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  • March: Resident Artist at the Women's Studio Workshop

    This month I am one of 4 artists in residence at the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY.  They host residents, interns, classes and beautiful studios for paper-based arts and ceramics.  I'll be working in their light-filled printmaking studio.  This residency is an opportunity to unplug from daily responsibilities in order to dig into a project, and it will also give me access to a printing press for the first time since moving back to Louisiana.  

    In my time here, I'll be reconciling old and new work.  In my oldest published portfolio, I created monotypes from scenes of Louisiana pageants (mardi gras, debutante balls, etc).  In contrast, my newest portfolios contain colorful silkscreen books and abstract cyanotype images.  My goal in my month at Women's Studio Workshop is to reconcile the concepts and techniques that created both.  

    The original work was motivated by a raw frustration and resistance, while the zines were created out of a sense of hope, curiosity and possibility.  I'll be experimenting with combining color and black-and-white, political and joyful, tradition and evolution, 2-D print and 3-D shape.  Wish me luck!  I'll post updates weekly.

    Also, I've been known to send drawings to people who write me letters:

    Women’s Studio Workshop
    P.O. Box 489
    Rosendale, NY 12472

  • "The days and nights are about the same now" - Puncture Zine Issue # 8 is here!

    In its first 7 issues, Puncture has folded, flipped and cut its way to tiny, touchable interactive experiences.  The series continues on fabric with issue #8, offering the chance to sew it, fold it or use it how you see fit.   The experiment is in your hands now!  Head to the zine store to pick up your very own.

    Title from a journal entry by crew member George Wardwell on an expedition to the North Pole and back in 1908. (Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum)  

  • Puncture Zine's 7th issue is here! And it's a hexaflexagon!

    It took many months longer than anticipated, but it was totally worth it for this paper, ink and storytelling experiment to come into being.  Enjoy!

    "mind like a paper trap (or) tell me a story from when you were 7"

    8-color screenprinted zine/book monster made in collaboration with Milissa Orzolek.  Get a copy here or barter (use the contact link).

  • Puncture's back with a new collaborator! Puppeteer and storyteller Milissa Orzolek joins us for an interview.

    Issue 7 of Puncture is the result of a collaboration with storyteller and puppeteer Milissa Orzolek. 
    She has a fascination with memory. How does a memory work when you're telling it for the first time? For the 15th time? Does the story change? She likes to ask people questions that dig up "pristine" memories - those that haven't been retold yet. 

    To begin our collaboration, she asked me to tell her several stories, and the one we worked with was from when I was 7. My family relocated to southern France for a Rotary convention for several weeks.  
    One day we toured the Fragonard perfume factory, and my sister and I were inspired to make some fragrance of our own. We plucked the petals from roses in our yard and put them into little jars with water, sealing them and leaving them for a week to soak up the rosy smell. When we returned to our bottles to check our work, we found that instead of perfume we had created a smelly collection of mold colonies.

    The zine's shape was inspired by ViHart's Hexaflexagon YouTube video. The opening and revealing motion felt right for this collaboration about storytelling and memory. 
    A conversation with Milissa:
    What's your favorite snowball flavor so far in life? (warmup question)
    M: too hard. how about spearmint is my favorite toothpaste flavor?
    What's the worst road to ride your bike down in New Orleans? (other warmup question)
    M: Galvez between Elysian Fields and Franklin
    Can you tell us a bit about your craft? What kind of creative work do you make?
    M: I'm a puppeteer, but I like to make lots of stuff, from screen prints to audio stories. I've been lucky in life to surround myself with incredibly talented friends who work with food, fabrics, electronics, wood, puppets, words, etc. They have been my school, my inspiration and my collaborators. 

    Do you collect any consistent type of inspiration when you're developing a show?  If so, how do you collect it?

    M: That's a practice that I should start. But I do love listening to stories. Stories about life are always a source of inspiration.

    I hear you love when people go on tangents...true?

    M: True. Tangents are the brain's spotlights. They lead you to places you didn't realize were important. 

    I also hear you really like Spongebob...also true?

    M: I'm not sure if I'd say I really like Spongebob Squarepants. I do absolutely love one episode that depicts Spongebob's brain has a giant office with file cabinets full of memories. Sometimes cartoons are genius. (Spongebob episode in question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRHL5drAkOE)

    How did you and Cat get to know each other?

    M: We met while working on Wayne White's giant puppet parade in Shreveport, Louisiana last summer.

    Did you have a structure for the collaboration or a seed idea?

    M: I wanted Cat to tell me a story. I guess, for me, everything really starts with a story. Even if it is only the story of how someone started using a certain material.

    What do you think your creative processes have in common?  What do you think differs?

    M: I think we're both open to seeing what happens. This is important because flexibility and openness to possibility is so important to collaborations. We both get excited about playing with new materials and processes.  I think Cat has a lot of confidence in the skills she has and the methods she uses and it's great to see that confidence play out in her creative process. I'm still working on that.

    Did the collaboration inspire anything new for you?

    M: Cat loves to play as part of the creative process and I want to incorporate that into my work! 
    What's your favorite part about the zine?
    M: My favorite part of the zine is how it brings up so many questions: how is it made? what's a hexaflexigon? what's the story behind the zine? how did you meet? etc. 
  • Wolfbat interlude

    This past May, in order to add more skills to my studio practice,  I worked for Wolfbat Studios (artist Dennis McNett) and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council on a project in my hometown of Shreveport, LA.   We built an interactive steamboat installation Wolfbat style.  The paddlewheel even spun thanks to a ceiling fan motor (and Josh Porter at SRAC who makes everything work better).  A few photos for ye:

  • Place/Process Exhibition March 2-April 10

    (Images: "We Watched the Water Cathedral Build and Dismantle Itself*", cyanotype, Catherine Nelson / "Presence", woodcut, Andrea Krupp)

    *Title from the poem "Michael: A Sequence" by Robert Herschbach, published in Painted Bride Quarterly, Print Annual 6

    Announcing the opening of Place/Process, a two-person show awarded by the Free Library of Philadelphia's Print and Picture Collection!  We are honored and excited to share our newest work with you in this inspiring building.  Come celebrate the opening with us on March 7 from 2-4pm.  The exhibition will showcase cyanotypes (analog photos of drawings) from my first months in New Orleans and prints and paintings by Andrea Krupp from her recent residency in Iceland.  

