July 18 Memoir
by Hannah Wockner

I will never forget July 18th, 2015 and the ruckus we caused outside the old train station in Val-David, Quebec. The sight of a steamroller rolling over enormous woodcut blocks amid a crowd of excited printmakers and enthusiastic spectators is branded in my memory.

After almost a year of preparation, the event taking place, felt surreal. We had devoted many Sundays to coordinating the project at Concordia, under Bonnie’s direction. We were busy sourcing material, finding funding, seeking publicity, testing supplies, allotting studio time, enjoying artist demos and figuring out logistics of transport to Val-David. We learned how to treat, carve and edition-print these large sheets of plywood, adapting our designs as we went along. No small task. It was a whole new ball game to print using a steamroller. Not to mention the steamroller test date that had us biting our nails over the many trials undertaken to figure out how much backing and ink was needed between the heavy drum and wooden blocks. We finally found the right solution to make beautiful prints, and create a rewarding live experience..

Even though it was expected to thunder and shower on the special day, the clouds held out. There were periods of spitting as our printing teams ran back and forth (groups were divided in the spirit of industrial labor) working constantly, to give every single artist; the chance to unveil their own print to the crowd.

It was wonderful to watch the mixture of nervousness and excitement as each helped to peel their paper off the block and hold it up to reveal their print. There was also the surprise of seeing what the local artists of Atelier de l’île had created; since each community had mostly worked separately until the week of the event.

After the 40th print, the atmosphere was ecstatic. Ink-covered hugs, group photos, cold beer and ukulele sing-a-longs topped off the day. As one of the twenty students, I felt so lucky to see this project come so far and to meet the artists of Val-David, who invited us to join in their anniversary celebration. Their generosity in hosting us and the potlucks that took place created a real sense of collaboration that was just as important as the festival.

Brin de folie

by Marie-France Bertrand

Autour du Rouleau Compresseur
Chiquita toute blanche mouillée
d’une nuit de pluie
Douceur du temps gris
Des rires au loin Ines, Armen
Kristina, Hannah, Nico…
You’ve got to take a picture of that!
Ils se balancent insouciants
… l’attente vêtue de joie
Chiquita la mascotte
court de l’un à l’autre
goûte aux caresses
virevolte dans ce matin d’été
à Val David
… l’attente un temps de partage
entre des êtres unis par la passion
Busy hands open heart
Muni d’une aiguille et de perles
un ruban de fleurs apparait au fil du partage
L’amour, l’amitié au rendez-vous
facile de communiquer dans l’attente
du temps pour écouter, apprendre des uns des autres
Sous le signe de la sérénité le tâtonnement de l’impression
offre tant de solutions,
40 ideas we have to classify and try to apply one by one
À l’œuvre l’homme du rouleau compresseur
et sa minuscule équipe font, défont, replacent, ajoutent…
sur le Chemin du nord
La gare organise son intérieur
à l’extérieur sur la pelouse
des tentes de roulage d’encre,
de nettoyage de matrices
L’attente offre des instants magiques
comme la virée à la Rivière du Nord
Elle chante si fort cette rivière
Muni de son écheveau l’artiste file sa soie
marche, s’assoit, savoure cet état de nature
il le dépose, escalade la roche précambrienne
au milieu de la rivière, il savoure
Et le temps s’immobilise…