For over three decades, Penelope “Penny” Cerling has been hands-on in the printing industry. When a man by the name of David Folkman moved to Houston from Murphysboro, Illinois, he started a lithography, etching, and printing studio, named Little Egypt Enterprises in 1974. Penny, a skilled collaborative printer was hired on in 1980 as the etching printer. In close proximity to what many call “The Hidden Gem,” Penny made her first connection to The Printing Museum because of her love for the craft of printing.
“Because of my deep involvement in printmaking, I became aware of The Printing Museum in the early ‘80s,” Penny said. “The Printing Museum has some wonderful things in their collection, and over the years they have had some wonderful exhibitions. I remember seeing one that was just about typewriters; which I thought was very interesting to see. The exhibition went through the history of typewriters. I believe the history of any object or idea is always fascinating if it’s presented well and the Museum does this very well.”
Penny worked at Little Egypt for 10 years, then went on to start her own studio to continue her craft for another 10 years. As a collaborative printer, she worked with a variety of different artists, including Derek Boshier, Earl Staley, Mel Chin, Brian Portman, and Lucas Johnson. She would guide artists in different techniques that might work well in the way they already worked through her etching techniques.
Her husband, Jeff Skarda, and she are nearby neighbors to the Museum and have been able to assist the Museum in more ways than one.
“It is great being so close because we have had opportunities to host some artists at our house for the Museum,” stated Penny. “We initially started this because of an artist by the name of Ernest F. DeSoto, renowned master printer, was coming here for an exhibition, The Workshop of Ernesto F. DeSoto, Master Printer. A mutual friend had put a bug in my ear about hosting Mr. DeSoto at our house, and so we did.”
Penny is involved with the Museum in various ways, including enjoying letterpress workshops and continuing to host visiting artists for the Museum. Last year, Penny and Jeff hosted Artemio Rodriguez, Mexican printmaker, at their home.
“It was so funny. I had the opportunity to host Artemio and had just purchased one of his books prior to his stay,” said Penny.
“It was one of his children’s books I purchased in El Paso a few months before he came to stay with us. It was really exciting that I already had one of his works when he came to stay at our house.”
She recognizes how far print has come to once being an expression of communication and art for a few to now being a large medium through the Internet to reach masses.
“We use words even on the Internet that go back to the letterpress. Words were created back then for just for the process of the letterpress,” she said.
Penny, along with many others in the industry of printmaking, are dedicated to their craft and building awareness around the art. The skill of printmaking is not only something we celebrate but is vital to the past and future of printing. As we end our month celebrating our members, we are extremely grateful for everyone who has contributed, visited and supported the Museum in some capacity. We thank and celebrate you!
Born in Switzerland, grew up in Mexico, lived in London and New York and now resides in Houston – Anne-Joëlle Galley has experienced various cultures and art throughout her life. She studied art in London and later went to Art Students League of New York; the same school where influential American painter Jackson Pollock studied.
Anne-Joëlle, also referred to as AJ, became involved in printing and took classes in etching and aquatinting at the League. She eventually moved to Houston and became acquainted with Armando Rodriguez, a master printer, with whom she shares a studio. Armando introduced her to Charles Criner, Artist-in-Residence at The Printing Museum, and well, the rest is sort of history.
“I started getting more involved in the past few years with the Museum because I just love it,” said AJ. “I think it’s a jewel.”
Her experience touring the Museum for the first time with a group of Boy Scouts was one of the many highlights coming at the Museum.
“I love the way Charles is so involved and so friendly to all the kids and guests,” stated AJ. “I think he represents the Museum very highly. He is such a talented artist that keeps a low profile about his gift. I think that is admirable.”
She often attends the exhibitions and brings everyone along with her when they come in town for a visit. Her love for printing, paint and paper has led her to a new venture creating designed prints into scarves. She used to work with plates, acid, and aquatint, but in Houston started using monotypes.
AJ commented, “I was looking for a venue that would be compatible for showcasing my scarves, and I immediately thought of The Printing Museum. It is such an honor to rent a space in the Museum to showcase my scarfs. You cannot beat that. I truly believe you have a jewel that is waiting to be discovered.”
In Houston, AJ has been involved with the Art League and Glassell School of Art and is a life member of the Art Students League of New York. She stays engaged with The Printing Museum by attending various workshops.
“I am a happy member of the Museum,” said AJ. “I have such an attachment to printing, and it’s very important to me to support printing. I became involved because of my interest and the workshops offered. I enjoyed the marble papermaking class and many others. If I had more time, I would be here all the time.”
