Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Aug 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Cutting Edge

artfile printBridget Heny’s printmaking metaphysics

Madonnas and hangmen, lilies and hunters, drowning maidens and con artists—such archetypal imagery saturates the woodcut prints made by Bridget Henry. Her themes seem channeled from dreams. Or inspired by the coastal setting of her studio. A loose collection of vintage buildings, Campo Verde lies between artichoke fields and the ocean. Romantically ramshackle yet carefully painted, polished and restored, it is not only the sweet remains of a wild coast hippie zeitgeist, but also the setting where Henry, one among several artist residents, makes her work. A specialist in reduction woodcuts, Henry's richly inked prints are loaded with inspiration from Jungian archetypes, folkloric archaeology, and the odd Tom Waits song.

"I was always attracted to old woodcuts," Henry says."I quickly realized that this was my language."

In a converted washroom of former migrant-worker housing Henry draws, sands, carves, and prints the wooden blocks that form the foundation of her work. In the center of the space is the etching press, the key to all of her results. "I saved up for it," she says proudly. Holding up a work in progress—a fisherman in a tree casting his net for a giant fish waiting below—Henry explains her process. Once satisfied with an initial drawing, she transfers it to the surface of the wood. Carefully registering printing paper with wooden surface she rolls on the first color. "The background comes first." Then she carves again into the wood, leaving uncut the surface she wants printed in the next color. Pulled through the press, the paper now has two colors of the design on its surface. Henry carves the next phase. Mixing inks on a slab of glass, she will apply the third color to the woodcut surface using hard rubber rollers, re-register the original sheets of paper, and roll the prints through the press again. And over and over, carving, inking, and pressing until the image has emerged in its full, multi-colored glory.

Henry came to Santa Cruz in 1985 from her native Southern California. "It was so beautiful that I decided not to go directly back to school," she recalls. "I wanted time to travel and be free." After a few years at Cabrillo, where courses with Howard Ikemoto inspired her printmaking metaphysics, she transferred to UCSC, studying with Paul Rangell, Bob Chiarito and Don Fritz. She ultimately scored a Staff Research Assistant position in printmaking at UC Santa Cruz, a dream day job that gives her freedom to make art.

"I don't have a car payment, I'm not putting children through college. I have a great life," she says, beaming. "I can travel, eat well—living out in Davenport has been a big part of that."

Thanks to Open Studios exposure, Henry's sensitive graphic eye has been on recent public display, on an Oakland museum exterior wall and in a wraparound installation on the downtown Santa Cruz public library. The project, she says, opened up her visual vocabulary and resulted in an installation of 17-foot-long paper panels upon which the word "Home" had been computer-printed from Henry's original woodcuts.

"We had an audience watching us paste up the panels the whole time," she recalls. Henry never waits for inspiration. "It took me a long time to get to this point of readiness." Currently she is exploring a set of prints with fairy-tale images. "I have done “Little Red Riding Hood” at different ages. I'm interested in stories as a way to see how people move through different characters in their lives." An obsessive reader, Henry reveals that she might have liked to be a detective. "I'm curious—I want to uncover things." It shows in her work.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual