Sarah Kulfan is a visual designer, illustrator and letterpress printer. She runs Gallo Pinto Press and Beans n’ Rice where she respectively prints limited edition prints and operates her freelance graphic design business. Sarah thrives working as an independent artist and designer where the flexibility in her schedule allows her plenty of time for opting outside. When she’s not hiking a trail or climbing a peak, she can be found in her letterpress studio, working on her latest reduction cut, a printing method which has occupied much of her time lately. At an early stage of her freelance career, when there wasn’t much work to keep her occupied, she apprenticed with Stern & Faye, Letterpress Printers, where she learned the fine details of letterpress printing.
Letterpress for her is all about bridging her creative and active pursuits. It allows her to story-tell her observations outside. The interplay of shadow and light, the relative smallness of the human scale, the high-drama of sweeping landscapes, and the variety and richness of colors are just a few real life experiences she encounters when she’s outside, and these are all concepts that she is trying to bring to the page.
Working with reduction cuts is an interesting challenge as a print run truly is finite. There is no possibility of creating a second edition as the plate is carved away with each pass. Each new cut that’s made after successive print runs becomes a bit of a leap of faith. It’s a nerve-wracking and immensely satisfying approach to putting down layers of ink. My process usually starts with on-site sketches and photography. I’ll refer to these photos and initial sketches while redrawing the illustration many times over to tease out details. I dial things in further by using Photoshop to help map out layers of color. Recent projects have typically ranged from six to thirteen passes. In addition to reduction cuts, split fountains, metal type and pressure printing techniques are also often looped in to the process.
The row of roosters in the Gallo Pinto Press logo was printed from a piece of linotype that originated from Stern & Faye Letterpress where I learned to print. Owned and operated by Chris Stern and Jules Remedios Faye, “the printing farm” included a converted barn with an extensive letterpress shop and metal type foundry taking up the first floor and a bindery upstairs. Nestled on the bank of the north fork of the Skagit River, the south facing windows looked out over an apple orchard. On the drive up, you could see Sauk Mountain from highway 20. Much of the equipment in my shop comes from Stern & Faye and certainly all my printing know-how can be attributed to my time at the printing farm.
Exhibitions & Speaking Engagements
2023 23rd Schack Art Center Juried Art Exhibit
June 15 – August 26, 2023
Schack Art Center
The Schack Art Center’s 23rd Juried Exhibition showcases the work of contemporary artists from various disciplines. The exhibition follows a juried selection process, where a panel of art professionals reviews and selects artworks from submitted entries.
Each year the museum looks forward to showcasing new and exciting work being done in letterpress printing. New Impressions 2023 attracted 237 diverse submissions from over 100 artists. Forty-one pieces will be on display. Artists included in the exhibition are from Brazil, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.
This is the eighth year for this international, juried exhibition, which showcases exploration and creativity with letterpress printing techniques.
The Ridgecrest Public House
January 15 – February 15, 2022
520 NE 165th St, Shoreline WA 98155
December 9 – March 30, 2022
8929 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA, 98115
The Print Show
Nov 10 – 12, 2022
Greenwood Art Collective
8537 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle WA
Greenwood Art Collective hosted a Print Showcase during its Artwalk on November 12th. They Collective showed original work in all traditional print media to celebrate the diversity of Printmaking.
Northwest Fine Arts Competition
June 10 – July 10, 2020
Phinney Center Gallery, Online Exhibition
6532 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103
The 2020 Northwest Fine Arts Competition celebrates artists of the Pacific Northwest. This juried show featured art from 20 local artists. Because of the stay at home order, art was displayed online as a virtual show.
Paper Mill: A Rotating Online Exhibition of Works on Paper
May 7 – 30, 2020
110 3rd Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98104
Paper Mill features unframed works on paper from over 20 artists from Seattle and beyond. Originally conceived of as a physical exhibition, Paper Mill was intended to feel like a living exhibition, with artworks rotating in and out of view throughout the month to create a dynamic viewing experience for our patrons and ensure that no two visits to the space throughout the month would be quite the same. As the reality of cancellation/closure became more imminent, the show turned into an online exhibition and participating works were hosted on our website.
Seattle Print Arts Member Show 2019
Opening Reception Saturday, November 9, 2020, 6 – 9pm
Closing Reception and Very Open House Saturday, December 14, 5 – 10pm
6520 5th Ave S. #114, Seattle, WA 98108
Join SPA and Editions for the Opening Reception for the 2019 SPA Member Show on Saturday, November 9 from 6-9 pm. There are over 40 artists in the exhibition and all work will be available for purchase.
