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Printing at the Log Cabin Print Shop – Over The Rhine woodcut

photo of the log cabin print shop in autumn with header "printmaking at the log cabin print shop"

You might remember a blog post from a few months ago when I sketched the view from the Pendleton Art Center

I always thought this sketch wouldmake a great woodcut.

rolling ink on a traditional woodcut block print of Cincinnati's neighborhood Over The Rhine

I have spent the last week carving the design, and it is FINALLY ready to print.

revealing woodcut print of over the rhine traditionally printed by artist ken swinson

This was the first print using the Bob Foose press in it’s new home at the Log Cabin Print Shop. You can see it come to life in the video below:

This is a bigger sized woodcut: 9×24″ on a 13″x26″ paper

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Goings On At The Print Studio November 4

If you follow me on facebook, you may have noticed that I’m not sharing pictures and artwork as much as I used to. I’m trying to get into the habit of sharing my art, projects and photos on my website. Here is a little bit of what has been going on over the last couple of days.

I am working on an art project about US Route 62. On Tuesday, I visited the Josephine Sculpture Garden near Lawrenceburg (more about that in a future post) and Bardstown, KY.

photo of kentucky artist ken swinson in bardstown kentucky
Old Talbott Tavern 1777 – Right On US Route 62

I had never visited Bardstown before, it’s one of Kentucky’s oldest cities, and is also the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home”. I think its really cool that Old Washington and Maysville share the same street as this “other” old Kentucky City.

panoramic and colorful photo of my old kentucky home in bardstown kentucky during autumn

I took one of my sketches from visiting My Old Kentucky Home, and have been trying to make a small, notecard sized woodcut from it.

sketch and first step for a my old kentucky home woodcut print

Halfway through the carving, The wood had its own ideas, and the “o” in home splintered.

work in progress of my old kentucky home woodcut by artist ken swinson

I carved the design a second time-starting with the words first, and the “o” in Old broke.

my old kentucky home woodcut by artist ken swinson
Test Proof – My Old Kentucky Home

I decided I was trying to cut too fine details for that particular size, and carved white letters into a black background.

newly carved woodcut print of monkey playing a drum

To balance out the tension of carving something so small and delicate, I followed it with a fun little Monkey playing a drum.

This saturday (November 10, 2018), I am participating in a print sale with the Tiger Lily Press in Cincinnati. I’m carving like a madman, in hopes of carving and printing this large panoramic scene of Over The Rhine in time to have it at the show. Here’s a link to the show, if you want to come, support other printmakers, and see if I was able to make it in time:

woodcut work in progress of over the rhine in cincinnati ohio

My final big accomplishment this week was moving my large press 3 blocks away from my house into it’s new home at the “Log Cabin Print Shop”, which is scheduled to open the first weekend of December as part of Frontier Christmas here in Old Washington. I only had one volunteer to help move the VERY HEAVY PRESS. It took a little bit of engineering to get it to work, but it’s ready to print. I still need to move my tools, drying racks, ink,etc, i hope to have some new prints to show tomorrow or tuesday.

traditional press at the log cabin print shop in Old Washington Kentucky

These little snippets from my studio should pretty much have you up to date with my goings on. The biggest thing I miss from using my website instead of facebook is the feedback, so, if you feel like leaving a comment, I’d love to hear from you! Hope you all have a great week!

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Printmaking at Harlan Hubbard’s Studio – Ft. Thomas, KY

I was honored to have been invited to Harlan Hubbard’s Studio in Ft. Thomas for a fundraising activity to help maintain and restore the historic building.

As usually happens at successful activities, I was too busy making prints to take any of my own photos. Lucky for me, there were lots of photographers at the event, and I can share photos through the lens of their cameras. Please let me know if I misspelled anyone’s name, or if you would like your photo to link to website.  Thank you for sharing!

exterior of the harlan hubbard studio in ft thomas kentucky
Photo by Scott Beseler
kentucky artist ken swinson printmaking at the harlan hubbard studio in ft thomas ky
kentucky artist with del togret at the harlan hubbard studio in ft thomas kentucky
Photo by Del Tongret
kenucky artist ken swinson demonstrating at the harlan hubbard studio in ft thomas ky
Photo by Susan Ann Naylor
printmaking demonstration at the harlan hubbard studio in ft thomas kentucky
Photo by Angi Bowling Dill

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El Pueblo Unido / United We Stand

I’m excited to be participating in the Cornbread & Tortillas Festival festival tomorrow (Saturday Oct 20th) at the Americana Center in Louisville, KY. we’ll be celebrating our cultures, with music, dance, food and art. I’ll have my press, and you can make your own el pueblo unido/united we stand woodcut for free.

estoy emocionado para participar en la fiesta de cornbread and tortillas mañana en el centro americana en Louisville, KY. celebraremos nuestras culturas con música, bailar, gastronomía y arte. traeré mi prensa para impresares este xilografia gratis: el pueblo unido/United we stand

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Gotica Americana

banner with woodcut of frida kahlo and emiliano zapata in grant woods classic american gothic pose

I was brainstorming images for a woodcut to use for the upcoming USA/Latin American cultural exchange, Cornbread and Tortillas festival, and a friend suggested a parody of the iconic “American Gothic” painting by Grant Wood. I wanted to replace the farmer and his daughter with famous Mexicans. I chose Frida Kahlo for the daughter, because she is one of the most popular Mexican artists of all time. Despite having a handicap, she was an independent, strong woman, in a time that was not the norm.  I chose to use Emiliano Zapata to represent the farmer, because he is one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. He fought to put an end to the exploitation of the poor, working, rural class (peasants).

woodcut of frida and zapata by artist ken swinson

I thought the blending of these three icons say a lot about my ideas about contemporary culture and cultural exchange. I was raised in the United States as an ‘army brat’, my idea of culture is that it is a living, evolving thing. Our country is made up of lots of different people and cultures that are constantly moving around and influencing each other. United States Culture is a blending of cultures – so is Mexico’s.

Here’s a short video of the printing of the woodcut:

For the first 6 weeks of 2019, I am planning a trip (cultural exchange) to Oaxaca, Mexico. Sales of this print will help with my expenses for the trip. Thank you/muchas gracias to everyone for supporting my work.

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Harlan Hubbard Studio Test Proof

banner of harlan hubbard woodcut by artist ken swinson

I’m excited to share with you all the design and test proof for my Harlan Hubbard Studio woodcut.

Before his legendary journey down the Ohio River in his Shantyboat, he lived in a studio that he built for himself in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky.

This weekend, I am going to be part of a community activity and fundraiser to help restore and maintain the studio. Harlan’s life was inspired by nature, the studio is part of the Ft. Thomas Forest Conservancy; so I wanted to include nature in the design of the woodcut.

If YOU would like to print your own copy of this woodcut, using my traditional press, come visit the Harlan Hubbard Studio and support his legacy. The activity is from 12-4pm at 129 Highland Ave in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky.

More information here: