Martha Jeffrey Galuszka

“The showstopper is Spatial Intrique, an etching by Martha Jeffrey Galuszka. There’s something both primal and refined in the depth, execution quality, and intensity of the four-panel piece. The hashing technique she employs is a skill often taught during the early stages of drawing classes but Spatial Intrigue finds a level of sophistication in its thick, concentrated black grain. The density of the image is broken by the well-placed fibrous and jagged white tendrils that provide visual space while simultaneously giving the impression and quality of a paper tear without leaving the two-dimensional plane. The result is a magnificent series study of the drawing fundamentals of gradation, shading, and texture; the very building blocks of pictorial space development.”

—Leah Lopez Schmalz, “Faultless in Essex—On Exhibit,” Valley Courier, August 16, 2007

Spatial Intrigue - Martha Jeffrey Galuszka

Watermark Press Etches a Greener Imprint

Don’t let its traditional name fool you. Watermark Press is Martha Jeffrey Galuszka’s newly founded, green inroad into the centuries-old art of printmaking.

Driven as much by her own medical history of asthma as by her environmental conscience, the 2004 Hartford Art School alumna opened Watermark in the spring of 2007 in Hartford, Conn. Galuszka gives artists—professionals and novices alike—the chance to explore the world of printmaking and the creative book arts in a bright, inviting studio offering nontoxic, solvent-free, water-based inks and cleaning supplies.

Martha Galuszka - Watermark Press

“The movement away from the use of hazardous chemicals is important to many artists,” Galuszka says. “They have historically been at the forefront in encouraging the use of safe materials, representing concern for both the individual and the planet.” She emphasizes that traditional solvents used to clean iron printing presses after every print run contribute greatly to the environmental problem. At Watermark, “Rubbing alcohol is the strongest chemical in there,” she says.

In a difficult economy, Galuszka is also concerned about the prohibitive cost of printmaking materials. A single 12-by-18-inch sheet of copper plating, for example, can cost $50. The inveterate printmaker, painter, and bookmaker is constantly researching substitutes for traditional printing materials and techniques. Along with rainbow jars of water-soluble pigments, her studio shelves and flat drawers are stocked with sheets of cellophane, Mylar, and old dental tools, which have effectively replaced costlier materials.

Artists of all abilities are welcome to rent Watermark studio time to try out the new inks and materials. For the first time this winter, Galuszka is also working with an after-school, art-focused class of West Hartford fifth-graders. The students are designing and etching their plates in their own classroom, then inking and printing them in the Watermark studio on one of two professional presses.

As Watermark grows, Galuszka plans to expand her workshop offerings. For now, she says, “I’m trying to leave no carbon footprint.”

—Beverly Kennedy, “Tree-Hugger Alumni Respond,” Observer – The Magazine of the University of Hartford, Winter 2009