I have worked full time as a printmaker and book artist for the past 4 decades. In recent years I have concentrated on making artists’ books although I continue to make prints with an eye to experimenting with monotypes, digital processes and non-toxic methods. LEOPARD STUDIO EDITIONS was established in 2002 and operates from a restored carriage house adjacent to my home and garden in Rochester, NY.
I studied painting and printmaking at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and have always been attracted to working on paper. During the 1970s and 80s, I lived with my husband, George and son, Beau in South Africa and then, London. We found ourselves living along the Thames in Hammersmith, in an area that had once been home to such luminaries as Eric Gill, Gertrude Hermes, Blaire Hughes-Stanton and William Morris. I discovered wood-engraving, a form of printmaking to which no attention was paid in an American art school education during the 1960s. I found it to be an ideal fit for an artist with a small working space, a young child and unparalleled opportunity for learning and research in London. I spent countless hours with the work of William Blake at Tate Millbank. A revelation then and an ongoing source of inspiration. My interest in writing and my body of small works grew and eventually segued into the world of artists’ books where I happily reside today. The opportunity to continue learning new skills such as bookbinding, paper making, letterpress printing, as well as the personal friendships I have made along the way, has been an ongoing joy.
The world of books and stories, drawing, manipulating materials, sequenced imagery, the narrative, the allure of handmade papers, color’s emotional impact, the visceral world - all hold great interest for me and I feel a sense of adventure exploring these realms visually. Waiting to see what unfolds in the process; what lies beyond the bend or in hidden depths. An interest in 19th century literature as well as contemporary poetry and psychology informs the work that I do. George and I have made a life involving restoration of historic properties here in Rochester and I think that the processes involved in this pursuit find parallels in my bookmaking. The making of structure, based in story, unbuilding and rebuilding, a love of materials, craftsmanship, design; a debt to the past with an eye to the future.
My current pieces, many on an intimate scale, carry forward these interests as I explore themes of personal mythology, allegory, mysteries, the unconscious. I have been working, recently, on a series of books that take their inspiration from my much loved garden as well as a group of miniature books celebrating the poetry of Walt Whitman, who along with Emily Dickinson, is another of my favorite 19th century heroes; poets who speak of the vastness of life as well as the pleasures close to home.
Gallery Photos: Steve Baldwin Exhibition Photos: James Via all contents © Sue Huggins Leopard