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Would You Like to See My Etchings? 

Put two printmakers in a room together, and you'll hear some of the most boring, jargon-laced conversation you'll ever endure in your life. Unless you, yourself, are a printmaker, in which case you'll probably join in with your own opinions on the proper way to apply an even coat of hardground to a copper plate. But despite their shared obsession with the technical aspects of laboriously crafting a mechanism to take a single image and make many copies of it, printmakers are generally very entertaining people. Just don't make the joke about Kinko's being able to do the same thing their precious etched plates do, but for a lot less money and time; they'll stab you with one of those triangular scrapers, and everyone knows a triangular puncture wound never heals. Strangely, it is their very obsession with the methodology and details of arcane skills such as image transfer, woodblock cutting, silk-screen manufacture, et al., that makes printmakers so interesting. They think differently than non-printmakers. Once they've achieved some success with a printing process, they almost always try to make it more complicated for themselves; conversely, they quickly simplify complicated procedures so they can replicate them later. Weird, wacky cats, those printmakers.

Friday, July 28, between 6 and 9 p.m., a mess of printmakers congregate at the Foundry Art Centre (520 North Main Center, St. Charles; or 636-255-0270) for the opening of Dirty Fingernails Say a Lot: A Celebration of "Pure" Printmakers. This exhibit features etchings, drypoints, silk screens, woodblock prints, monotypes — and every print was hand-pulled. Sure, the conversation is probably going to turn technical, but you'll still have a good time. Dirty Fingernails remains up through Friday, September 15.
July 28-Sept. 15

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