I outdid myself with the complexity of my Chilkoot Bingo game. I created Chilkoot Bingo as a part of my Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency. Sponsored by the Yukon Arts Centre, Parks Canada and the US National Park Service and the Skagway Arts Council with support from the Skagway Traditional Council and Alaska Geographic I will be taking a creative journey hiking through Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, Alaska, and Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site, British Columbia. Carrying everything in my backpack for two weeks and sleeping on the trail, I will offer two nights of game playing, one in Alaska and one in Canada. I have fabulous cash and prizes in the form of chocolate coins and other goodies to those who play and win Chilkoot bingo with me.
I began the Chilkoot Bingo cards by making 25 wood and linoleum block prints of animals from the Yukon, and hiking items such as a tent, boot and coffee pot. The 25 carvings, which range in size from 4″ x 6″ to 5″ x 7″ were printed onto paper and took just over 150 hours to create.
Once the carvings were printed and photographed, I made a digital layout of the Bingo Cards, downloading fonts made from real wood type from the late 1800’s, the peak of the Klondike Gold Rush.
I created the design in Photoshop that was eventually shot onto transparency film so that I could make silkscreens. Every bingo card needs to be different and silkscreening made the most sense to me. The layout took a full day, about 10 hours to finish.
I sent my files over to my friend Roni Henning who is a professional artist and screen printer. She has a good studio for printing and helped me shoot the films onto the screen and begin printing.
Every single object needs to be printed one at a time onto the bingo cards. For example, I print a bat in one spot, move the game piece, then print the bat in the next place. To complete the entire set of 24 game pieces onto 200 bingo cards, I pull ink through the screen 4800 times. I printed the background separately, another 50 pulls. In the video clip, you can see me print 4 pulls, imagine doing that almost 5000 times! I should be able to complete these in about 50 hours.
If you were paying really close attention, you would say, “wait a minute, you only made 24 objects, and bingo needs 25.” You are so right. The middle section, the free space will be an embossed gold nugget. I created a rubber stamp.
The rubber stamp will be pressed into embossing ink, then sprinkled with gold powder. I seal the stamp with a heat gun, and the gold powder magically puffs up making a textured embossed surface. This is a pretty quick process, maybe 2 to 3 hours to complete.
My final step will be screen printing my information and a special thank you to all the sponsors and supporters on the back. Each card will be one of a kind, and ever hiker lucky enough to get one and play Bingo will have something extraordinary. I am willing to bet there nowhere in the history of bingo card making has anyone spent over 225 hours making 200 5″ x 7″ cards. But then again there are no better Bingo cards than these!
If on July 29, 2018, you find yourself at Sheep Camp, along the Chilkoot Trail, (the last camp on the US side of the trail) you can try your luck at Bingo and keep your card.
Or if on August 3, you are at the Chilkoot Trail, Lindeman Camp on the Northeast summit of Chilkoot Pass in British Columbia you are in luck and can play Chilkoot Bingo.
This is the only place these cards and the game playing will happen. It is a special event reserved for those I meet on the trail. I can’t wait to see you there.
I will also do conventional artist talks about my work and experience on the trail in Whitehorse Canada, on August 8th and Skagway Alaska August 10.
See you in the Yukon!