Monday, January 26, 2009

Movin' and shakin'

Our movers will be here on wednesday! For all the hustle and bustle I won't be able to write in a little bit. It will be a long drive from GA to WA. Hopefully we'll get internet set up at our new house within a week or so when we arrive.
I packed my sewing machines yesterday, so I concentrated on some printmaking for a change today. I did the demo on the lithography plates last week, and got inspired to make a set of three little "hut" prints. The images are only a couple of inches tall- I think they'll look nice in some shadow boxes.
While I was drawing the prints, I was thinking back to my childhood. Building little huts was one of my favorite activities growing up. Even when the other kids would come and break our hut down, we would always build a new one trying to make innovations as we scavenged for supplies.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Z-Acryl Lithography Printing

I had a chance to demo z-acryl plates to a couple of the teachers at AASU and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to tape it and add it here. Z-acryl (brand name) makes thin plastic plates that are used similar to aluminum litho plates, but the advantage to these plates are their immediacy, cost and ease of use. There is no need to etch the images and the thin plates can be run through a computer lazer printer to print images on. When using toner, the plates do need to baked in the over according to the manufacturers directions to make sure that the toner does not lift off during printing. The plates are 13"x18" and currently cost $2.50 per plate. Something else similar to these plates are Pronto Plates, but I have not used them, so I cant say much about them. As far as I have heard they are preocessed the same way.

Basics before starting
1. be careful not to touch the front of the paper a lot. the oils in your fingers will stick to the paper, and will catch ink and print.
2. the paper has a front and a back side. The front is the rough side and the back is the glossy smooth side.
3. I am not aware of any way to make corrections for these plates, so what you draw there is permanent. (I'm not vouching for this, but you could maybe try scraping it off with a razor, but that would only work for very small areas.)

To start with my image, I already had a small leftover piece of a larger sheet. I wanted to just draw a small image that was fast and easy to print for the demo purpose. After I figure out my paper size, I place the litho paper face down on my CLEAN drawing surface and draw the outline of my paper on it with sharpie. (This will give you a pretty good registration, but I would not use it for multiple plate registration.) I also drew fainter lines in the middle to show where my image area is going to be. The paper is fairly translucent so the lines will show to the front.

I figured out what I wanted to draw, and sketched it out on a separate piece of paper. After I flip the litho plate face up, and use the sketch underneath as a guide for my drawing (remember no corrections, so plan well). I use a piece of paper to keep my hand directly from touching the plate. Drawing materials can be virtually anything oil base and waterproof. Easy media to start off with are sharpie markers and ballpoint pens. I also had a student who drew his image on the back glossy side of the plate, and we was able to print if off from there as well. Some of his penmarks did come off in the process though.

Below you see the finished drawing executed with ballpoint pen. It has very fine lines which all printed beatifully. You can also see the registration marks showing from the backside of the paper. The drawing is now ready to be printed. Important: when you get ready to print, make sure you have time to print the whole edition all in one day. So far we have not had much luck reprinting the same plate the next day after it has dried in between. If anyone has a good solution to this I would love to hear it.
I took a video of me printing this drawing on the etching press at AASU. This is my first demo video that I ever made so bare with me... If you have anything to add, or questions please comment or leave me an email, and I will try to include all good advice.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Solarplate and screenprinting videos

Here are a couple of links to videos that hopefully are helpful to you. The first one was take by myself at the Southern Graphics Concil conference in Richmond last year. It features Janet Ballweg from Bowling Green State University demonstrating how to expose, wash out and ink a solarplate.

The second one is a demo video for those who want to build their own screenprinting studio at home. The first half shows how to coat a screen with emulsion, and how to expose and wash it. The second half gets a little more quirky with adding led-lights and sound to the freshly printed shirt.

More helpful links and videos to come in the future!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Some more pictures of the show

Here are a couple more pictures from the exhibition. We also had a write up in the campus news paper, I'll add that here when I get a chance. These first two are just pictures of the wall that explains the processes. I brought in some prints with plates, tools and a small litho stone.

Here is me doing a short talk about all the pieces in the show. Everyone was really impressed with all the prints and creativity!

Following some more closeups of the show: to start pieces by Sue Yoder. Here is what she says about her process: Aiming to achieve extreme vibrancy of color, Sue utilized LEDs for radiant light to shine through her red-saturated, monotype-printed Mylar. These lights glow from behind a light-box she built to contain them. The tree-form is a woodblock she carved and then printed on the monotype.

These two are pieces by Sandy Brunvand. Sandy's statement: These pieces come from a new body of mixed media works on paper based on drawings, etchings, wood engravings, woodcuts and relief prints made from solar plates. The images of the dried plant forms and landscape are found along the trail. These are assembled, along with drawings, sketches, and lines and forms constructed from other elements, into a finished whole. I am very interested in the texture and translucency of paper, especially thin handmade paper from Japan, Bhutan and India. When coated with beeswax they take on additional qualities of texture, heft, color, and light. I am especially drawn to how these papers combine with each other when layered, and how stapling adds a dimension of texture and line (reminiscent of the process marks in the woodcuts). The delicate lines created by traditional printmaking techniques and by drawing juxtaposed with the harsh, yet beautiful, line created by a stapler, make an unusual field of textures. The mark of the staple adds a functional element as well as a formal one in these pieces. The new addition of my dog’s black hair as line and value add yet another personal element to the work. He’s at my side on the trail everyday as well as in my studio. I have struggled to keep his hair off my artwork for years and most recently out of the sticky wax. It slowly dawned on me that perhaps it was supposed to be a line on the paper. Not something to be brushed away in frustration, but something to be appreciated for its own beauty and purpose. I find that I have become more and more obsessed with lines and marks. I continually experiment to find new types of line with interesting qualities.

