Oehme Graphics celebrates five year anniversary | SteamboatToday.com

Oehme Graphics celebrates five year anniversary

Master Printer, founder and owner of Oehme Graphics stands in the "Stairway to Heaven" stairwell that holds significance to her dream of opening a printmaking studio and showcases a variety of prints from over 45 renowned artists who have visited the studio in the past five years.
Audrey Dwyer

If You Go...

What: Oehme Graphics Open House

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11

Where: Oehme Graphics, 2655 Copper Ridge Circle, Unit 1

— For Sue Oehme, “Stairway to Heaven” is more than the title of a classic Led Zeppelin song.

For her, the term signifies her life’s work, passion and dreams coming to fruition.

In five years time, she has established Steamboat’s own fine art printmaking and publishing studio, Oehme Graphics. Not only that, she has brought more than 45 renowned artists from all over the country to take part in an artist residency program and create limited-edition prints.

Now, upon entering the studio, those prints are on display as a tangible record of the astounding techniques and influences of the artists’ work. It’s a vision Oehme has had in the back of her mind from the first day she visited building.

“When I started thinking about putting the idea together, I realized that going up or down that stairway was like heaven for me,” said Oehme, who has been nationally recognized as a master printer since 1990. “I’m very sentimental, and the name, “Stairway to Heaven” is also a nod to my parents, who both passed away in 2009.”

The prints — produced by visiting artists over the years — were installed earlier this week in preparation for an open house celebrating the studio’s five-year anniversary, to be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday. The open house will showcase some of the studio’s work with printmaking demonstrations and displays of stylistically varied prints.

“I think it’s really amazing, and truly, one of the most beautiful things about Sue is her heart and sincerity that is put into every single bit of what she is doing,” said Stacia Gondusky, bookkeeper for Oehme Graphics. “’Stairway to Heaven’ was always a side project, and now that it’s in place, Sue is almost coming out of her skin with joy and gratitude with it coming to fruition.”

Kept as ongoing records, the annual group portfolios are collections of 10 prints containing a piece from each artist who has worked at the studio through a residency. Currently, the stairwell features 32 prints.

“It feels like yesterday that we started it all,” Oehme said. “I’m very, very proud; … it feels like it’s coming full circle now. It’s more than what I envisioned.”

A year ago, Oehme said the studio was struggling financially, but in the past few months, revenue has skyrocketed. The studio’s success, she said, could be due the economic recovery, along with the staff and interns helping to build the studio’s inventory.

Oehme Graphics has had a variety of work featured in major museum collections, and some of its prints have become part of corporate collections, such as those maintained by the Cleveland Clinic, Colorado University and the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

In addition, the studio has increased its social media presence via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and especially Pinterest, owing largely to the work of interns who typically stay and work for a few months.

Also new to the studio this year is the workshop series, Studio Sundays, which takes place once per month and is geared primarily toward locals. Taught by Oehme, each workshop focuses on techniques ranging from watercolor monotypes to cholographs to dry point methods.

On Friday, Oehme will announce next year’s schedule for workshops and what’s to come for the studio.

“I couldn’t have done this without my key staff and interns who come from all over,” Oehme said. “This is what I want to do, and it’s my dream, and when I sit here and just get to look at this artwork all day, I just love it. I feel very lucky and very grateful.”

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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