 4 pm:
    Japanese paper (washi) is world famous for its beauty and strength. Learn to make traditional washi step-by-step from cooking and beating the fibers to sheet formation and drying. We will make sheets on sugetas (Japanese moulds) and Western style moulds, learn to laminate inclusions in collage, and explore other techniques for decorative papers. Students are encouraged to bring items to use as inclusions such as dried flowers, lace, fabric, or printed papers that will not bleed when wet.

    Instructor Carol Brighton is an artist whose handmade paper expertise is evident in her printmaking and pulp paintings. Her latest paper works, many made during a recent visit to the Awagami Factory in Japan, can be seen in an upcoming exhibition at the UC Faculty club in September. Brighton recently retired from teaching papermaking at the Academy of Art and now conducts private workshops at Magnolia and in her own studio.
Photo by Michelle Wilson from her most recent papermaking workshop in Magnolia Editions

Classes will be limited to 8 participants each, so early reservations are recommended. Your place will be considered reserved once we have received your payment.

The fee for each workshop is $160 per person; materials will be provided at no additional cost. Each participant will also receive a free copy of Donald Farnsworth’s book A Guide To Japanese Papermaking (while supplies last).


(A note on cancelled reservations: cancellations will be refunded in full if made at least three days before the class, or if we can fill your spot. Cancellations occuring within three days before class that cannot be filled will be given a 25% refund.)
Again, to reserve a place in these workshops, please email papermagnolia@hotmail.com.

Handmade paper with custom Magnolia watermark

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Monday, June 30, 2014

"Way Out West" Takes Over Advertising Space In SF


Magnolia Editions is pleased to team with San Francisco's Art City Project for "Way Out West," a public art exhibition that will take over outdoor advertising spaces in the city's Inner Mission neighborhood for six weeks beginning July 7th.

This month-long exhibition will replace advertising on billboards, transit shelters, and buses with imagery by artists. Magnolia Editions will partner with Art City to create limited edition prints and multiples by many of the participating artists, which will be sold to raise funds for "Way Out West."

"Way Out West" artist Zio Ziegler and Donald Farnsworth at Magnolia Editions


Farnsworth prepares a Ziegler image for printing


Zio Ziegler with print on papyrus at Magnolia Editions

The opening reception for "Way Out West" will be held at Heron Arts on July 17th, 2014 from 7 pm to 11 pm, where the original works and limited edition prints will be available for sale. For more information on purchasing tickets, please visit www.helloartcity.com or check out the event on Facebook. If you can't make the opening reception, you can still show your support by purchasing prints directly through the Art City Project.

As part of the exhibition, "Mission School" favorite Chris Johanson will be taking over MUNI bus advertisements, creating new interior and exterior pieces inspired by his personal experiences with the city's current social temperature. Double Zero, a collaborative duo made of Annie Vought and Hannah Ireland, are conducting an interactive campaign to encourage strangers to tell stories and interact with one another through a telephone hotline. San Francisco-inspired work by three artists from Creativity Explored, a local non-profit that helps artists with disabilities, will replace all of the advertising on a MUNI bus.

Double Zero at Magnolia Editions


Apex and Alicia McCarthy with Donald Farnsworth at Magnolia Editions


Other artists taking part in "Way Out West" include Brett Amory, Apex, Pakayla Rae Biehn, Anthony Discenza, Jeremy Fish, Casey Gray, Desirée Holman, Jet Martinez, Alicia McCarthy, Alia Penner, Andrew Schoultz, Dave Schubert, Jen Stark, and Zio Ziegler. The exhibition is curated by Tova Lobatz and Jenny Sharaf.

Donald and Era Farnsworth write:
The Art City Project gives us an opportunity to put the latest technologies in printing and fabrication in the hands of a new wave of West Coast artists, and to bring the environment of discovery that we strive for in the studio directly to the streets. By replacing billboard advertising with contemporary art — and by giving artists access to techniques beyond what’s sold in stores — we can continue to shift the cultural focus away from corporations and big business toward dreamers, pioneers, and creative explorers.

Above: examples of billboard and advertising sites where Hello Art City will place public art


Print on gold leaf by Jet Martinez at Magnolia Editions


Jet Martinez and Donald Farnsworth at Magnolia Editions

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Friday, May 23, 2014

New Editions: Woodcuts by Mel Ramos

Mel Ramos - Superman, 2014. 37 x 26.75 in. Edition of 30

Following the Mel Ramos retrospective that traveled across seven major European museums in 2010-2011 to celebrate Ramos’s 75th birthday and on the occasion of Batman’s 75th birthday this year, it seems only fitting that Magnolia Editions revisit the iconic superhero paintings that started Ramos on the road to becoming one of Pop Art’s most recognizable figures.

Mel Ramos - Batman, 2014. 37 x 26.75 in. Edition of 30

The artist worked closely with Magnolia director Donald Farnsworth and Bay Area realist painter and frequent Magnolia collaborator Guy Diehl to develop the wood block matrices and the corresponding layers of acrylic color for each print. Ramos is well known for his color lithograph editions (a 2006 lithograph revisited Superman) but these prints represent an unusual and bold move toward woodcut — a very different print medium and one which Ramos had rarely explored before this project.

