On Saturday, Sept. 28, Debby Stratford, of Louisville, will demonstrate linoleum block printmaking, cutting images into linoleum blocks and printing them with a small press, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
Printmaking is the result of marks made into a surface to be printed. That surface can be metal, stone, wood, linoleum, cardboard or even plastic foam. Printmakers refer to the surface as a plate. Relief prints like Stratford makes, are created by carving into or gouging out the surface of a linoleum block. The carved surface is covered with ink using a brayer or roller, and then paper is placed onto the surface and pressed by hand or with a printing press. The resulting image or print is usually numbered in an edition. Rather than transferring her prepared image with carbon paper, Stratford draws directly onto her linoleum block surface, resulting in prints that look more like drawings.
“Beginning in first grade, I taught art to my classmates and I fell in love with printmaking in high school. My philosophy has always been that to teach art, you have to make art,” Stratford said. “So, for years, I have been teaching in the daytime and printing during breaks from school.”
Now retired from teaching, Stratford pursues printmaking full time in her studio.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Stratford completed her degree in art education from Edinboro State College and went on to teach art in the Pennsylvania public schools. Her father, an ornamental iron artisan, moved to Louisville in 1977 to set up a metal shop. Stratford and her husband also moved to Louisville, where she taught art and studied with printmaker John Whitesel at the University of Louisville. Stratford received her Master of Arts degree in teaching in 1984.
Prints by Stratford are regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, located at 200 Artisan Way, just off Interstate 75 at Berea, Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily, year-round, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the cafe is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.