The Poste Print Festival marked its second year in the Perry community on Saturday, Dec. 9. Rallying together a plethora of new and familiar faces, the festival focused on live demonstrations, networking between the artists, as well as furthering Perry’s education of the print craft.
Print artist and Co-Creator of the Poste Print Festival, Daniel Bounds, originally connected with Mary Rose Nichols and Jenny Eklund in 2014, while visiting Mary Rose’s with his in-laws.
Nichols had previously taken an etching class and the two connected on the art, Bounds describes.
Bounds, who graduated from Drake University with a B.F.A. in Drawing, took classes on print making and enjoyed working on projects in the art studio with others.
“I just like working with my hands, I’ve always liked working with my hands and that’s what you’re doing,” Bounds said. “I did every [print] process that I could do at Drake.”
While working on projects, Bounds developed an appreciation towards connecting with other artists at annual conferences.
Post-college, he began to miss working with others and meeting print artists.
“There’s print organizations usually with college students and they have either bi-annual or annual get-togethers, so I had been to one in Chicago in 2008 and I just thought ‘this is really fun [because] I like meeting all of these people and learning techniques.”
Due to the lack of print-centered festivals in Iowa, Bounds and his wife Tara decided not to write off the possibility of starting their own.
“It’s hard to get to them (conferences),” Bounds said. “It’s like, ‘we should have a local one and get local printers so you can kind of see and come together as an art community.”
“So that’s my own idea, and Jenny and Mary had set-up Art on the Prairie, so they were interested in the idea; I guess Mary Rose hadn’t thought about doing a festival like that to coincide with Perry.”
Later, the first Poste Print Festival was born in Perry in Oct. of 2015.
“It was a good turnout and there was a lot of interest for those artists to do it again,” Bounds said.
Jenny Eklund, President of Art on the Prairie said the first year was a success.
“[During] our first Poste Print Festival, we were really wall-to-wall busy,” Eklund said.
The following year, Bounds and wife Tara welcomed in a baby and the festival was put on hold.
In early July of 2017, the Iowa Arts Council rewarded the Poste Print Festival with a $1,895 dollar grant in support of the one-day festival.
Poste Print makes debut in Perry
Finally, on Saturday, Dec. 9, the Poste Print Festival was brought back to life in La Poste.
“The first hour was really a lot of us print-makers going around and talking to each other,” Bounds said about the Dec. 9 event. “Which is kind of what it’s all about - just meeting other people that are in this interesting niche of the art world.”
Tables featuring make-shift artists stations were connected all across the main gallery of La Poste. Many were first timers to the Poste Print Festival, and even more were graduate students in the midst of their studies.
“A bunch of them [artists] are grad students from various universities,” Bounds said. “We had a lot of interesting [submissions] for tables for different artists.”
For some artists, teaching the art to patrons is just as important as showcasing personal projects.
Ashleigh Brady, of The Side Garage, first heard about the festival through her professors at Drake who knew Bounds.
“We’re actually fairly new, we just started in Sept. of 2016,” Brady said. “Basically what we’re doing is demonstrating silk screen processing and we’re allowing them to do it so they can experience the process which is part of our business model.”
“We focus on mobile screen printing and education and interaction.”
Towards the front of La Poste, first time attendee and print artist of Caveworks Press & Studios, Julie Russell-Steuart, sold variations of her work.
“I think that the small things like the cards do sell because they do serve a purpose,” Russell-Steuart said. “I hope that people are still sending handwritten letters, I like to feel like I’m part of that, so I like making cards because it makes communication happen.”
“It’s special, so I think there’s something to be said about that.”
The following artists were featured during the day-long festival: Jake Haselman, Jake Lee, Mary Jones, AJ Zandt, 505 Press, Catherine Reinhart, Patrick Casey, Paige Holzbauer, Sara Dohrman, Cameron Gray, Julie Russell-Steuart.
Artist demonstrations were made using the following materials: Rob Stephens - woodblock printing, Asa Wentzel-Fisher, of 505 Press - lithography, Ashleigh Brady, The Side Garage - screen-printing.
“It’s almost like a lost art that a lot of people just don’t know exists,” Eklund said. “I think that’s where there’s so many artists demoing what they do and letting guests try and create, and introduce [them] to this type of art world.”
The mix of age groups as well as new guests make the festival special, Eklund explains.
“I look out to this room and I know nobody and again, that’s all out of town guests and that’s what’s going to make our little town grow,” Eklund said. “Anytime we can take a young person and give them that chance and opportunity to be who they want to be is just, I feel like [it’s] just one of the best things life has to offer.”
“It’s a good group of people.”