Fort Wayne artist and Hedgehog Press owner Julie Wall Toles is the featured artist of this exhibition, showing alongside selected artists that have produced work at the Hedgehog Press. The exhibition will highlight the steps of the print process leading up to a final work as well as explore the business aspects of running a print shop.
The following is a recent interview between the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and Toles as she reflects on the Hedgehog Press as a Fort Wayne resource:
Why did you want to start a print press in Fort Wayne?
Toles: I wanted to start Hedgehog Press because it was something our community was lacking. As a printmaker I really struggled with what to do after getting my Bachelors of Arts. I wasn't sure about going straight into graduate school but how else would I make my work? After a few years of trying to find my artistic voice I realized I wanted to provide the opportunity for people, like myself, to create prints. Being a Fort Wayne native, I have always felt a sense of responsibility to my community. It all happened very quickly after looking at the building that now houses my shop. My husband was more supportive than he probably should have been and agreed that this was something I needed to do.
How do you hope your press will grow?
Toles: Hedgehog Press is designed to grow and change with the wants and needs of the community. Although I have a relatively small space, it is laid out in a way that can morph into different uses. Hosting classes is a very rewarding thing for me to do. I love helping others make a piece of work that they are proud of. I hope to have many full classes and excited people in and around my shop.
What has been the initial response of the community to having a print press in town?
Toles: People are very interested in it. Once they hear or see me talk about what Hedgehog Press is, most stop into the shop to see what I am working on. It's funny to me how hesitant some people are to just stop by. But once they are in the shop and they see how welcoming it is they end up sitting on the couch and just hanging out. I always encourage drop-in guests and I love having the company. After people meet me they seem to feel much more comfortable with the idea of taking a class or workshop. I want people to feel welcome and inspired in my space. I love teaching people about the art of printmaking whether it is through a class at my shop, a demonstration at the FWMoA, or just a conversation at an art fair.