The pieces on the right are by Kristen Bartel (right) and Brian Gonzales (left). Their statements:
Kristen Bartel- Monotype, digital, drawing My work includes both digital and tradition printmaking technique paired with a variety of drawing materials which create abstract and absurdly systematic prints. These materials include both the conventional and alternative. Original monotypes are first digitally scanned to create a workable matrix that is then realized through a digital print on drawing paper. This print acts as a structure on which to build upon with lithographs, intaglios and drawing. The digital file can then be altered without the loss of information from the original to create a second, third or fourth print. The act and making become tangential and relieves the matrix of the burdensome fate of degradation.

Brian Gonzales – Monotype, lithography, digital, glitter Soy De Tu Sangre, Soy Parte De Ti This print began as a monotype pulled off an ink slab after printing a different image. Brian found the colors and textures interesting so he scanned the monotype, made some adjustments in Photoshop, and printed an edition of digital prints to be used as the foundation for the final print. He then continued by printing nine layers of color using Sharpie Pronto Plate Lithography. (Pronto plates are a thick acrylic film that acts as a surface for a lithograph) Déjà Vu The majority of this image was printed using Sharpie Pronto Plate Lithography. In order to create the reflective quality in the vertical stripe Brian dusted the print with gold pigment powder while the ink was still wet.

Satan's Camaro is a collaboration between Lenore Thomas and Justin Strom:
The goal of our collaboration is to approach and create artwork in a way that is outside of our individual work. Collaboration requires all parties involved to see things in new ways, to both compromise and push the bounds of the creators and the artwork. The piece we created here combines our individual ideas and aesthetics to make a piece that involves opposites: organic verses mechanical, black and white verses color, hard and soft. Despite their seeming opposition these elements form a cohesive whole, functioning together in one space. Process: We currently mix water-based screen printing with applied surfaces of smoke, stenciling and branding.

Ted Ollier does some really nice shaped plate relief prints. He says: My shaped plate relief prints began as an experiment with shapes, rather than process; I was curious to see what would happen if I cut a plate with a jeweler's saw in order to depict an area: specifically, the Mediterranean Sea. I created a silhouette in Photoshop and printed it on a laser printer to use as a template, affixing it to the plate with spray adhesive. Since I'd done tabletop metalworking and jewelry making as part of my degree the cutting of the shape was a simple, if laborious process. I used an etching press because my whole intention was to etch the surface of the plate once it was cut. However, when I pulled a proof using rollup ink, the black surface coupled with the embossing under high pressure made an end result that I was quite taken with.

I started with copper, but have switched to aluminum and zinc with the rising cost of copper. The plates are not etched in any way; I smooth out the edges with sandpaper and needle files but the surface only has to carry the ink, not the art. The rich black and the subtle relief of the embossing add an aesthetic quality to the print so they have a tactile quality, as well as a design quality.

With most of these shaped plate prints I am interested in highlighting shapes and images that are rendered invisible through familiarity or context. Thus, the geographic series highlights the complexities of features we might never see otherwise; the infrastructure series demonstrates the poetry available in the commercial urban landscape; and the geometry series attempts to bring humor and playfulness to dry academic subjects.

Jennifer Jenkins
Soft Sculptures: Before constructing the three-dimensional form, the surface markings are created through screen-printing and machine embroidery. The majority of my printed forms originate from graphite and India ink drawings in addition to mono-prints. These textures, shapes and diagrams are further developed digitally before being transferred to the screens. The printed silk is then backed with cotton/polyester quilt batting. These two layers are then bound together by a random network of machine embroidery. Sections of this fabric are used to construct the outer shell of the sculptural forms, which are then stuffed with scrap quilt batting.

Mariana Depetris had three beautiful pieces in the show.

Technically, I find the possibilities of printmaking endless and I am never satisfied with only one process for the whole piece. These three pieces have layers of three harmonic colors in relief, followed by screen printing -four colors-, letterpress and inkjet. Then I dip the pieces in encaustic medium, which is Dammar resin and purified white beeswax. This makes the piece translucent and also seals the piece. Finally, with a sgrafitto technique and stippling, bright oil stick colors are inlayed so that the piece is completed.

Last but not least, Jeff Dell had three great pieces in the show.

Jeff says: Both of these pieces begin with traditional screen printing with acrylic inks (the background layers). Then Plastisol is used with a thick capillary film applied to the screen, which can deposit a thicker layer of ink. With care, this can also be printed in multiple layers, building up the surface to create a low-relief screen print.

Addition Jan 22, I found the article in the school news paper online, you can read it here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Old Print- New Trick exhibition is up!

I am happy to say that the exhibition is up and looks very nice. Even on opening day, when I was finishing up a couple of last minute things, students were already coming in and looking at the prints. Above is a picture from the back corner, and below from the opposite corner.

There will be an article in thursdays Inkwell (campus news paper) about the show. I'll try to add some snippets if I can get my hands on it. I am so excited, so far I have gotten great feedback.
I hope to remember to take some pictures at the reception. Two of the artists, Mariana Depetris and Jennifer Jenkins will be attending and giving short talks about their work.
Below is the view from the door.