Kelli MacConnell is a printmaker based in Portland, OR. Inspired by the raw beauty of the natural world, MacConnell is dedicated to exploring the endless possibilities of relief printmaking and creating original, introspective art. Her hope is that it will speak beyond the frame, fostering a healthier relationship between humans and nature.
Although I enjoy working in various sizes of this medium, I especially love working on large scale linocuts and woodcuts.
People ask, “Why a print, why not a painting?” On one hand, I enjoy the act of using tools to shape something, but much of the joy rests within the surprise factor—the mystery that unfolds while printing each piece. The many unpredictable factors involved with this art, and its spontaneous process that demands energy, improvisation, gesture, expressiveness, and directness, all contribute to my enduring love for this medium.
My current body of work focuses on the expansive, diverse environment of the Pacific Northwest Landscape. With the simple use of contrast and minimal color, as well as line manipulation, I strive to create exhilarating compositions inspired by the natural world.
– Kelli MacConnell
Kelli MacConnell was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. As an avid hiker and adventure-seeking Midwest girl, she made her way to Portland in 2006. She became enchanted by the arts as a child and has always expressed a love for drawing and painting, but it wasn’t until studying art at Portland State University that she discovered her passion for printmaking. MacConnell received her BFA with a focus in printmaking in 2012 and enthusiastically began showing her work. Within a couple years of graduating, she made the transition to a working printmaker and has since been enjoying life as a full-time artist and mother.
MacConnell’s prints can be found in private collections, galleries and publications worldwide. She also participates in some of the nation’s premier fine art and crafts shows. MacConnell serves on the board of Portland’s Art in the Pearl, and often mentors local emerging artists. She is currently represented by RiverSea Gallery in Astoria, OR and Guardino Gallery in Portland, OR.
Currently, MacConnell is dedicated to exploring the endless possibilities of printmaking and creating original, introspective art in hopes that it will speak beyond the frame, fostering a healthier relationship between humans and nature.
Linocut is a variation of woodcut printmaking. A sheet of linoleum, often mounted on a wooden block, is used for the relief surface. A design is carved into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel, or gouge. This leaves the raised, un-carved areas to represent a mirror image of the final composition. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller called a brayer, and then carefully impressed onto paper. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press.
My prints are of—or influenced by—places that I have visited. The story of my experience with these sites unfolds as I carve. I use printmaking to develop a new and more conscious understanding of the subtleties found in these natural spaces.
My process of transforming my experience into a print involves reversing the image from my sketches onto the relief surface, then carving away the negative space. My work is printed primarily in black oil-based ink. Occasionally I will make use of simple color gradients to gently alter the mood. After the block is complete, I usually pull a few “proof prints” before proceeding with the series. These proofs are unique in that they are the very first prints pulled from a new carving. As such, they often contain experimentation with image and color that is not replicated in subsequent editions. I typically utilize a printing press in order to take advantage of the resultant embossing effect, a product of the machine’s enormous pressure. The final prints that make up the edition are printed using either Arches or Stonehenge acid-free cotton paper.
So much more than a means of preserving your print, these meticulously crafted frames are custom made from start to finish in our modest Portland, Or woodshop. Through careful lumber selection, milling, sanding and finishing, we reveal the beauty hidden within the wood. Commonly acknowledged as a piece of art in their own right, our frames truly embody the ethos of the work they preserve.
Please visit the Framed Print Shop to view our available framed pieces!
The lumber for these frames is primarily locally sourced salvaged material. We are lucky to have forged relationships with local construction professionals in order to get advance notice of pending demolition or remodels so we can give new life to wood destined for the landfill. More often than not, the quality of lumber removed from these structures is simply not available elsewhere. A bulk of these boards are old growth fir, western red cedar, hemlock, and redwood, common building materials of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Years of service and interaction with humanity have contributed to an impressive patina that only time can apply. Additionally we are able to make great use of the surplus and off-fall that most production shops create in profusion, yielding us a wide variety of quality material. On occasion we have clients with specific needs regarding wood type, if new lumber is the solution we opt for FSC certified boards whenever possible.