AJ believes that if you have a love for art and an inquisitive nature you will see the value. Our members have very enriching stories of their lives and how they became a part of The Printing Museum. Everyone has a different story to share about what drew them to the Museum and why they are invested. But, it is the community that has formed through their support of the Museum that is elevating.
PETER & CECILIA LUDWIG
Peter and Cecilia Ludwig’s enthusiastic love for books, history and maps led them to stumble on a hidden treasure, The Printing Museum.
Over 30 years ago, they made the move from New York to Houston for Peter’s profession in international shipping. Peter, a native of Germany, and Cecilia, a native of Ecuador, explored the many facets of the City of Houston with their son Hans-Peter. Cecilia decided to continue her education, graduating and working for the University of Houston. She later became a typesetter and worked for Arte Publico Press.
“I love the university environment. Education to me is the most valuable thing in the world,” said Cecilia. “I like the letters, the words and the design…absolutely everything about printing and publishing. I love the written word on paper. That is how we became involved with the Museum in the late 1990s.”
It didn’t take long for the Ludwigs to become members. Attending opening receptions of exhibitions at the Museum, they were transported back in time through the art, culture and history of printing.
“We enjoyed coming to opening receptions for exhibitions,” Cecilia said. “One time, I was able to attend a showing about pop-up books and was surprised to learn that these books were being made in Ecuador.”
Peter added, “For me, I was so intrigued when I saw an exhibition here some years ago that contained letters and paintings about the Englishmen; when they came here to the United States in the 1700s. It had maps, beautiful maps. There was one particular hand painted map when the English were in New York, and it showed where the Indian tents were; and where the British were; and the fortification there too. It was an original map. Simply amazing.”
His passion for maps and her passion for archeology fueled their true love, history. It is the preservation of history through words, artifacts, art, craft and more that captures the experience and resonates through their lives. For the Ludwigs, it is a personal benefit to be a part of the Museum.
“I really like it here at The Printing Museum. Anytime someone comes in town, I bring them here. It’s a wonderful experience. I come with my sister all the time because she likes the books, the Gutenberg Bible, and old archived newspapers like I do,” said Cecilia. “I want to have a party here one day and invite my friends so we can print T-shirts.”
Like the Ludwigs, our members are the heart of our mission. The Museum lives through each and every person who walks through the door. Nancy Luton and Peter & Cecilia Ludwig’s experiences, and yours, allow us to excel in promoting, preserving, and sharing the knowledge of printed communication and art; and the continuing advancement of freedom and literacy. We celebrate you!
Nancy Luton grew up in Granbury, Texas, a small town south of Fort Worth. She was introduced to print by her aunt and uncle who owned a newspaper, the Hood County News-Tablet.
“As a little kid, I used go to the shop and listen to the Linotype machine and watch them set type and be there on press day, which was Thursday, and get the newspaper out,” stated Nancy. “This is where I got printer’s ink in my blood.”
Nancy’s early start in print led her to major and receive a degree in journalism. Thereafter, she married, had children, and moved from Texas to New York and back. Her mother was a member of the Texas Historical Foundation, through which they learned about the opening of the Museum of Printing History and visited.
After doing graduate work at the University of Houston, Nancy started making art and became a printmaker. Her connection with the Museum led her to become a member of the Houston Book Arts Guild at the Museum. Her continued support of the Museum involved taking book binding classes, volunteering to write grants, contributing to the Museum’s collection, attending exhibitions, and admiration for Charles Criner’s artwork.
“I was intrigued by the Museum because it was a chance for me to go back in time,” said Nancy. “I think of the sound of the Linotype machine. If you’ve ever been around that and listen to that for hours on end, there’s a humming kind of music to it. It is the music that is in my head the way you remember the rhythms. To see the movable type and other things helped me remember.”
Nancy later became involved with Print Matters, a local organization for print artists. She stays connected with the many processes of print, but realizes that many people may not understand the true value of preserving the history of print and the impact it has on the future.
“Our new media does some things beautifully and quickly but it doesn’t do the same thing. The new processes don’t get the printer’s ink in your blood and don’t allow you to see the magic. The Museum allows us to preserve the past and the processes; to know that history gives us some grounding. If we forget where we came from, then we are losing something,” Nancy stated.
Thank you Nancy for your passion and continued support of the Museum! We celebrate you and all of our members for showing your love towards the history, art and craft of printing – and The Printing Museum.
Copyright Museum of Printing History, 2015. All rights reserved.