You’re Invited!

This crazy Iowa weather looks like it is going to cooperate for the delivery of the show to the Art Center of Burlington (IA) today. Just rain and it’s 34 degrees. Thankfully I got the show packed into the van last night. So often I think, “Why do I have a van?” – last night, packing the show – I was reminded why. I am an artist, I make stuff, I show stuff and I need to haul stuff.

There are 3 events with this show and it is a real honor to be invited to exhibit in this space.

Art Center of Burlington


The Rest of the Story

The 1917 CASE 50hp is featured engine for 2018 for the Midwest Old Threshers’ Reunion. It was owned by Jacob Nelsen of Lockridge, IA. Jacob was a young man who lived for Old Threshers. Sadly, he died at age 21 in a car wreck in March 2017.

Like long time administrator of Midwest Old Threshers and dear friend, Lennis Moore, I am also a printmaker/artist. I have taught at Iowa Wesleyan University (College) in Mount Pleasant for 31 years, and have spent most of that time also volunteering at the Log Village or more recently, at Printers’ Hall. I was very honored when asked to design the graphic images for both the 30-Hour award and the featured engine. This print highlights the featured engine but also honors Jacob’s energy, enthusiasm and love for Old Threshers.

This is a limited-edition art print. That means that the image was created by an artist and printed by hand on high quality paper. This edition was limited to 55. Each print was signed, titled and numbered by me. The top number on the print represents how it fell into the edition while printing so 1/55 was the first print that was acceptable. 55/55 is simply the last print. Not better or worse, just when it was printed. All other “misregistered” or off prints were culled from the edition and destroyed. No more will be printed from those blocks. There does exist with all editions a print that is notated, “A/P”. The A/P is the “Artist’s Proof” meaning it is the one the artist keeps but it is also serves as the standard to which the other prints are judged against. If it didn’t meet my standard, it didn’t go into the edition. These prints were printed on the Vandercook Universal 1 press in Printers’ Hall.

The image of the engine was created both by hand drawing and computer graphic applications. That is the black part of the print. A block was created from the digital file. The colors in the sky were created on a wood block using traditional wood cutting tools. The colors were printed first and the black engine block was printed last.




Creating Belle – Part II

Belle lives!

Well almost. But this is a little overview of how her image came together. After she dries, then she will be mounted on to a chair and placed at a table. The table will have another cup and saucer and a chair for her guest.

Imagine the conversation that you might have with Belle. Imagine the things you might discuss. This is just pure imagination. This project will be part of the Chair-ish Mt. Pleasant event.

Here are a few links about Belle.

Starting Belle

Finally – off the ground.

Working on my Chair for the “Chair-ish” display for the Mt Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance. I decided to pursue a couple of ideas from my “Magpie” collection of memories and ideas; essentially things that entertain my brain.

What would it be like to have a conversation with someone from the past? Not a new idea but one still rich with possibilities. Since I have spent 30 amazing years at Iowa Wesleyan, I wonder about significant people from its institutional history.  What about a conversation with Belle Babb Mansfield ((May 23, 1846–August 1, 1911)? or a conversation with a young Belle Babb Mansfield, poised on possibilities.

More on Belle


Rory – or the Wheat’n Greet’n


Rory – “Wheat’n Greet’n”  6X8″, 2 color Linolium Cut Print

Rory, is our second SCWT or Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. He is a rescue (check out the SCWT Rescue site) , as all of our menagerie of cats, dogs, and ferrets have been. The print started out as a demonstration of how to transfer the ‘key” or black block to a new block for the color. This was for the Printmaking class that I teach where I was also being evaluated by a colleague for the Post-Tenure Review process. The demo went fine but I was way too busy to complete the print during the semester. Imagine that…

But in May, I was able to work on him and really think about the distribution of color vs black vs the white of the paper. It is a small block, only 6 X 8 inches, which is small for the way I usually work. I also had a chance to work with the Ternes-Burton registration system which is slick-as-snot (a phrase of praise borrowed from my father-in-law.) While working on the image, news of a dog being shot and a “Go Fund Me” campaign to help defray vet costs came across my local radio station. The family and the campaign were able to cover the vet surgery and care. But there are so many cases of animals being hurt, sick or abandoned and people not being able to pay, etc…  And then the tough decisions that a vet office has to make.

I don’t have lots of ready cash but I do have lots of art material and began wondered about offering the image of Rory as a fund raiser for our vet clinic with silent bids for the matted and framed image. Well, it did garner bids (I was a little nervous) and sold! The money now goes to the emergency fund at Hometown Vet Care. I’d love to keep doing this – exploring other dog images, cats, birds…. and keep this print bid going.


  • “A lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me.” – Barack Obama (President of the United States)
  • “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”– Josh Billings (humourist)
  • “Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” – Dean Koontz (Author, False Memory)


Crow, Crone & Grace

Some prints – are easier than others. The process doesn’t overwhelm the image and the path seems clear. Other prints, like this one below, aches to be made but doesn’t come with easy resolution. I’ve had others like this too. The work, while madding with its starts, stops and restarts, is its own balm. Its own solace. This print was 3 years in the making. If you are curious, the beginning was documented in July 2014.

The title of the print isn’t important but what you bring to the image is more important. The title will come in it’s own time.



One of the cool things that I get to do, is print on a Wesel Press at Printers’ Hall at Midwest Old Threshers. It is a grand old press.

Enjoy the video – a little bit of Printers’ Hall & the Print.

Still Mari

My name is Mari Joyce.

I had a massive stroke 3 days before our wedding in 2006.

I have Aphasia and PBA*. I can read and write sometimes with help with my husband.

My stroke took away things I loved: I was confident, strong-willed, independent, intelligent and passionate.

I am still Mari and I have faith. I know in my heart that God has a plan for me. I may never know what that is, but whatever it is, I will run with what I have.

*PBA is “uncontrollable outbursts of crying or laughing in people with certain neuro conditions or brain injuries.

I am still Mari.

Mari and I signed our prints out – about 30+ images made up the run. Another story to share in the Aphasia project – Mari’s story, her image and her dog Caesar. I appreciate how patient and supportive she and Wes have been in helping this print come into being.


It’s a wrap

It has been a long time from concept to completion. From idea to a physical form. Here are a few images of that most recent work. So much thanks to Bob, Erin, Dawn, Don, Lori and Lori and so many others who have cheered this project on in spirit, in coffee, in to Erin who understands much more about the “tenacity of the Rat Terrier” analogy of doing it until it is right.

I want to note that this idea “Faces of Aphasia” will be an on-going project. Bob and I are going to “Aphasia Camp” in northern Wisconsin this week. It was at this retreat that the project was verbalized and affirmed first at the Care Partner’s mini retreat. Sometimes, things take on a life of their own –

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