Thursday, April 17, 2014

A’Design Award Winners 2014

Inspire a Seattle Printmaking Center

Eying the future of creative arts

With pleasure, this Seattleite viewed almost 800 images of winning entries in the 2014 edition of the A’Design Award and Competition. I found inspiration! Pictures piqued my interest; some resonated with a vision of a Seattle Printmaking Center.
Having won for a second time with a miniature printing press in the A’Design Award and Competition—originating in Milan and offered every year—I know this is a way for people to share the best creations in many diverse design fields. From more than 12,500 entries, jurors awarded over 700 prizes.
Scanning the winners’ works, seeing the photographs, reading the designers’ articles time-traveled me back to my college days. As a young art student I had a big appetite for designer magazines for inspiration. I especially liked magazines from foreign countries. Designers in 78 countries entered the A'Design Award and competition in 2014.
Visit the A’Design Award website and you will find that it facilitates browsing in some ways that are superior to paper-based magazine of the past century. This website is a design masterpiece and good software engineering in itself. You can find everything on the site,

Here in Seattlewith team-mates in England, Canada and Japanwe won the Silver Award in 2013 for the miniaturized etching press, a Pram Halfwood in the Unexpected Design category; this year, we won the Silver Award for the WeeWoodie Rembrandt Press in the Toy, Games and Hobby Products category.

Next year, we will enter the design of the Seattle Printmaking Center; therefore, the most attractive winners of 2014 that I looked at and include below connect not only with our primary mission of providing smart artist’s instruments to professionals and educators but also for our 2015 entry, the Center.

It is early in the planning, but it is certain that our entry will encompass architecture, interior design, exhibition design, hospitality, multimedia device and games. There are almost 100 categories from which to choose in the A'Design Award and Competition!
Looking at the pictures to make a selection of my favorites to share with readers, I felt like an art student all over. Seeing hundreds of masterful design works inspires ways we might show the uniqueness of the Seattle printmaking experience to Seattle’s visitors and also within a virtual printmaking world.
You can see the categories and the awards at And if you and your organization want to, you can take advantage of the cost-saving, early-bird, discounted entry fee deal, at

Following are some of the images that stopped me in my scroll through the hundreds of pictures of winners’ works. I indicated the link to the entry under each picture so you can read the details as “from the horses’ mouths.”
Artist habitat, in the title of this prize-winner, reminds me how the Seattle Printmaking Center will have housing for creative people who contribute to Center programming and visiting artists will have an apartment for their stay.

Thinking about a printmaking board game in which printmaking, prints, and printmakers are the parts that make up the game turns me on. Add collectible playing cards, a printmaking fantasy land, sci-fi and time travel and you have products selling at the Seattle Printmaking Center. Not only home-grown, indigenous games but games produced by printmakers all over the world.

The idea of convertible, detachable and trans-formal games and detachable devices makes me think of re-tachable devices such as our Halfwood Press, an etching press with a brain. The apps depicted on the screen in this picture would be printmaking apps and online printmaking games and magazines, graphic novels and more. They can be produced in the Seattle Printmaking Center.

How is a Roman Warrior helmet like a Do-it-yourself printing press? The former is not utilitarian; the latter is useful; and they send a different message. But they share one thing—and that important thing for transferable skills is the maker aspect. Kids grow when they put things together and can put them together again.

Ireland’s Google headquarters has interior design that reflects the industry and I’m inspired by the several designs built for Google around the world. No doubt our Seattle Printmaking Center will attract a diverse group of hi-tech underwriters because Seattle artists are hi-tech, hi-touch printmakers. is called “Any 202 Tablet for K-12 Education,” entered by Portugal’s Jp-Inspiring Knowledge. I would like to connect with a company making K-12 tablets like this, as any company that is interested in printmaking arts for K-12 people (and their grown-up friends and parents, too).

There will be a Seattle Printmaking Center website focused on learning printmaking and a user interface. In this example, instead of college graduates the resources will be open to almost anyone, anywhere, anytime in Persistent Online Open Courses originated in Seattle with Seattle’s unique blend of old and new technologies. 
An “iLoop” might be a better way to relate mobile devices to smart presses and give printmaking students access to their virtual printmaking teachers. These would be for sale at the Seattle Printmaking Center Store online where content providers develop for printmaking education 
An online digital printmaking magazine will originate at the Seattle Printmaking Center, and this picture of one award-winning online magazine which illustrates it on three platforms. Our online printmaking magazine will be the first to produce an online printmaking magazine in the USA, but it is also an international magazine. As with all the businesses housed in the Center, profits flow toward sustaining the center and its programs for printmakers. 
“Mixed use,” the category of this winner, sounds exactly like what the Seattle Printmaking Center would be, like a mini-college with an emphasis on people, printmaking and multimedia education.

The word, mediatheque reminded me of the word cinematheque, and brought to my mind the all-encompassing nature of the Seattle Printmaking Center vision—bringing prehistoric handprints into the same environment of Seattle’s renowned multimedia technologies.

The Seattle Printmaking Center is for interpretation. This winner’s museum display system offers kiosks which could tell the story of the evolution of media arts from the time of prehistoric cave handprints to reach today’s new Seattle-area industries.
Great humor! In items related to printmaking are the conceptual Artists’ Ghosts—a flash memory drive mounted in a likeness of Rembrandt. That’s one example. Another nutty idea is my WallNut—a push pin in a walnut shell. These are little money-makers to support the Seattle Printmaking Center. 
A Chinese graphic design, which could be a poster or a stamp, attracted me to it because the Seattle Printmaking Center will include reproductions of art by Seattle’s designers who are either printmakers, too, or who collaborate with printmakers and performance artists to publish their art, design and crafts. 
Say “education” and my heart goes pitty-pat, and this entry does it. I visualize the images on the screen as being partly related to the history of printmaking with plenty of resources that originated from printmakers around the world and published by experts at the Seattle Printmaking Center.

Visualize a stone hand, not merely a handprint on stone, and you have the kind of association with the handprints on the stone walls of caves. These inspired the connection between performance and printmaking which connects to the core value of the Seattle Printmaking Center. 
A printmaker studio furniture workshop is part of the Factory School located in the Seattle Printmaking Center concept, and this image reminded me that designers in wood will find plenty of inspiration to produce for the printmaking studio furniture market.
If there are goddesses of media arts, they will come—I was mindful of this when I read the title of this entry, and I could not leave it out. My muse (her name is Media) insisted!
There were other pictures that stopped me in my review of the A’Design Award winner showing—interior designs for restaurants and mini-homes, multimedia display designs, games, hi-tech devices and others. In closing I will leave them here with my crib sheet.

We could have a lot of fun meeting with companies like this.
docking station to connect printmakers with other printmakers worldwide.
Detachable devices make me think of re-tachable devices.
The SPC needs a nice restaurant.
Workspace makes me think of the Live Artists.
Multimedia, now we’re cooking – this is the arcade of prints.
Cafes are one of the best places for printmakers to meet.
You have to think about a logo or brand.

You need to keep high tech and virtual worlds in mind.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy more at A’Design Award and Competition

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ethan Lind, Busker-Etcher on banjo.

See Ethan most Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Pike Place Market, printing copper etchings on a Mini Etching Press. Sorry - the Agitated Strings Band demo disk is not ready to share.

Bluegrass Emeralda

These are songs inspired by my work with Ethan Lind and the Agitated String Band—a bluegrass band in Seattle. Ethan is a painter and etcher, too, besides a banjo player.
Emeralda is a mythical ship I imagined brought the design of the Halfwood Press to me, and after ten years of making these presses it happened that Ethan Lind stopped by my shop. Together we made a plan: If he could get a spot at the Pike Place Market, I would loan him a Halfwood Press so he could get more exposure. In addition, I would give him pointers in the art of etching and printing.
I knew he had a bluegrass band, and this interested me because Peter Rowan, world-renowned bluegrass musician had bought two Halfwood Presses. My secret desire was that I would find musicians to collaborate in the Emeralda songbook. After all, what is a story without music?
The difficulty was that I never thought the bluegrass genre had a connection with the Emeralda story. The first Emeralda, a ship of the frigate type, was made in Spain. It was lost in the failed Spanish Armada. A copy was made a century and half later, which carried the Halfwood Press to our part of the world in the mid-18th Century. It was bound for China, but was sunk by a giant rogue wave in Puget Sound.
Bluegrass music may have originated in Europe, and it may be related to sea shanties—but that’s only conjecture. Clearly, bluegrass music is no more connected to the elements of the Emeralda myth than, say, hip hop.
However, I noticed that the most recent version of Hunger Games (or was it Game of Thrones?) was going to have a hip hop sound track. Then, maybe bluegrass could serve the Emeralda saga.
I always think the people who have been interest in the Halfwood Press are like “gifts” on my pathway. What they contribute is anybody’s guess. Money, yes, but there are more important things in art—and art is what I find in common Peter Rowan and also Ethan Lind and the Agitated Strings Band.

Practice session – April 8, 2014

Ethan invited me to listen in on a practice session. I recorded on my pocket camera—a very old camcorder with a broken sound system. The next day I made a DVD for it, thinking it would be a useful experience. Also, I want our daughter and son-in-law to consider hiring the Agitated Strings for their Wedding vow renewal, coming up.
I also wanted to continue to solve the riddle, “How could Bluegrass music serve my Emeralda story?” Besides these, which are my personal interests, I have a dream to bring Peter Rowan to Seattle for a fundraising concert to support the Seattle Printmaking Center development, and have Ethan’s band open for him.


It is common in bluegrass to hear stories of love, heartbreak, and other kinds of personal relationships. Sometimes animals, sometimes old pickups or guns—anything that people love. So maybe there is a clue in this love element. You can love a printing press, can’t you?
You can love a ship – even if it’s a made-up ship like the Emeralda. You can love a vision. Look at what the Gibbs brothers did.

Another element is the hero’s journey—common in books, screenplays and sagas in every kind of artistic creation.