Detail view of the woodblock matrix for Superman

For full details about the production of these two new editions, please read the press release at Magnolia's website:


More art by Mel Ramos at Magnolia Editions

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Magnolia featured in Oakland Art Enthusiast

Kiki Smith tapestry proofs at Magnolia Editions, Oakland, CA; photo by Al Cosio

After a recent visit to Magnolia Editions, Oakland Art Enthusiast editors Monique Delaunay and Al Cosio interviewed Magnolia co-founder and director Donald Farnsworth for an "Arts in Depth" feature in the online magazine that includes a series of beautiful photos by Cosio of the studio and works in progress.

Ceramic works by Chuck Close at Magnolia Editions, Oakland, CA; photo by Al Cosio

This comprehensive interview covers everything from Farnsworth's philosophy when developing projects with artists like Chuck Close and Kiki Smith to a consideration of Oakland's art scene and the ways that Magnolia serves as a hub for a whole community of Bay Area artists and art lovers:
OAE: Are there particular projects you are especially proud of being a part? Any particular artist with whom you have worked that is particularly meaningful?

Farnsworth: What is more important to me than any one particular artist, and what is ultimately the foremost reason for Magnolia’s existence and continued survival, is the community we have built here. Without the brilliance of local artists like Squeak Carnwath, Rupert Garcia, Hung Liu, Lewis deSoto, Guy Diehl, Mel Ramos, Mildred Howard, Mark Stock, Enrique Chagoya and George Miyasaki, we would not have the studio we have today. Without the support of museums like the de Young, where curator Karin Breuer honored the studio and Rupert Garcia in 2011 with the show
Rupert Garcia: The Magnolia Editions Projects 1991-2011, surveying our twenty years of collaboration with Rupert, and without the continued support of friends like the Bay Wolf restaurant and Brown Sugar Kitchen we would not have the opportunities to do what we do. Magnolia sometimes serves as a de facto think tank, where a master bookbinder like John DeMerritt may drop in at the same time as an expert glass artist like Dorothy Lenehan or a brilliant curator and scholar like Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz. Ideas and enthusiasm are constantly being exchanged between people from various creative disciplines: that’s the heart and soul of the studio.

Proofs of new Mel Ramos woodcut editions at Magnolia Editions, Oakland, CA; photo by Al Cosio

Please visit Oakland Art Enthusiast to read the full interview and to check out more profiles of local galleries, exhibitions and artists.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Works on handmade paper from Awagami Factory

Extra large sheets of washi being made at Awagami Factory in Tokushima, Japan for Chuck Close prints at Magnolia Editions; photos by Craig Anczelowitz

Proof of a watercolor print by Chuck Close on custom-made Awagami handmade paper

Detail of proof by Chuck Close on Awagami handmade paper

Recently, Magnolia received a generous offer from the Awagami Factory in Tokushima, Japan. Magnolia has been printing on Awagami paper for many years; in 2014, on the occasion of the Southern Graphics Council's 42nd annual conference here in the Bay Area, Craig Anczelowitz and Aya Fujimori of Awagami reached out to our Oakland studio about providing paper for new projects to be shown during the conference.


The Awagami paper mill has a remarkable history spanning seven generations of traditional washi papermakers; they now produce a variety of exceptional handmade papers, including washi types that are specially formulated for inkjet printing.

The mill sent samples of dozens of different kinds of washi to Magnolia, where we distributed them to interested (and interesting) artists. William T. Wiley used his samples to create new year's cards; Hung Liu hand painted a small rat in sumi ink on each sample (these irresistible miniature paintings can currently be seen at Magnolia). After Liu and other artists such as Bob Nugent, Mary Hull Webster, and Mildred Howard each made their own selection of papers with richly varying degrees of texture, weight, and opacity, Awagami generously bundled and shipped the papers to us from Tokushima, and the artists immediately set to work printing, drawing, painting, and even sewing on the sheets of handmade washi.

The resulting works are as wonderfully eclectic as the Magnolia community itself, ranging from the solid, woody naturalism of Bob Nugent's prints mounted on panel to the intimate ink painting of Buddha's hand fruits by Hung Liu to the seductive surrealism of Mary Hull Webster's ghostly, colorful portrait prints.

A 2014 print on Awagami handmade paper by Mildred Howard, published by Magnolia Editions

Mildred Howard's series of Gold Dust prints on Awagami paper incorporate black-and-white portraits of the artist into the design of an early 20th-century box of washing powder; the appealingly tactile grayscale texture of Howard's braided dreadlocks and her Miles Davis-esque stance (facing away from the viewer) introduce new elements -- arresting, unexpected, and quietly subversive -- into the archaic Gold Dust packaging, into which the artist has also embedded subtle new details including Booker T. Washington half dollars and Sacajawea dollar coins.

We encourage interested parties to visit Magnolia where you can see these works, many of which are still on display here, and can also check out samples of Awagami paper for your own projects. And of course, make sure to keep in touch with Awagami Factory via their website.

Magnolia continues to partner with Awagami on upcoming projects: currently, Awagami Factory is creating custom washi for new watercolor prints by Chuck Close, as seen in the photos above. These works incorporate custom made paper and custom ICC color profiles developed specifically for the washi being used.

To Craig, Aya, and everyone at Awagami – we sincerely thank you for your generosity in sharing your seven generations' worth of papermaking brilliance with our studio!

More art by Mildred Howard from Magnolia Editions

More art by Hung Liu from Magnolia Editions

More art by Bob Nugent from Magnolia Editions

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