Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
May 06th
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

 

Mountain Mystic

When Cora Evans died in Boulder Creek in 1957, her thousands of pages of religious writings hadn’t yet been published. More than a half a century later, Evans’ fiery visions and spiritual devotion have inspired a crusade within Catholicism to make her the Santa Cruz Mountains’ first saint

 

Wesak (Water) Taurus Solar Festival, Buddha Blesses the Earth

A most important celebration occurs Sunday, May 3—the Wesak Taurus Buddha Solar Festival/full moon. At the moment of the full moon the Buddha’s presence enters the Earth plane for eight minutes. He brings the Will-to-Good from the Father, which, when reaching humanity becomes goodwill (Mother Principle). Held yearly in a valley hidden deep within the Himalayas, the Wesak festival is prepared for for months in advance (beginning at Winter Solstice). On festival day, amidst pilgrims, disciples and Holy Ones gathered in the valley, the Buddha is invoked through movement, symbols and mantrams. At the moment of the full moon, hearing the words, “We are ready, Buddha, come,” the Lord of Illumination (brother of the Christ) appears in the clouds above the altar to emanate forth the will and purpose of God to earth. The blessing of the father is then held in safekeeping for distribution at the June full moon Goodwill Festival. The day of Wesak (May 3, 8:42 p.m. West Coast) all disciples (east and west) place crystal vessels filled with pure water outside (in gardens, on rooftops, porches and steps) under the heavens. As the Buddha blesses the world, all waters, including waters within our bodies, are blessed. The Buddha is accompanied by the Forces of Enlightenment to illuminate humanity’s minds. Humanity then begins to express new constructive, productive and beneficial ways of the Art of Livingness. Wesak covers five days—two days (before) of dedicated preparation, the actual festival “Day of Safeguarding,” and two days (after) distributing goodwill (the NGWS to humanity). Join us in the Valley by reciting the Great Invocation, mantra of direction for humanity.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of May 1

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

 

Hole in the Wall

Popular Aptos spot opens for dinner

 

How do you connect with the natural world?

My connection to the natural world is through my art. I totally feel it there very physically in nature and even right here on the street. Jonathan Rosen, Felton, Pastor

 

Hess Collection Winery

My friend Emma from London came to visit for a few days in early March, so I took her wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains—a rare treat for her, as there aren’t too many vineyards in the middle of London. Her visit reminded me how fortunate we are to live in this paradise of ultra-fresh produce, with grapes growing in wild profusion.

 

Springtime Walkabout

May Day Flower Festival, free tours of the UCSC Farm, and a nondairy chocolate indulgence