I’ve recently completed a suite of three
aquatint (plus drypoint) etchings
of contemporary Russian men.
One 9″ X 11″ copper plate was used for all three,
grinding the plate down with an orbital sander
after each image was editioned.
In fact, I used the same plate for the
previous suite “Purgatory”.
I’ve been able to get a lot of mileage out of this one plate!
I decided to make a simple folio to house
the copies that I keep for my records.
This was my first attempt for the cover design,
a cut out pattern that was meant to be covered with bookcloth
for a subtle embossed look.
Sadly, it was a miserable failure and went in the trash…
the second attempt also ended up there….ugh,
it’s never easy wasting time and a lot of expensive
book arts supplies!
But, since I don’t give up very easily, I
came up with a new plan and design for the cover.
I used one of the leftover proof prints and
did a computer generated design
that was printed on ultra thin
handmade Japanese paper. This was then
glued over the proof to allow the image to barely show through.
I lucked out with the placement of the eyes!
The interior is covered with a very simple
marbled paper in red and white.
One plate, six prints.
I’ve discovered the fun of sanding down
a plate and re-using it again. Not only is it
economical for expensive copper plates but there’s
something very pleasing
about destroying an image that I’ve
spent some time in creating.
I made a simple folio to hold
the six loose prints. The title was created
on the same etching plate as the prints
using carborundum grit sprinkled onto the text
which was painted on the plate with gel medium. Once dry,
it can be inked, wiped and printed
like any intaglio plate.
The interior is lined with “eyeball” marbled paper
in brown and two shades of gray.
“Corrupt”, “Immoral” and “Shameless”
After printing each edition, I used an orbital sander to
remove parts of the image and to create plate tone.
“Rain”, “Dive” and “Drown”
This is the alternate edition of the prints above.
I sanded and polished
the plate before moving on to the next image.
Although not visible in my photos,
there were remnants of each previous image
that I couldn’t get rid of.
All prints were inked using my fave new ink,
and printed on warm white Hahnemuhle Copperplate paper.
This is a very simple folio project
that I finished up today. It was created to house
a letterpress poem + a sheet of suminagashi paper.
This was good practice for me,
since it’s been 30+ years since I did
a project like this.
The title strip is slightly recessed
below the surface. I used tiny magnets
embedded in the front and back boards
for a tidy invisible closure.
Whoever came up with that idea is a genius!!
I only made two of the folios, this one was lined
with book cloth on the interior.
The suminagashi paper is loose and meant
to be unfolded to reveal the pattern.
This one was lined with a coordinating sheet
of suminagashi paper. Only because I slopped glue
on the book cloth and needed a way to cover up the mess!
I actually think I prefer this over the plain one,
so I may go back and reline the
One of my goals for my Tiger Lily Press
residency was to create a small book project
that combined text and some sort of printed image.
I’ve started on the text, thanks to an 1863
children’s religious book written
by “Susie Sunbeam”.
It’s chocked full of bad grammar, typos
and stories about children behaving
properly and loving Jesus.
I wanted to print the text on an
extremely thin (11 gsm) Japanese handmade washi
called Tengucho Ash.
Because the paper is so thin, problems occurred
and I had to come up with alternative
ways to print. The best solution?
Tapping the type with the blunt end of a chopstick!
Tap, tap, tap……20 minutes to print one page.
Lucky for me, this project will only be an edition of two or three.
Too much tapping and the paper will tear,
not enough, and the ink won’t transfer.
This one was successful!
It’ll be used as an overlay on whatever
image I end up using.
It’s a good feeling to finally finish these two mokuhanga prints
and be able to move onto the next project.
The two different text blocks were particularly challenging for me to carve.
Not only was the carving
process tedious and physically painful, but the writing is that of my mothers.
Having to trace and retrace, and then spend months carving her handwriting
was a somewhat cathartic experience.
She was never fond of her handwriting so I found it endearing that
this found poem that she had written down, was done on lined
paper and in her best hand.
After doing an online search, I discovered the poem is actually
a song by Mahalia Jackson. I never heard it, and certainly didn’t know that she liked this song,
but the words clearly had meaning to her.
The silhouette images are of me and my parents
taken from photos that my dad took somewhere around 1960.
Each print is 12″ X 24″, an edition of three and
printed on Nishinouchi washi.
For the last X number of years,
I’ve been using Torinoko paper exclusively for
my mokuhanga prints.
Despite the finicky nature of it, I kept
right on using it because I had simply gotten used to it.
That, plus it’s reasonably inexpensive.
For the two prints I’m currently working on, I’ve
decided to dump the Torinoko for a while,
and expand my Washi horizons.
Last weekend, the three blocks
for the first print (of two) were finally ready
to be proofed all together. I hastily mixed up three
values of grey ink and proceeded to proof on Shin Torinoko,
which is a really crappy thin version of Torinoko.
Not good, period.
No photos of THAT will be posted here!
I’m also using my Hon baren for the first time. Lovely as it is,
it has a very different “feel” than the baren that I’ve
grown accustomed to and will require
Today, I sacrificed a few sheets
of better quality paper to proof with, Nishinouchi and
Both printed nicely. However Nishinouchi is
much too thin to use for this large size image. Once dampened,
it’s very difficult to handle, so that one is out.
I’ll try a few more before I settle on one for the edition, I’ll also
be experimenting with special techniques and possibly
color on these blocks before
I get the edition started.
Nishinouchi is on top and Tosa Maruishi below.
This is a proof variation using bokashi (gradation printing)
around the outer edge of the block.