Arts & Culture

Maine Printmaking Creates a Rise in Tourism 

The “Peregrine Press @ 30” exhibition, at Cove Street Arts in Portland opened September 9th and will run through November 13th. Masks are required for admission, but guests do not have to be vaccinated. The staff are already vaccinated, according to Kate Katomski, co-president of Peregrine Press. 

Maine printmaking began in the 1880s when the Portland Society of Art was founded. The most popular printmaking method used in Maine today is monotype.

“There are a lot of monotypes and monoprints. There are some traditional, some Stamp monotypes which are relief prints, there are several woodcuts and wood block reductive, there are cyana types, and both are done with a light box which is more high tech and low tech where someone used the salt water in the ocean to create the monotypes. The studio is equipped to do any of it,” said Katomski.

Peregrine Press, a studio which is an environmentally conscious, non-profit organization that shares the profits with the artists. There is a relationship between the gallery and the artists where the two of them split the percentage of the money that is earned. The advantage to this is that each year members pay a biannual due.

The studio uses non-toxic material in their printmaking. The prints made by the Peregrine Press have become very popular over the years which has been bringing in out of towners and tourism to the East Bayside. 

“That part of town has become very popular. There’s a lot of little breweries and restaurants. Everything is within walking distance and there are a lot of activities so tourism was big there last summer.” Katomski said. They are hoping with more people that are discovering it the more the event will grow with each passing season. With this season’s event they will be featuring the work of various artists such as J. Allen, S. Amons, C. Beneman, M. Brennan, J. Broekman, S. Buck, B. Butterfield, S. Burt, K. Cheney Cappell, J. Costello, B. Folts, A. Garland, J. O’toole Hayman, A. Hildreth, K. Katomski, R. McCarthy, L. Meade, K. Pike, Z. Pike, S. Quinn, J. Scheu, D. Schmitt, J. Schneider, D. Sherin, A. Spencer, P. Stevens, J. Sylvester, A. van Voorst van Beest, R. Wilson, S. Witherell, and J. Woodbury.

When the pandemic hit many people were affected including the artists for the Peregrine Press, and because of that the theme of this season was left to the artists. “If the artist’s response was to continue doing the work they were doing, or if the pandemic influenced the work; do something that was more abstract, or if they continued in that nature and that helped to survive the pandemic… So we had it as a source for each artist to work from that point,” said Katomski. Climate change was also a big component over the past year that contributed to so many of the themes seen.

The printmaking experience can be enjoyable for many people but is often found to be too expensive, that’s why the Peregrine Press offers a communal experience. It is because of that, it has existed for thirty-years. The event is taking place at Cove street, only for the thirtieth anniversary meaning that the art showcased there is from artists that had to be current members prior. If you were a member you could send in up to four images to be selected and then depending on the size and the rest of the work that was being proposed for the show they selected what they wanted.” said Katomski.

Katomski’s work is being showcased during the event. Prior to the pandemic her work was based on the influence of women in industrial history, for the past Fifteen-Years her work consisted of industrial landscapes and labor history. This season she was inspired during the pandemics lockdown by the woven patterns of the ethnic populations heavily affected by the pandemic. “The silkscreen compositions were printed on selected papers, then de-constructed and woven together to begin a process of taking responsibility for our history and how we might rewrite it. The series represents a ‘decoding’ of the existing biased norm and displays the beauty, color, and richness of a diverse society – it is an attempt to consider a society that works together rather than one that divides and subordinates,” said Katomski.

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