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Under the Midnight Sun

(January 2006) posted on Mon Jan 09, 2006

The prospect of teaching Native American artists how to screen print led Andy MacDougall to Canada's Yupon Territory, a place known for its hidden treasures. Find out how the workshop he conducted helped these craftsmen strike gold of their own.

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By Andy MacDougall

The only part of the puzzle missing was an exposing system. Working from the premise it needed to be something available locally, we scrounged up a 1000-watt metal-halide flood lamp courtesy of the electrician husband of the head of the Yukon Art Society. With a two-inch foam pad cut to fit inside the frames and a piece of glass, we had our exposing unit. We now had a complete screen-printing shop with four printing stations and the ability to make photostencils. All we had to do was set it up. The day before I left home, I rode my motorcycle in a T-shirt. When I landed, it was -25 with snow--a nice, warm day in Whitehorse. Welcome to the Klondike!

Setting up shop
One thing I’ve noticed about places with cold climates is that the people are really warm. The first day at Sundog I met the owners, Heather and Andrew Finton, and the head of SYANA, Linda Polyk, who had helped coordinate and set up the workshop. We got to work unpacking and doing final assembly on the presses, testing out the exposure unit, and generally getting ready for the first day, when all the participants would arrive and get together for the first time. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting by way of a facility, but it was better than anything I had imagined. The spacious and well-lit studio contained everything we needed to set up the press stations and exposure unit, and it provided a seating area for short lectures and demos, working on art, and cutting Rubylith.


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