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Jewelry Invitational + Small Works Show Artist: Reeve Washburn

Reeve Washburn’s abstract Midcentury Modern art is both captivating and intricate. We’re more than a little obsessed with her unique monoprints, which are a perfect study of color and shape created through mesmerizing gelli print collage.

The collection of Reeve's artwork we’ll have for our Jewelry Invitational + Small Works Show pack a lot of character into a compact form. And because the pieces are a very packable size, they're an easy gift to mail to anyone on your list this holiday season. :)

Reeve’s pieces will be available online and in-store starting 11.11 and will be featured through the rest of the year!


How would you describe what you make?

This collection features printed material created on a gelli plate, a gelatin printing surface. I use a brayer to roll acrylic paint onto the plate, then apply shapes and paper to make a monoprint or parts for collage.

What drew you to this medium and style of work?

I discovered gelli plates on Instagram, took an online seminar, and fell in love! This form of printing gets me the blocky, layered, modern compositions I had been seeking with paint and brushes on canvas, with endless possibilities for incorporating cut-paper shapes, textured patterns or multiple impressions.

When I create collage, I give myself a personal challenge to only use shapes that result from the printing process (as opposed to cutting the printed material to suit my designs). For me, this kind of discipline sparks creativity and makes composition really fun.

I’ve always been a fan of mid-century modern design, growing up with Marimekko, Finel enamel and abstract art in my home. I find this printing method is a great way to express that style through my own interpretation.

Can you tell us about your favorite piece in the current collection?

“Tell it to the Moon” is a perfect example of my collage composition method. I didn’t set out to create a nighttime scene, but by combining colors and shapes from cuttings, a mystical waterfront emerged. I created several for this show at Click! after the great response it got on Instagram. 

Can you describe your favorite part of the process in your work? 

How the gelli plate is an unpredictable creative partner! I can have a concept and colors I want to use, but then there’s the ‘surprise of the pull’ from variations in paint amount, paper weight, or pressure used to apply the paper. The more I try to control the outcome, the less happy I am. It’s been a great way to practice letting go. The freer I get, the happier I am with the results, and myself.

Has there been a big “oops” moment you’ve had while creating? What was the outcome?

Not particularly – I wish I had something dramatic to report! I do try to follow my intuition while in process, especially when things aren’t going as planned. It leads me to new solutions. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

A wise friend once said “if you’re judging, you’re not loving.” It can apply to judging others, or judging yourself. Being an artist can put you in a fragile place, where it can be easy to get down on your work, your motivations, your emotions. I try to work with the understanding that my art is an expression of myself, wherever I am, and however I’m feeling. Accepting (with love) that I’m an emerging artist also allows me to grow and learn without self-criticism.

When you are in the studio, what are you listening to?

I like playlists that reflect the vibe of the work or have the kind of energy that makes me feel good. For this Mid Mod collection, I’ve been listening to cool jazz from the 50s and 60s like Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, and Miles Davis. I’ve recently jammed to Bollywood hits for another collection, and a “Songs of Seattle” playlist for a commission that has a vintage Seattle map as its foundation.

What is your most treasured handmade possession?

So many to choose from! I’m going to say an Inuit soapstone carving that belonged to my dad who died in 2001.

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