This month we’re recognizing local printmaker Brie Thompson as she celebrates her 10 year anniversary of creating in the Pacific Northwest! Her nature-inspired pieces are a beautiful addition to Perks of Art and I had a lovely time at her studio learning about her background, medium and goals for this upcoming year.
Growing up in northwest Indiana, just south of Lake Michigan, Brie discovered her passion for the outdoors. She graduated from Ball State University where she studied a variety of printmaking styles; experimenting with lithography and screen printing before committing to relief block printing. She ventured out to Oregon for the abundance of outdoor activities and constantly finds inspiration in her surroundings – from the mountains to the ocean, the trees to the sun.
Although she feels at home in the PNW, when it came time to choose a business name Brie wanted to pay homage to her roots and decided upon Lake Effect Press: a wintry condition where cold air passes over warm water and results in massive amounts of snow, unique to the Great Lakes region.
Eager to pursue printmaking in Oregon, Brie began creating from her home but quickly realized it was a task better completed in an outside studio. About 10 months after her move, she joined Flight 64 Studio and eventually became a member of the board, as Treasurer. She loves the sense of community this co-op offers; as Portland’s only member run, non-profit studio, all members boast diverse backgrounds and styles and there is no shortage of inspiration or encouragement. Brie believes printmaking should be an inclusive medium, as it is so specific, where artists can collaborate and support one another through their journeys.
The relief block printing process is quite methodical and for Brie, it is the process she loves just as much as the finished product. She begins by drawing her carefully composed design on a thin layer of linoleum that has been mounted on a wood block. She then carves out the linoleum layer until the elevated design is all that remains; using a roller and ink, she paints the raised surface and uses a press to evenly transfer the design onto paper, creating a finished print. Brie says all parts of the process appeal to her – from the aroma of the oil-based ink to the “kissy” sounds of the ink being rolled out.
Brie says there is magic in using the same block to create a handful of prints but somehow, all still emerge unique. And with a typically regimented personality, it’s these subtle variances from structure that allow her to see beauty where she may not have envisioned it before. There is a sense of mystery that constantly intrigues her.
While Brie has been a printmaker for the last decade, she is relatively new to exhibiting and promoting her artwork but her mantra for 2019 is yes – a mantra I think many of us could adopt. Yes, to putting herself out there more; yes, to local markets, showcases and other galleries so be sure to keep an eye out for her stunning work and support this incredible artist whenever you can. We are excited to see where this next year takes her and are thrilled she invoked her “yes” mindset a bit early last year by joining our team at Perks!
Learn more about Brie at: