The Alcorn Studio & Gallery


The Organic Gardener

Illustrator’s Note

For over a quarter-century I've relished the challenges of the relief-block print. Indeed, my longstanding investigation of the linocut has become an odyssey in which each fresh discovery lead to new frontiers, and the territory remaining to be explored is apparently boundless. An often misunderstood medium (at once age-old and modern) I've embraced its virtues, as well as its inconveniences enthusiastically -- one might even say obsessively. Somewhat paradoxically, the constraints of the medium have forced me to be more resourceful and inventive as an artist. As poet Richard Wilbur remarked, noting that the limitations imposed by poetic form can produce powerful imagery, “The strength of the genie comes of his being confined in a bottle.”

The stimulus for the imagery featured in this volume stems from my immediate surroundings. In 1986 I moved with my family from Florence, Italy, an ancient, bustling city to Cambridge, New York, a 19th century village in the country north of Albany. Amid gentle, rolling hills and noble farmhouses, I found myself drawn to Nature. To my delight, I discovered that modern life does not diminish Nature's charm. May my contribution to this book form a tribute to the timeless beauty of the landscape that continues to shape and enrich my life, and to the fruits and vegetables it bears.

Coming as it does in the wake of much experimentation in the realm of color printmaking, this series constitutes a timely return to the majesty and power of the black and white, relief-block print. It seems appropriate that the rigors of organic gardening, one of humankind's oldest and most noble endeavors, be celebrated through a resurrection of the oldest and purist form of printmaking.

I dedicate my imagery in this book to my sister-in-law Bettina Fascione, in honor of her courageous, resilient commitment to a noble agrarian ideal, nonchè to her profound respect and love for the wonder that is Mother Nature.

—Stephen Alcorn

Order Book

The Food Gardener's Guide to Growing Organic
by Tanya Denckla
210 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
President: Pam Art
Publisher: Janet Harris
Acquiring Editor: Gwen Steege
Project Editor: Marie Salter
Art Director: Cindy McFarland
Designer: Wendy Palitz

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