Sea and Tea

© Richard Bosman

In 1995, Richard Bosman and I published three small woodcut editions together. Having no experience printing woodcuts but not concerned, less interested in technique rather than the vitality of the images, we broke a lot of rules. Too much extender in the ink making for some goopy printing, slow to dry, and wood dust from carving speckled through out. Richard’s father was a sea captain. Many of the images he is well-known for deal with memory, stories and feeling of the darker side of being at sea. Prints entitled Man Over Board, Mutiny, and Life Raft are a few examples. “Untitled, 1995” is on the quieter side: tranquil, glowing, and reflective.

Living along the East River, we are constantly reminded of the shoreline’s maritime past: walks along the Brooklyn Promenade, bike rides around the Navy Yard, drives to the Civil War warehouses in Red Hook for sunset and Russell’s new favorite, Transmitter Park next to the old Greenpoint terminal. When visiting Russell’s family on the North Shore of Boston, one of my favorite outings is to the Peabody Museum in Salem to view artifacts from the days of time-consuming and dangerous sea travel, bringing back the exotic.

© Roy Lichtenstein

Always afterwards, back at the house, tea is made from a tin labeled Hu-kwa above the stove. The story goes that a family friend, Mark T. Wendell began importing this special variety of Lapsang Souchong from China during clipper ship days and his family has been loyal tea drinkers ever since. A mild smoky-tasting tea at four o’clock.

Growing up, my best friend Rhonda was from a Norwegian immigrant family. Playing at her house, the sounds of a strange language being spoken and watching her grandfather knitting on the living room sofa, I felt transported to a foreign land. One of my favorite go-to books in my studio is Everyday Knitting by Annemore Sundbo, an account of Annemore taking over a factory in Norway that recycled used woolens, inheriting a storage room filled with sixteen tons of knitted garments dating back to the nineteenth century. Receiving a grant from the Norwegian Council of Culture, she sorted and documented the treasure trove pile. Oldest garments on the bottom, compressed, smelly wool preserved, provided insights to lost history. Everyday wear such as underwear, night caps, bathing suits made from old knitted stockings and the woolen armor of sweaters, hats and mittens worn by ladies and sailors. Thousands of variations on the same, colors and patterning, worn out, patched, and darned, decoding a far-away, seafaring land.

Available for sale by clicking the images below

292 Manhattan Avenue (on Devoe St. next to church), Brooklyn NY


Graham Avenue L stop

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