Beauty of the Northwest
August 1 – 30, 2019
Artists’ Reception & Awards: Saturday, August 10, 1 – 4pm, Awards at 2pm
Edmonds Art Walk: Thursday, August 15, 5 – 8pm
This is the tenth annual Beauty of the Northwest Show. Paintings and drawings on display depict scenes or subjects representing the Pacific Northwest. This year’s prize juror will be Darlene Lucas.
Clallam Co. was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2019 juried show.
Contemporary Northwest Print Invitational 2019
August 2 – 31, 2019
Opening Reception: First Thursday, August 1, 6 – 8pm
Davidson Galleries & Seattle Print Arts
Juried by Sam Davidson
Davidson Galleries and Seattle Print Arts are pleased to present the exhibition, Contemporary Northwest Print Invitational 2019, for the month of August. Davidson Galleries is committed to showcasing contemporary works on paper and original fine prints, in addition to antique and modern works on paper. Seattle Print Arts is dedicated to fostering connections between Pacific Northwest printmakers and the broader community. This exhibition will feature the best work of contemporary Pacific Northwest Print Artists.
Located in the heart of Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square, Davidson Galleries has exhibited antique, modern, and contemporary original prints since 1973, drawing from the largest inventory (c. 20,000 items spanning more than five centuries) of original works on paper in the Northwest.
August 10 – October 6, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 12 – 4pm
Tieton Arts & Humanities
Celebrate the small with 10x10x10xTieton. Now in its 10th year, this international exhibition features work from artists no larger than 10 inches by 10 inches by 10 inches or smaller. All works are featured in the exhibition at the Mighty Tieton Warehouse beginning August 10 and are published in a fully illustrated, hand bound exhibition catalogue made right here at Paper Hammer Studio! Gallery hours: Fridays from 4 – 7pm and, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 – 3pm
Art of the Garden
July 1 – August 31, 2019
Schack Art Center
This biannual juried exhibit will feature a prolific offering of art created to enhance the garden and bring the garden into the home.
Schack Art Center is an admission-free visual art center in downtown Everett, WA. Exhibit galleries are open seven days a week and feature diverse artwork from locally and internationally known artists, as well as emerging young talents.
New Impressions 2019
International Juried Exhibition
April 17 – June 30, 2019
Opening reception: May 25, 2019, 5 – 7pm
Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum
Two Rivers, Wisconsin
New Impressions is an international juried exhibition to showcase exploration and creativity with letterpress printing techniques. This call attracted 254 diverse entries from around the globe. The final 42 works on display are from artists in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and the United States.
Living a Life in Letterpress: Live at Ada’s (Episode 108)
The New Disruptors
January 23, 2019
Ada’s Technical Books and Café
Demian Johnston, designer and pressman at Annie’s Art & Press, and I spoke with Glenn Fleishman, host of the New Disruptors about devoting parts of our working lives to modern letterpress. We talk about how we got sucked into an old-school printing method and how the medium affects our design and vice-versa.
Letterpress: Making Impressions
January 4 – 28, 2019
Opening reception: Jan. 4, 2019, 6 – 8pm
The Art Project
Bainbridge Island, WA
This group invitational showcases letterpress prints by artists from the western U.S. & Canada, including Jessica Spring, Michael Hepher, Amy Redmond, Sarah Kulfan, Jenny Wilkson, Yoshiko Yamamoto, Myrna Keliher, Ellie Mathews, Heidi Hespelt, Laura Bentley, Katie Dean, Carl Youngman and Carl Montford.
Arts North Studio Tour
October 13 – 14, 2018
This weekend long studio tour featured 12 artist studios, many hosting guest artists. Visitors could see and purchase art on display and print a keepsake commemorative take-away. Guest artists included Amy Redmond of Amada Press, Brenna Anderst of Rowan the Retriever, and Jules Remedios Faye of Stern & Faye Letterpress.
Northwind Book Arts Group Presentation
Northwind Arts Center
September 5, 2018
Port Townsend, WA
Seattle designer, illustrator and letterpress printer Sarah Kulfan of Beans ‘n Rice Creative Studio and Gallo Pinto Press has agreed to come to Port Townsend to talk about her work. Among other things, she has mastered the art of reduction linoleum cuts and will talk about her techniques. A reduction linocut can include as many as ten impressions, some of which involve graduated color. A bit of a mind-bender in terms of planning! Her print – Clallam Co. – was recently juried into Hamilton Wood Type’s New Impressions 2018, an international competition.
New Impressions 2018
International Juried Exhibition
April 17 – June 30, 2018
Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum
Two Rivers, Wisconsin
New Impressions is an international, juried exhibition to showcase exploration and creativity with letterpress printing techniques. During its fourth year, the exhibit features work on display from 42 artists in 9 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, Argentina, Austria, Norway, Brazil and Italy. Learn more about each artist’s process by looking at this year’s digital catalog on issuu.