A Grand Time at the ISSA Event

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'm not sure I can put it all into words, but the International Society of Scratchboard Artists' (ISSA) exhibition and workshops were phenomenal. I spent July 6th - 10th in the Santa Rosa, CA area in the company of incredibly talented, giving and friendly scratchboard artists. You must understand that the scratchboard community is very small when compared to other artistic mediums. Many of us are the only artists working in scratchboard in our areas, let alone our own states/provinces (not true for CA, but it is for other places). So the opportunity to meet each other and see an entire show of nothing but scratchboard art was an incredible treat. The ISSA just formed last year, with the purpose of promoting scratchboard as fine art, not just craft. It IS fine art and anyone who has a chance to see a good board in person can't deny that. The problem has been that most art venues (shows/galleries) don't know how to categorize it. It tends to get lumped in with other categories where it often doesn't fit very well. We're hoping to change that and this meeting of the minds and talent leaves me confident that we are on the cusp of something big for scratchboard.

Up until this event, I had only met 2 of the artists in attendance. I had met some other scratchboarders at a Guild of Natural Science Illustrators' (GNSI) conference in the late 90's (which is where I learned to love scratchboard). I had "met" many of the ISSA members on-line on the scratchboard forum of WetCanvas and was thrilled to meet them in person and put names and art to real faces.

On Saturday, we attended the artists' reception for the Exhibition at the ARThouse Gallery in Glen Ellen, CA. The show really is amazing. We had seen the boards on WetCanvas or on the Exhibition web page, but that doesn't do them justice. The detail of the works just has to be seen in person to truly appreciate it.
On Sunday and Monday we attended workshops at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Eight artists demonstrated their techniques. There are many ways to scratch a board and each artist has their own methods, tools and preferences. I was one of the demonstrators and was honored to be included and to be in the presence of scratchboard greats!
Between the scheduled events, there were meals together, chatting and scratching in the hotel lobby and other assorted random excursions & adventures. I had been looking forward to this event for many reasons and I was not disappointed! I made some new friends and connections and arrived back home with a head full of great memories and much inspiration.
I've shared a few photos here, but you can see more in my Facebook album.


- - - All art and images ©Ann Ranlett, unless otherwise credited. All rights reserved. - - -

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