Thursday, August 06, 2009

Edna Boies Hopkins

Trumpet Vine by Edna Boies Hopkins 1915

The April 2008 issue of American Art Review had an article on Edna Boies Hopkins (1872-1937) primarily known for her floral woodblock prints. In the summer of 1915, she joined some friends and a growing colony of printmakers in Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod. A core group emerged called the Provincetown Printers. Their most important technical development was the "so-called white line" or single block method. Rather than spend the time to carve individual blocks for each color in a design as in Japanese printmaking, these artists, including Edna, cut grooves into a single block to create separate areas of color. So instead of there being black lines printed by a key block to define the different areas, these prints had an unprinted space between colors. As the article states, the results appeared refreshingly clean and modern.

House and Blue Fence by Edna Boies Hopkins 1915

Upon reaching this point in the article, I took a closer look at the examples included in it and immediately saw what it was talking about. And I also felt this looked familiar, that I'd seen something similar by a more recent artist. Then it came to me...

This is "Village Green" by Cynthia St. Charles. Cynthia uses a glue resist on fabric to separate the different colors in her hand painted designs which are then turned into art quilts. It creates a similar white line. Don't you agree that it has a similar feel to Edna's work and comes across "refreshingly clean and modern?

Here's another example of Cynthia's work, "Pop Art Roses" (see full quilt here). In this case, she has filled in the white lines with a fabric marker. It still has the same feel, I think, as Ednas "Trumpet Vine." Both of these quilts were featured in Cynthia's article "Color Therapy: Glue Gel Resist" (Feb/Mar 2009 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine). When I contacted Cynthia to get permission to show her art quilts, she confided that she was not aware of Edna's work. So here are two artists working independently in different mediums and years apart but with similar results. I think that wonderful.

See more of Cynthia's glue resist work on her website here. She also maintains a blog Living and Dyeing Under the Big Sky, where she graciously shares the many surface design techniques she has experimented with and mastered. She is a true source of inspiration.


June said...

Nice catch. The comparison is great and I didn't know about the white line block printers. I have always thought that painting the prints would be great fun, although definitely a no-no among "real" printmakers. So it delights me to know that The Rule was violated back in the twenties by east coast elites, no less. And Cynthia's work fits right in.

Anonymous said...

The artist's name is Edna, not Emily as is give in the heading under the date.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Ack! How embarrassing. I actually got it right once in the body of the post - I think I had Emily Carr on the brain that day. Thanks - I've corrected all instances of "Emily" to "Edna."