HOT off the Presses….or something like that!

Laura's Working Table

Dear Tina & friends~

As you know from my recent post I have been “mixing it up” in the studio with a little printmaking. After MANY experiments and a lot of creative play I have several new pieces ready for the Opening “Printemps” this friday at the Cate Charles Gallery. I am definately not what you would consider your “traditional printmaker” that’s for sure, but I did learn a lot  by merging traditional block printing techniques into this new work.

here are two of the blocks I carved that I used for texture and pattern

I started sketching simple, organic shapes knowing I wanted to create a pattern. I then printed them on many swatches of painted papers until I got the right color (see the squares in the picture below). Once I got the right color I collaged vintage book pages onto a cradled wood panel, glazed it and then printed on top to create the pattern.

building up the layers

The old book pages are meant to create a sense of nostalgia as well as give texture to the piece. The bright colored flowers emerged as I sketched in my sketch journal and allowed my mind to meander back to the time I spent at my magical cottage in NH. When I first moved to the cottage and started my garden there so many of my friends were generous and shared flowers from their gardens with me. Each one reminds me of their friendship even to this day. The black eyed susan’s are still one of my favorite summer flowers. I love how they can make any bouquet feel so wild and fun. My garden here in CT is currently bursting with life and I am in awe as I watch all of my carefully planted bulbs explode to life. It makes all that effort in the fall so worth it!

"Dance in the Sunshine of the Day" mixed media block print, 12" x 12" ©Laura Gaffke 2012

I ended up carving a dragonfly block, individually printing each one and then hand painting the details on top. Dragonflies have fascinated me for some time and I started to notice them being around me all the time. Usually when I start to notice things like this I know it is time to pay attention and follow my curiosity. This led me to research dragonflies and there meaning. I discovered that they serve as a “spirit guide” or “totem animal” for me and learned how their symbolism relates to my life. Here is a little smidgen of my research. Whether you believe in them or not I think a lot can be learned by paying attention to the things happening in our lives. Maybe you have a totem animal of your own?


By theherbivorehippi

For as many cultural meanings there are for Dragonflies, there are just as many symbol meanings of the strong winged insect. The main symbolism are renewal, positive force and power of life in general with a sense of self that comes with maturity. The Dragonfly is a creature of the wind so it’s only fitting that it represents change. They skitter across the water surface implying that our deeper thoughts are surfacing. We are reminded that when our deeper thoughts rise we must also pay close attention to what is deeper than what’s on the surface.

The Dragonfly’s colors are a result of reflecting the power of light so they are associated with color magic or an illusion in causing others only to see what you want them to see. They remind us that we are made of light and we can reflect light in powerful ways if we choose to. They symbolize going past self created illusions that limit our growing and changing and being a creature of water they carry a symbol of dreaming and thoughts.

The most popular answer of dragonfly symbolism is the sense of self that comes with maturity and there’s a strong link to them and butterflies since they both represent change. Dragonflies are a creature that you learn to appreciate as you age and look more deeply at your life, which is where the link to change and self appreciation comes in. As we age we don’t just see the surface of things, we start to pick apart our lives and see more meaning in things. No matter what symbol you see in the insect, the fact is that the dragonfly lives a short life and lives it’s life to the fullest which is the strongest lesson we can learn from them overall.


I would be truly delighted to share this piece with you in person! If you are in the area I hope you will stop by the gallery for the opening reception this friday, April 6th from 5-8pm and tell me what you think. The show runs for the month of April so if you pop in another time please be sure to let me know which piece was your favorite!

Sending creativity & love your way…Laura


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