    Statement:

    Catherine Nelson is an artist delving into the intersection of printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture and photography.  Her newest body of work is motivated by a sense of wonder at the everyday: a hole in a wall opens into to a wild cave, a crack in the sidewalk morphs into a nebula in another galaxy, sap crawling down a tree gives way to a volcanic eruption.  Her prints build up through improvisation with materials, leveraging the power of printmaking to repeat and expand on imagery.   Nelson also hand-prints a monthly zine called “Puncture” to experiment with and trade new ideas. Currently she is exploring how movement in a drawing can shape a book.  She lives and works in New Orleans.

  • DIY studio setup in New Orleans

    This October I moved my studio.  I moved from a divine setup at Sharktown Studios in Philadelphia (shared studio with access down the hall to print collective BYOPrint) that was 2 blocks from home to a warehouse 15 minutes by car from my new home in New Orleans.  All so that I could be driving distance from my family.  I left beautiful communities in printmaking and frisbee behind and drove 1200 miles with life in boxes.  I don't need to tell you what a scary transtition that was and is.  It makes me vulnerable in lots of ways, but I couldn't stand the idea of missing my siblings and cousins indefinitely, so here we go, let's make it work!

    When I moved into my new space there was no print setup, no heat, and no windows in the new space.  My raw space looked like this:

    Picking a studio is a balance of light, space, people and (for printmaking) access to equipment.  I looked all over New Orleans, and the people at Corridor Studios stood out so much that I bypassed all of the other things on the checklist & chose to move in there, meaning I had a lot of building out to do.  After benefitting from collective workspaces for so many years, it felt good to learn how to set up my own equipment with what we had around.

    The darkroom came first - it's kind of a fort of moving blankets and contractor bags under my work table.  I crawl in and coat my screens, put them in a little compartment in the back, and crawl out until they're dry.  It's definitely not sustainable on the knees/back, but it's a start!

    Next came the washout.  My get-it-done studio mate Gabe modified a plastic sink so I could wash out while standing & installed shower curtains to control the spray.  We then installed a garden hose & voila!

  • New Orleans Comics and Zines Festival (NOCAZ) this weekend!

    Puncture is going to its second zine fair! We'll be at NOCAZ this Saturday, Nov 15 from 11AM-5PM at the New Orleans Public Library's Main Branch - 219 LOYOLA AVE (DIRECTIONS) (FACEBOOK EVENT)  Come by and see what we've made!

    "NOCAZ is an attempt to make a space for self published artists and thinkers to put their work out in the public sphere and be able to reach other people without the constraints and expense of the commercial publishing industry. Zines are a participatory format and we hope bringing multiple perspectives together under one roof can create dialogue and inspire more people to express themselves through print. We would also like to see more of this D.I.Y. spirit in the world of comics and hopefully make space for sharing knowledge and celebrating work that is existing outside of the tired narratives of mainstream comics and pushing the medium to new limits. And all of this happening at the public library? What a dream!"

    Full schedule:

    THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13TH:REAL TALK ZINE READING AT THE MID-CITY LIBRARY, 7PM-9PM

    1800 ORLEANS AVE (DIRECTIONS) (FACEBOOK EVENT)

    FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14TH- YOUR FRIENDS MAKE COMICS: NOCAZ EDITION

    PERFORMANCE-BASED COMIC AND ZINE READING, 7PM-?

    614 GRAVIER (DIRECTIONS) (FACEBOK EVENT)

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15TH- DAYTIME TABLING AT THE MAIN BRANCH LIBRARY!  11AM-5PM

    219 LOYOLA AVE (DIRECTIONS) (FACEBOOK EVENT)

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15TH- DANCE PARTY ATHANDSOME WILLY'S! (21+), 9PM-??

    218 S. ROBERTSON (DIRECTIONS)

  • In the studio: 3rd Issue of Puncture Zine

    Guest contributor Robbie Beamer is a man of many talents.  Rocking out as the drummer in the bands Solid Bronze Hits, Doom Whore, Sunset Recorder and more, plus some filming/photography for Noface Performance Group and a million other projects I can't even keep track of.  For the 3rd issue of the zine Puncture, he's made us a flow chart titled "Daily Decisions of my 9 Year Old Self."  Find a copy at the Resource Exchange or Buzz Cafe as of this First Friday, September 5, or email me to mail you one.  $5.

  • Exhibition photo teaser, "Engagement & Entrapment"

    This past week I traveled to Tel Aviv to install and open the show "Engagement & Entrapment" curated by the incredibly intelligent UK artist Diana Ali and hosted by artist collective Binyamin Gallery.  The week yielded a surreal mix of normal life and wartime tension.  More to come about the trip.  For now, here's a peek at the gallery space.

  • Fibers!

    My quest for self-education outside of a formal art school degree ironically led me back to school for an intensive fibers course with Philadelphia artist Chrissy Day.  Her pace was near breakneck (we did this all in a week!) and extremely thorough, covering felting, a range of dye techniques and weaving.  Here's a sampling of my work from the class.