Inspiration & Bio
Stories of Magic and Mystery
One of the most powerful events that changed my life and sent me down this path of myth and mystery, was learning about Malta. This tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea has 35 of the planets oldest megalithic, solar aligned temples. The mystery of how the stones were moved and aligned with the rising equinox sun filled me with wonder. The myth of a Giantess carrying the huge stones with a baby on her shoulder, and the rituals that were held in the temples, stirred my imagination. While I was there on a pilgrimage in 2004 I could feel the numinous spirit of the place and the presence of the ancestors.
A Dream of Malta
I had a profound and moving dream of how the temples were built. I dreamed the people joined their minds and hearts and music, singing the stones into place. The people became part of the temple in order to preserve their way of life. Over a decade of inspiration from Malta created a body of work that became a story and video, “The People with Spirits Made of Stone”
Communication with the Spirit World
I relate to the shamans who traveled deep into sacred caves. Their goal was not to make decorative art but to have transformative experiences that involved communication with the spirit world. I am of a long line of storytellers bringing back these tales from the other side, to give us guidance and inspiration.
Creation stories, mythic tales, and archetypes of goddesses and tricksters are rich with imagery. I also enjoy the shifting perspective of things that are one thing, and then another, and the sacred patterns found in the natural world. I saw that we needed more stories of strong, whole women, from that, came a series of Giantesses. These are my personal mythologies.
Encaustic Painting Exploration
One summer some friends and I did an informal artist residency, where we each worked in our own studios on a project of exploration. I decided to try encaustic–painting with hot, pigmented wax. It was exciting to take on something completely different and the challenge of a new medium. I included monotype prints as a base under the encaustic. Both processes feel similar, where the layering is important and accidental surprises carry you along. My love of gardening and appreciation of our endangered bees inspired the Vanishing Bee Series, created on hexagon panels– a perfect complement to working in beeswax.
A Sacred Act
Art is a sacred act of creation to me, an act of transformation that affects me as I transform the matrix. I am always intrigued by where the journey of the plate takes me. I hope my stories and creations will connect with you on deeper, intuitive levels so that you can experience the Spirit within the making, and be immersed in my world of magic.
Caren Catterall’s Background
I was born and raised in California and graduated from California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland CA in 1974. The program there made you explore different mediums during your freshman year and that is how I found printmaking. In high school I was doing watercolors, but was reluctant to let go of my artwork, my “babies”. But with printmaking you had multiples to keep and sell, and could even make them affordable.
Following friends from Oakland to Sonoma County, I discovered the etching classes at Santa Rosa Junior College and eventually became the Printmaking Lab Technician, a job I have had for over 25 years. I feel very blessed to be able to get a paycheck for working in my chosen medium.
The Barracks Artists
In 2002 I got a small press of my own and rented a large, light filled studio at the Studio Santa Rosa, at the old Navy Air Base in Santa Rosa. The many artists in the building became known as “The Barracks Artists”. I started the Studio Print Shop, offering membership to experienced printmakers to share the equipment needed for their craft. Later I bought a bigger, wonderful workhorse of a press, the Sturges CP5 star wheel. Bringing it in a second story was a huge challenge, using 4 strong guys, an engine hoist, piano dolly, and a fork-lift—a nerve-wracking event!
Hot Off the Press
After many years at the Barracks, in 2012 I moved the studio to a redwood grove with a converted barn in Sebastopol. The space has the lovely benefit of being able to work with the big barn doors open to the trees and the chickens. It is a most serene and peaceful place to create. I continue to offer the membership at Hot Off the Press Printmaking Studio, and we have a sweet little community to encourage each other.
My husband Greg and I live near the Russian River in Guerneville (Sonoma County, California). We raised our two boys, Merlin and Cassidy, on a beautiful piece of property above the trees and canyons. I love to garden, and have published a Gardening by the Moon planting calendar for over 20 years. It shows the best times for planting annual vegetables and flowers by the phase and sign of the moon.