Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Experimenting with plate wiping fabric.

My curiosity was piqued recently when I was in my local fabric store and noticed that there was an interfacing that had a similar feel to the Akua wiping fabric. I decided to buy a few yards and experiment.

You can see the similarity between the two. Same "feel" but the interfacing has a slightly denser weave.

Akua wiping fabric on the left, interfacing on the right.
Then I noticed that used clothes dryer sheets are of a similar quality to the Akua wiping fabric.
Left: Akua fabric, bottom: interfacing, right: dryer sheet.
All three options ended up working quite well. The interfacing, with its denser weave, worked best for the initial wiping of the plate; pushing the ink into the grooves and moving ink around to cover the plate. You can see here that the ink sits mostly on the surface of the interfacing.

The dryer sheets worked very much like the Akua wiping fabric since the weave is similar. Granted the dryer sheets are small but it's easy to wad up a bunch of them and they work well on small plates or for final spot wiping. However, they wouldn't hold up for long periods of printing because after a few uses I could begin to see the surface break down.

Dryer clothes softening sheet.
The bottom line is that the Akua fabric is obviously the superior wiping choice but if you're out of it and need something in a pinch, or to supplement what you already use, the interfacing and dryer sheets will get the job done. Also, since used dryer sheets are free, they would serve an an inexpensive option if you were doing a printing project with an elementary or high school class and your budget didn't allow for lots of materials and equipment.

Anyway, this experiment was well worth the time.

Akua Wiping Fabric

This and That

Even though I'm fighting a head cold and coughing constantly, I did manage to get a lot accomplished in the studio this week. I began by deciding to submit work to a number of juried shows, both local and national. I have a tendency to show a new work once or twice locally and then file it away.

Since there are currently so many opportunities for exposure, I decided to submit work to several. The trick for me is to keep dates organized. After making a list of the venues I was interested in, I bought a calendar notebook that had plenty of room for information. Now to pay attention to deadlines and "ship by" dates.

The first deadline is this weekend so it was down to the basement to build a couple of frames. I'll be submitting these to the Norwich Arts Council's "Images in Ink" print show. Looking at this photo, I found it interesting how a rug my mother-in-law had made complements my fish print.

In between framing, I managed to work on a few ideas and make plates for different series I'm interested in continuing: a sense of place, rock forms, and stitched prints. So many ideas swimming around in my head its hard to settle on which one to pursue first. I was hoping that pulling a few proofs would help focus my attention.

Plates ready to proof along with a mannequin print and a study for sense of place.

The first proof of my rock series hot off the press.

Now to keep the momentum going ...... and get rid of this cold!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Final Decisions

After a couple of days away from the studio, this morning I'm trying to decide whether or not to leave my latest print as it is ....

... or add a collage element in the form of a feather and a bit of machine stitching. Or, maybe just the feather and no stitching???

Close-up with feather and machine stitched gold thread.

This is a tough decision. I like the print as is, but wonder if the additions add a bit more to the image, or is the image more mysterious without.

This particular piece is a Solarplate with chine colle' printed as a variable edition on Arnham paper using Akua Intaglio ink. I decided to call this piece "Offering". 

Feedback would be welcome and helpful since I'm caught in the middle.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Proofing Underway

Before printing this Solarplate, I decided to try something new. I mounted the plate onto a scrape of four-ply matte board using just a glue stick as the adhesive. After running the plate through the press, I carefully trimmed the matte board from around the plate. 

My goal was to increase the plate's thickness to replicate the embossing in the paper that one would get if using a traditional zinc or copper plate.

I'm using Akua Intaglio ink and printing on dry Arnham heavy white paper.

Moment of truth.

The plate printed really well and I was pleased with the degree of embossing. A little more proofing and experimenting with color before I call this one finished.

Preparation and Plates.

With numerous ideas rattling around in my head, the time has come to go with the flow and get busy. That's how it went yesterday morning as I set up for a new reduction print and made a number of Solarplates. The plan is to have a few things going at the same time so I can switch back and forth between projects. We'll see how this works out.

When I worked on my last reduction print, I had attached the registration pins directly to the bed of the press. This tied up the press for the duration of the project.

This time, I taped all my registration to a separate sheet of plexiglass so I can just lift everything off the bed and set it aside and not worry about messing up the registration.  This frees up the press when I want to print intaglio plates.

Here's the new sheet of plexiglass with all my registration in place. 

Another new thing I'm trying involves transferring the image to the linoleum. I find that if I transfer the entire image to the linoleum, before printing, some of the lines show up through the ink. I've also had parts of the image erase as the plate is cleaned.

To avoid this, I set up a couple of the Ternes-Burton registration pins on my drawing table, along with a right angle guide for the linoleum block. This should enable me to accurately position the linoleum with the master drawing each time I'm ready to transfer the next areas to be cut before printing. As long as I make sure the linoleum is tucked into the right angle and the master drawing doesn't move, everything should line up nicely.