Artist Nancy Diessner is a dog lover. She has worked at the Save a Dog Shelter and learned there "that the bond that grew between often-abandoned or abused dogs and the people who adopted them was direct but not simple". She got to know both the dogs and the people.
She conceived of a project to make portraits of both the dogs and their adoptive people. Fourteen of these are currently on exhibition entitled "Shelter in Place" at the Bromfield Gallery in Boston. This Saturday she will be at the Gallery between 1:00 P.M. and 2:30 P.M. doing a free demonstration of her photopolymer intaglio process.
Diessner adopted this "green" (less toxic) printmaking process which makes images have the antique look of a 19th century photogravure. It's called "photo etching", or "photopolymer gravure" by artists. She begins with a digital image, photoshops it, then alters it by drawing, painting, or etching on the image.
Then she makes a "positive" transparency of the image on light-sensitive polymer, places it in a vacuum frame, exposes it to mercury vapor and ultraviolet light, and develops it in water. The light areas harden and the dark ones remain soft and get shallow grooves which retain ink for the final printed image.
Finally, she places the plate on fine printmaking paper and runs it through an etching press. The resulting prints are mounted on fine Japanese and Vietnamese paper.
Diessner studied painting, drawing, and printmaking at Bennington College in Vermont where she got her B.A. in art. She went on to Hunter College and got her M.F.A. in painting and sculpture. She also spent a year abroad before graduating from Bennington and attended the Saint Martins College of Art in London.
She is presently an associate professor and chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Chester College of New England in New Hampshire. There she teaches printmaking, book arts, and interdisciplinary courses. She also developed a non-toxic printmaking studio.
An accomplished artist, photographer, and teacher, she still finds time to work with rescue animals. This artist's heart is as deft as her talents. Makes one want to go out and rescue an animal, who, without a doubt, will rescue one right back!
Images courtesy of Jacob Blecher/Daily News and Wicked Local