Steamboat artist launches printmaking studio workshop |

Steamboat artist launches printmaking studio workshop

Oehme Graphics has open house, reception Friday

Nicole Inglis

— Although she may not sign the works of art she helps create as a master printer, Steamboat Springs resident and artist Susan Oehme leaves her creative mark on them.

And starting Friday, the limited-edition fine art prints created in conjunction with nationally renowned artists in her new studio workshop also will bear a small, simple mark in the corner: the embossed letters "OG."

OG stands for Oehme Graph­­ics, a fine printmaking and publishing studio in Steamboat that Oehme is launching this week.

On Wednesday, as she stood in the gallery space above the workshop, Oehme's exhilaration and passion for her new endeavor were apparent.

"I'm living my dream," she said.

Oehme plans to celebrate the opening in a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at the studio on Copper Ridge Circle. From 3 to 6 p.m., she will host an open house with demonstrations using her new etching press, which as of Wednesday still was wrapped neatly in plastic as crews put the finishing touches on the workshop space downstairs.

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The two-story space is also part condo, where Oehme Graphics' first apprentice, Colo­rado College art graduate Julia Bollinger, will live. A second bedroom will be for an artist, who will live at the studio for several weeks to complete a printing project.

A cleanly modern glass wall separates the cozy kitchen area from a large open space, which will serve as part dining room, part art studio, and part artist and community gathering place.

"I love doing this," Oehme said. "But I guess the ultimate reason I'm doing this is I'm a good collaborator, and I love working with the artists."

Oehme said she hopes the process of creating limited-edition print art with renowned artists will expand beyond the printing press and filter into the local art community.

She said she hopes to introduce the Steamboat community to the art form in a series of printmaking workshops, starting with a monotype class in late Feb­­ruary, and artist talks.

When there is no artist on hand for a specific project, Oehme hopes to make the second bedroom available to an artist-in-residence.

"This is what I'm looking toward," she said. "I want to make use of this space as much as possible."

Bollinger, also a drawing artist, said the art of fine printmaking is a physical type of art, involving the entire body. She said learning the process has made her more aware of her strengths and introduced her to more sculptural and physical aspects of art.

Oehme Graph­ics will primarily work in "intaglio" printmaking, which is the creation of a series of pieces using etchings into copper or zinc plates.

The plate, or matrix, will be used to create a limited number of unique prints: Each will be based on the same design but will look slightly different.

Oehme's job as a printmaker is to collaborate and organize the process and help the artists with the technical side of the creation.

"It's a very tiny part of the art world," she said about printmaking. "It's an eclectic group of people. We're all kind of geeks, you know."

The 15 artists she has invited into her studio for projects in the coming year and beyond are all represented in major galleries around the nation. Some names have local familiarity, such as Monroe Hodder and Laura Wait.

The first artist, Denver-based abstractionist Jeffrey Keith, is scheduled to arrive Monday.

Each has infinite knowledge and experience to gain from a fine print project.

"I think a lot of the artists will learn the little things they wouldn't otherwise know," Oehme said. "When we make a print, we want it to be a beautiful example of printmaking, but also reflect the direction that their paintings are going in."

She said she hopes the presence of Oehme Graphics artists in Steamboat will help disseminate her passion for the art of printmaking into the community at large.

"I want to broaden the base of what people see is art," Oehme said.

If you go

What: Oehme Graphics opening celebration

When: Open house 3 to 6 p.m., reception 7 to 10 p.m. Friday

Where: Oehme Graphics, 2655 Copper Ridge Circle, Unit 1

Cost: Free