Though Bugnitz did not technically begin her period off until the beginning of this school year, she started taking preliminary art courses last March. By June, she had dug into her primary area of study, lithography, a form of printmaking based on water and oil repelling each other. A work of art is made in oil and pressed onto a canvas or sheet of paper using a printing press.
“I love using the big machines and big printing presses. It was just fantastic,” said Bugnitz.
Stone lithography, a type of printmaking, is one area of the craft that is particularly difficult to master. Bugnitz worked alongside other artists, including professors Jeffrey Sippel and Linda Bangert at UMSL. It was not until November when Bugnitz found the satisfaction of being able to create a stone lithograph on her own.
“The highlight was just when I realized I was making lithographs without asking for help from my instructors” said Bugnitz. “In November, I started to read the stone, I started to be able to anticipate, my instincts were honing.”
Because of the time and machinery required to teach stone lithography, it’s not something that could practically be implemented into one of Bugnitz’s printmaking courses. However, another type of lithography, photolithography, requires less time and SLUH already has the equipment. Bugnitz is hopeful that she may be able to include it in her printmaking course.
Bugnitz was overwhelmed with the welcome she received upon her return. The maintenance staff in particular made her feel back at home.
And while she is glad to be back in the classroom, she misses the pace, productivity, and creative flow her sabbatical offered. Unlimited time and self-set goals allowed her to spend hours alone in the studio learning a new craft. Slowing down and making art over the course of the last half year is something Bugnitz describes as a luxury.
“So many times all of us teaching here have other things that fuel us, but we’re always trying to catch time to do it,” said Bugnitz. “It took me months to figure out how to slow down.”
Teaching the art of printmaking is once again her responsibility. Bugnitz jumped back into the course she’s taught at SLUH for the past 20 years with a new perspective and expanded artistic ability that’s difficult to quantify.
“It’s hard to come back from that, but it’s easy to come back to really good people. I missed a lot of people,” said Bugnitz.