Press Release - Detail
Contact:  Chanda Temple, Director of Public Relations
Birmingham Public Library                   
Phone: (205) 444-9279 (cell)

Come See the New Birmingham Public Library Exhibit Every Line Tells a Story

Birmingham, Ala. (Aug. 1, 2014) - Award-winning Birmingham artist Debra Riffe's exhibit of linoleum block relief prints, "Every Line Tells a Story,'' is currently on display at the Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place. The free exhibit is open now through Aug. 26 in the library's fourth floor gallery. 

There are 47 framed pieces in the exhibit. Most pieces are for sale.

The Mississippi native said that all things Southern, especially anything that relates to African Americans in rural South settings, drive her creativity.

Also of note, Riffe will be one of the featured artists during the Thursday, Aug. 7  Birmingham Art Crawl, which is when a selected group of artists will showcase their art in downtown Birmingham businesses from 5 to 9 p.m. The library will be on the Aug. 7 route. Riffe will be in the gallery to greet patrons. for more information on the crawl. 

For those interested in purchasing a piece, contact Riffe at 

Note: Images of two of her works, her head shot and an exhibit brochure are attached. 

A quick Q&A with Debra Riffe: 

What type of material is used in the exhibit? 
First of all, this is not the material that covers a kitchen floor. This type of linoleum is made from a combination of cork, linseed oil and adhesive, she said. 

How are the pieces made?
Every piece starts with a very detailed pencil drawing. The drawing is then flipped and retraced onto the surface of a linoleum block. Riffe then carves into the linoleum block, using various cutters. When finished, ink is applied to the block. Printing paper is placed on top of the block, which is rolled through a printing press. It's called linoleum block relief because you are cutting below the surface of the block, Riffe said. Everything that remains on the block is in "relief'' and will capture the ink.   

What's your inspiration for the pieces? 
Riffe said her inspiration comes from many sources. From her studies while a student at Howard University's College of Fine Arts to countless artists, she creates what drives her. "I feel that my linoleum block relief prints are more than just pictures in a frame. Each image is an unfolding story with multiple perspectives,'' she said. 
She's drawn to the simple art forms and bold graphics of the WPA, a federal art project of the 1930s and the story-telling art form of African-American artist Jacob Lawrence. She said that art books, art magazines, children's books and thrift store finds also inspire her. 
Why call the exhibit "Every Line Tells a Story"? 
"There's a very fine line between the past and the present. These works are a perfect combination of both,'' she said. 

What do you hope visitors will walk away with after visiting the exhibit? 
"I want the viewers to connect with the art, emotionally. If they're able to identify with one image in the exhibit that intersects some aspect of their life and if it stirs a memory, I believe that it's a starting point for a new experience and interesting conversation,'' she said. 
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