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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.
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.
Suminagashi is a Japanese
technique for marbling paper or silk,
and has been in use since the 12th century.
I’ve been curious to try it since I began practicing
Turkish marbling last year. And today,
during my Friday residency at Tiger Lily Press,
I finally had the opportunity.
It’s considerably easier to set up than Turkish marbling. All that’s
needed is a tray of tap water, sumi ink, surfactant, a few sumi brushes
and unsized washi.
I practiced first on smaller sheets of scrap paper just to
figure out the ratio of ink to surfactant. I only used black sumi ink
diluted to two different values. They were far too pale initially,
and as I progressed I continued to darken them. Too bad I ran out
of paper before I could get the one value as dark as I wanted.
To create the pattern, the brushes are dipped in the diluted ink & surfactant,
and then barely allowed to touch the surface of the water. Instantly a
small circle of ink floats on the surface. With each touch of the brush,
concentric circles can be built up to any size.
In addition, I use a third brush that is dipped in plain water mixed
with a few drops of surfactant. This brush is used
to create a clear circle which will print as a clear line.
After the circles are created, I then fan (or blow across)
the surface of the water which causes the
floating ink to begin to swirl and move around to create the pattern.
It’s impossible to control it, and it’s not supposed to be. Part of the charm is
in relinquishing control and allowing
the pattern to develop on its own.
In order to capture the pattern, a sheet
of unsized washi is lowered onto the surface
and the pattern is immediately transferred to the paper.
Last week, as part of my residency at
Tiger Lily Press, I gave an hour long talk
on my recent work and discussed the process
of mokuhanga and chine colle.
Here I’m showing the three woodblocks
used in printing the color for this image, as well as
the original silverpoint drawing, the chine colle
copy of the drawing and the finished print.
Close up of the finished print, “Dead Weight”,
These are two of the woodblocks that were
overprinted onto a photographic image.
“Prayers for a Happy Death 3”
I also brought along some a few tools
used in the mokuhanga process including these
Japanese brushes for applying ink
to the block.
The only etching I had time to do this past year.
One copper plate, which was editioned at three different
stages as I made progress on the image.
This is “Creep 2” and “Creep 3”.
Marbling paper has become a pleasant
diversion from the time consuming reduction
mokuhanga prints that I’ve been doing lately.
Until today, I’ve only been fiddling around
with the “stones” pattern. That’s where the paint
is sprinkled or sprayed on the surface of the size
and allowed to do it’s own thing without
much help from me.
Pattern was on my mind today, so I dug out
my old marbling combs and proceeded to
Every sheet has some flaws and
technical mistakes. Not that it’s a big deal
since I’m simply experimenting and
enjoying the process at this point!