Inside the Life of a Tannery Artist

From digital printing to leather art, the Tannery Arts Center is a hub of artistic spirit with a diverse group of artistic disciplines. Most of the artists were drawn to the tannery because of the strong sense of community, with dynamic artists who are willing to collaborate.  some even sharing their studio with other local artists. Susan Vaughn who works with mixed media assemblage is inspired by objects she has found at the Santa cruz flee market and antique shops. Crystal Liebold, a jewelry and leather maker, who lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains has found old watch pieces embedded the river behind her house that she uses as fragments in her jewelry. As a little girl, Crystal would come to the old San Lorenzo Tannery with her father and buy cowhides and leather pieces that he would use to construct weapon holsters. 

Crystal Liebold working on a leather handbag in her studio. 

Crystal Liebold working on a leather handbag in her studio. 

Innovation through collaboration is the essence of the Tannery. When you talk to people you get ideas that can inspire your own artwork. Artistic thought process in general creates innovation.  The magazine is innovative and it represents the different genres of art.  The work of one or two Tannery artists are featured in each issue of Catamaran, which helps create a new venue and larger community around new art.  

"A magazine is a social product so it needs to be in a place where it is accessible"

--Catherine Segurson .

The Tannery has artistic spirit built in the foundation of the campus. You can feel the creative energy when you walk through the art spaces. The different personalities and styles of the artists are reflected in their studios and artwork, finding Catamaran right smack in the middle of it all on the center courtyard of the working studios. There is a free flowing of ideas through the campus that you can't find anywhere else; Art is alive at the Tannery Art Center.

 

Sarah Bianco's studio. Sarah is the cover artist for our summer issue.

Sarah Bianco's studio. Sarah is the cover artist for our summer issue.

The PATT studio, The Printmakers At The Tannery, is a co-op of nineteen local printmakers from Santa Cruz County. Originally, there were only fourteen artists that met a couple years before the Tannery broke ground. With a minimal budget the original artists built all the equipment found in the studio using recycled resources from local flea markets and garage sales. The main printmaker was donated by Felicia L. Papernow before she died. Felicia was an art professor at UCSC and was a strong supporter of the Tannery Arts Center during construction. The techniques and styles of the artists include: Intagio, Monotype, Silkscreen, Relief, etc. 

Front view of the PATT studio.

Front view of the PATT studio.

Working with nineteen artists you would think it gets a little crowded.  Bob Rocco, one of the original artists this printmakers collective, says "Everyone has their time preference, some of us come in the morning, others come at night. Usually there is no more then three of us in there at a time." He hopes to soon have open workshops held in the studio but for now they have internal workshops and joint receptions with other Tannery artists. He is inspired everyday by continuing to work at his job and continuing to make art. When asked where he gets his inspiration he said, "I don't know where the ideas come from. I talk to someone about a topic totally irrelevant and the ideas just come to me." He has worked on many pieces with other PATT artists and they collaborate on ideas and techniques, "working on one thing long enough your mind becomes neutral and a new idea begins to surface" he adds.  Many of the PATT artwork was featured in this years Steamroller Project.  

 

Inside view of the PATT studio. 

Inside view of the PATT studio.