Margot Rocklen began making prints at Carnegie Mellon University, where she majored in Graphic Design. She studied printmaking at the Tyler School of Art in Rome, Italy, and wrote a Masters Thesis entitled “The History of Monotype and its Role in Contemporary Art”. She is a member of the arts faculty at Gateway Community College in New Haven.
Margot’s printmaking techniques include: intaglio, monotype, Japanese woodblock, polymer plates, pochoir, collagraph, and viscosity color printing. Her mixed media work often combines drawn, painted, collaged or digital imagery with printmaking. She prints by hand or intaglio press in her home studio, and exhibits her work in individual and selected group shows. Margot has curated exhibits, and coordinated demonstrations and workshops for the Printmakers’ Network of Southern New England.
“Printmaking is an exciting medium to be working in today, with so many materials and techniques available, and experimentation encouraged. I thrive on the challenges it presents. In my prints, the development and communication of a concept is important. A single idea usually unfolds in a series of related works. I often combine several techniques, each one having a significant effect on the image. Some techniques create soft edges, which are excellent for layering and subtlety, while others produce strong line and shape.
Japanese woodblock, or mokuhanga, involves carving and printing wood blocks to make an image. The quality of the image and consistency of an edition are affected by the type of wood used, sharpness of the carving tools, weight and texture of the paper, dampness of the blocks and the paper while printing, hand pressure while using a baren to transfer the image, and lastly, paper registration on each block. This printmaking technique is complex, but alluring. Its historical significance, potential for producing strong, flat color or smooth tonal gradations, embossing, fine line, additions of mica, invite exploration in either the traditional mode or a more contemporary approach.
Monotype is a spontaneous and exciting method because it allows for the integration of mark making and painterly techniques with digital imagery and other printmaking methods. In monotype, I can work either in a predictable or an experimental mode, free from the constraints of editioning. Most often I print on a Dickerson Combination Press. However, when using lightweight Asian papers, I will suspend the paper in a foam core frame hinged to an acrylic sheet on my worktable, and transfer the image using a baren or cardboard chips. The animated, textural and layered quality of the monotypes has influenced the way I work in the traditional methods of printmaking, and also in cloisonné and champlevé enameling. The printmaking process is always a learning experience, and I feel great satisfaction having completed a successful work or group of works.
My prints reflect my interests and responses to specific objects, events, places and issues. I try to connect the essence of an object, the history of a place, the significance of a word to visually evocative imagery. I would like to think that my work is arresting a moment of the viewer’s life, and will spark a passion whenever it is seen or recalled.”
JAPANESE WOODBLOCK (MOKU HANGA)
MONOTYPES AND MONOPRINTS