Most commonly available custom frames are constructed from mass-produced molding sticks of questionable pedigree, held together with a spot of glue and a few v-nails. All of our frames start as a chunk of solid wood. We take time to find just the right board and carefully lay out each piece to find the frame within the board. Furniture grade mortise and tenon joinery ensures the corners stay tight for future generations to enjoy. The “closed-corner”approach, sanding and finishing after assembly, yields a strength and finish superior to frames assembled with prefinished material. Often, certain projects beg for a frame that departs from a traditional mitered corner. Not only do we offer a variety of craftsman style frames, but our 20 years of furniture and cabinetmaking experience will ensure that no matter your idea or design, no matter your concept, we can bring it thoughtfully to fruition. A stroll through our frames gallery will give you a glimpse into the possibilities for your project.
While typically using only a clear oil blend to enhance the wood’s natural color, we are able to dye, stain or paint a frame to your specifications. When it comes time to apply finish, we proudly hand apply and hand buff products from Heritage Natural Finishes, a non-toxic non-petroleum blend of linseed oil, tung oil, beeswax, pine rosin, and cold press orange oil.
We typically frame our prints with a “floating” framing style leaving the edges of the work exposed in order to highlight the torn or “deckled” edge of the paper. Floating on glass dramatically accentuates the textural nature of the prints, presenting more as artifact than art. Framing with mat is also an option. 99% uv blocking conservation clear glass, and use of archival tapes and adhesives is standard with all of our frames. Throughout the entire process we strive to incorporate only the best materials available.
Please visit the Framed Print Shop to view our available framed pieces!
Environmental stewardship and responsibility is intrinsic to what we do. A great effort is made to use every bit of material possible, minimizing waste with the Japanese idea of mottainai. The small bits of wood left over from roughing out the frames go to heat our home in the winter, the chips produced by the miter chopper are repurposed as mulch for our garden. All of the electricity for our woodshop and studio is from renewable sources. We believe every decision counts and we vote with our dollar with every purchase we make, so it only makes sense to support vendors and suppliers that share our regard for this planet.
We feel our passion for nature cannot stop at the art pieces being created and shared with the world. Now more than ever, we understand the importance of giving back to our source of inspiration. It is with immense gratitude that we are now able to make our devotion to stewardship and social/ecological justice an integral part of our business - A HUGE thank you to all of you!
We are now partners with One Tree Planted! For every print purchased, a tree will be planted through the organization One Tree Planted, who make it simple for anyone to help the environment by planting trees. Since their start in 2014, they've planted over 30 million trees in more than 43 countries across the globe.
We are currently focusing on reforestation projects in the PNW. Your tree will be planted in Oregon. Oregon is home to iconic trees like Douglas fir, Oregon white oak, Ponderosa pine, Western red cedar, Pacific willow, Oregon ash, Western hemlock, black cottonwood, and big leaf maple. We are planting over 35 native species so that the full ecosystem is supported and degraded forests can be restored. That includes soil, waterways, insects, birds, mammals, and people.
A portion of all sales is dontated equally among the following organizations:
Bark’s mission is to transform Mt. Hood National Forest into a place where natural processes prevail, where
wildlife thrives and where local communities have a social, cultural, and economic investment in its
restoration and preservation.
Learn more about BARK
Grounding Waters is the first discipline-specific mentoring program offered by The Blueprint Foundation using
funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Oregon Department of Education Youth
Development Council. In this program, students learn about careers in environmental science while taking an
active role in environmental stewardship. Professional and college student mentors of color join students on
field trips to fish hatcheries, green infrastructure tours, and wildlife areas.
Learn more about Grounding Waters
The North Santiam Watershed Council is a group of community volunteers who act together to help restore the
North Santiam Watershed so that it can support the natural habitat important to endangered salmon and
steelhead fish and support the economy and quality of life of our communities.
Learn more about NSWC
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All prints are hand-pulled and may vary slightly.