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New artist takes up residence at the Grand

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Current Grand artist-in-resident Monica Ihrke hangs fresh prints to dry in the Celler Press space.

NEW ULM — Last week, The Grand Center for Arts & Culture took on a new artist to work in the Cellar Press.

Monica Ihrke is a print-making artist from Duluth. She is the second artist to take part in The Grand’s artist-in-residence program. Ihrke will live in the Grand’s artist apartment for two weeks as she completes a series of linoleum block prints in the Grand’s Cellar Press studio.

Ihrke’s current series of lino-block prints were based on photographs taken on a hiking trail around Lake Superior.

Using the photos as an example, Ihrke carved reduction block cuts to make prints. The idea is to have a series of prints that recreate a summer hike on the Superior trail.

“I wanted to see summer in winter,” Ihrke said.

Each block print is made of several different layers. Some of the prints have a couple of layers, but more complex prints can have between five and seven layers.

The challenge is knowing how much of the block to eliminate with each layer.

A single block can be used to make several different printings. Ihrke said it gives her a chance to play with color.

Ihrke said normally, it would take over a month to create a single block print, but through the artist residency program, she can complete multiple pieces in two weeks.

The artist-in-residence program includes a community involvement component. Irhke is planning to hold a gallery showing of her prints at the Grand next summer.

The Grand will host two more artists in the winter and next spring.

The Grand’s previous artist-in-resident, Rachel James, is returning 10 a.m to 12 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 to give demonstrations on monoprinting in The Grand’s Cellar press. The demonstrations are free to the public. Anyone interested in learning about monoprinting is encouraged to attend.

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