‘Printmaking’ event explores cut paper and ink

Artist Bhavna Mehta guides City students through a process of experimentation during the World Cultures event


Artist Bhavna Mehta demonstrates how to use paper cutouts to create prints during the World Cultures “Printmaking” event at San Diego City College on April 13. Photo by Kathy Archibald/City Times Media

Kathryn Gray and Kathy Archibald

The creative process of multidisciplinary artist Bhavna Mehta doesn’t exist without play and experimentation.

“I have thrown away a lot,” Mehta said. “That’s the thing. “You don’t have to show anyone all of the things you have tried if you don’t want to.”

Mehta, who predominantly creates designs using cut paper and embroidery, presented and created alongside attendees at the World Cultures event “Printmaking” on April 13 at San Diego City College.

The event began with Mehta describing the basics of her process, which involves cutting and placing paper to create intricate three-dimensional forms. 

She started by cutting a simple leaf, a basic building block of the work displayed on her website, which includes a vast array of paper creations – from larger-than-life human forms to repetitive patterns based on leaves and flowers.

Mehta also incorporated her creative process in the demonstration. 

“If I have an idea in my head and don’t try it, I don’t have room for the next idea,” she said.

Her expertise in cutting segued into using those forms to produce ink prints. 

Assisted by Sage Serrano, who teaches printmaking at City, Mehta and the entire in-person crowd, were then able to experiment with cutting and inking their own creations.

Julia Kelly, a graphic design major at City who attended the event as part of her contemporary crafts class, said she had done screen printing before with a similar ink process but nothing else like the event.

Julia Kelly and the hands of other students are shown using ink rollers and cut paper on a table of art supplies
City College graphic design major Julia Kelly and fellow students dive into ink and paper experimentation after a demonstration by artist Bhavna Mehta during the World Cultures “Printmaking” event on April 13 at City College. Photo by Kathy Archibald/City Times Media

“I thought it was cool how she tailored it to the printmaking class, rather than just talking about herself,” Kelly said after the event.

She said her professor had introduced Mehta’s work in a previous class so she had not expected that the focus would be on making ink prints. 

However, the fact that Mehta wasn’t necessarily an expert in that area and the group was able to learn aspects of the practice together made Kelly feel better about trying something new, she said.

Sarah Lopez, a second-year art student at City, agreed and said she appreciated the hands-on opportunity to try the process after the demonstration.

Lopez said she also enjoyed the interaction Mehta shared with the group as they all experimented.

“She was super engaged with everyone too – coming around, speaking to everyone, seeing what we were working on,” Lopez said.

Ink rollers, cut paper and various pink and black prints are shown spread on a table.
An ink roller, cut paper and prints lie ready for further exploration by students attending the World Cultures “Printmaking” event at City College on April 13. Photo by Kathy Archibald/City Times Media

Multimedia major Sammitta Em, who also joined as part of her contemporary crafts class, said she enjoyed the experience, almost like being brought back to kindergarten in a fun way.

“I felt like a kid,” Em said.

The event included attendees on Zoom and in-person, which was a challenge for the  Zoom participants who were unable to participate in the hands-on portion. Unfortunately for the Zoom participants, the event ended after the demonstration.

To learn about future World Cultures Program events, click here.