Friday, March 23, 2012

Engraving on an Etching press

I have emerged from motherhood to write again! Our daughter Aila is growing fast and is already learning to eat solids. I figured it is appropriate to finally post about the firefly engraving half a year later, since I was printing it a week or so before she was born. Better late than never...

Below is a little shot of the resingrave block with the DIY sandbag and tools. I had bought the thinner blocks to see if they would be easier to print on the etching press than the thick ones on the letterpresses. The verdict- both were just as easy/challenging. Here is a short story on printing engravings on an etching press.

So I am printing this edition about 8mo + pregnant. Hence sitting down while rolling the plate up. I've got my ink and brayer set up and am using two pieces of unmounted linoleum taped to a plexiglass to guide the roller on the edges.

I was having trouble at first with the paper lying down on the plate and stretching slightly as it went under the roller. Large areas of black would have stretch marks and the end of the plate smeared. You can see it in the close-up below.

So to fix that problem I ended up using the same technique as in the reduction linocut prints I did in San Antonio. Two pieces of foam on either side of the plate holding the paper up until it goes under the roller. Below- setting the plate down and then the paper.

Above- laying the paper down on the press bed. I am running the plate to the right under the roller. The foam is at the back end of the paper going through.

Having the two foam pieces worked great and the prints came out nice and clean after that. Instead of a felt blanket I am using a rubber offset printing blanket. It works well for all kinds of relief printing so you don’t get too much pressure like you do with the wool felts.

Running the print through the press and revealing the print on the other side.

TaDah! Here is a closeup of the print and paper size. The print was done to be a part of the Inkteraction 2011 "Navigating the Currents: 100 Inkteraction Reactions" portfolio. I figured it was one of the last things I could do before the baby came and I would have time to work on it. The portfolio has been touring TX in the beginning of the calendar year and heads to Macon, GA in April. The schedule of exhibitions can be seen here: Inkteraction. The administrators of Inkteraction asked 100 members to volunteer their interpretation of how Inkteraction helps the contemporary printmaker to navigate the electronic currents of the web. The way I see Inkteraction working is kind of like seeing fireflies in the night. They are spread out lighting up all over the place- kind of like our presence on the web- we are here and a moment later offline doing our own thing. It is a very splintered way to interact with people, but through it we find each other, see each others work and then when we meet face to face we are able to recognize each other and build more meaningful relationships.
I'm pretty happy with the way the print turned out, the only thing I'd change would be to work on a deeper black that does not have any white dots in it.

Adios amigos, be back soon with info on two upcoming exhibitions and other things I have been up to!



I very much like the print. And thanks much for the tutorial--so much I didn't know. I appreciate you filling in some of the blank spots in my brain--cheers :D

Anonymous said...

tres beau travail very good job
felicitation congratulation
Michel from Belgium

Gaultier Clark said...

I think it is a wonderful exhibition and the works very professional!
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