Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alabama Book Festival 2011

I drove to Montgomery, Alabama yesterday to spend the day at the Alabama Book Festival.

Two of my favorite authors, Sonia Sanchez and Wayne Greenhaw, were presenting. I love this photo that I took of Sista Sonia as she was autographing her book shake loose my skin. The inscription reads: To Sister Debra- Walk your intelligence and beauty across this country, my dear sister. I've read the poetry of Sonia Sanchez since my undergrad days at Howard University. Gosh, how long ago was that? Sonia Sanchez is a treasure.

There were a few other names on the list of presenters who I wanted to hear: Rick Bragg, Natalie Chanin and Marc Smirnoff. Marc is the founder and editor of the Oxford American magazine. I was commissioned to create a linoleum block relief print for the December 2010 publication -12th Annual Southern Music Issue. Before Marc spoke, I was able to hand him a Sista Gertrude print; the impression that I made to accompany the December article written by Nicholas Rombes.

I'll close this entry with apk jr's striking red, white and blue posters. Genius.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gordo, Alabama

"Come to Gordo," he said. And, I did.

A couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to have received a personal invite from Amos to visit his letterpress shop. So last Sunday, around 8am, I filled up the gas tank grabbed a mug of caffeine and headed west to Gordo. Anyone and everyone interested in letterpress printing, relief printmaking or book arts can tell you that spending time in Amos' shop is something that you MUST experience at some point in your art career. You can find plenty of stories and blogs on the internet about Amos and his letterpress shop. Do so at your leisure. Fun stuff.

Gordo, is a dusty little town 26 miles west of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and 37 miles east of Columbus, Mississippi. I've been there several times but this was my first trip this year.

It was a day of meeting new faces and socializing with old friends. I had a bite to eat with Kathy Fetters and Glenn House, Sr. Sat with them at their kitchen table and enjoyed a cornucopia of delicious vegetables that Glenn had cooked. My Mississippi country girl persona came out because I immediately plated up the rutabagas and cabbage. I could have sat there all afternoon eating veggies but I was polite and limited my serving. Sopped up a bit of the pot likka' with a corner of skillet cornbread and washed it all down with a glass of sweet tea. It was sooo good. All of us took a slow stroll back to the shop where Amos was working with a technician on a new press. Later, he too cooked up a delicious meal for those of us in attendance. Yes, Amos can cook. I decided to create a special print for my friend; just a small token of appreciation for a really great day. It took about five days to cut, print and ship.

The linoleum impression is printed on chipboard. It's approximately 12 x 18 inches; black relief ink, colored pencil and the words are lettercut by hand. The print will never be offered for sale but I think I nailed the image, don't you?? The title reads: "tribute for my friend, amos, the humble negro printer"

He loves it.

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