Here are some of the prints from my time in the shop yesterday. The night before, I had quickly grabbed some cardboard and various papers, carved some designs and glued it all up; my design is all experimentation for practice. I hadn’t done any collagraphs since my BFA education, so it had been about eight years since I’d inked up a plate like this. Yikes, it takes some time and lots of attention to get the desired results. (Also, this shop isn’t really set up for this kind of printing, so I had to do some improvising–it all worked out, though.) I’m not entirely satisfied with the prints, but it started to feel familiar again and I’m going to try again, soon.
Here it is, “bust/Old Man Face,” and I’m pretty pleased with the results. My registration is spot-on about 90% of the time, which is fabu, at least for me, and I got some good subtlety in the colors. I will frame a couple of them and then prolly trim down the others for book cover material for a book binding class I’m scheduled to instruct next month. Sweet!
Here are the prints as I worked on them: On the upper left is the first layer of this reduction cut (or, the second layer on some prints where I printed the inked-up block as a background, first). Next, is the 2nd layer and, because I’m trying to learn from my mistakes, the registration is much better (so far) than on other recent projects. I experimented with transparent colors on this to see what kind of effects I can get. Second row left is the result of an application of a transparent yellow; it’s a little hard to see, but there is a clear layer of gloss apparent. Finally, I put on one more layer of transparent color. Look what happened! It’s a layer of transparent purple over the transparent yellow–I love it! I’m hyped. And, amped.
This is the image I practiced with yesterday on the proof press. The one on the left is good (!) and was what I was going for. But, as the other two prints show, I still need more practice: The middle one isn’t the worst one I did, but I think a sloppy insert to the clamp before rolling skewed it just enough to preclude a clean print. The one on the right was even more sloppy, but I trimmed off the edges so some of the ‘slide’ is gone and I think is less obvious. It’ll be a postcard, so that’s okay. Then, since I had the ink on the rollers, I made a couple of postcards:
Some of the variations from my last exercise:
Okay, I know these fotos are sub-par in quality, but they do show what I was trying out yesterday in the printshop. I applied the last two layers of ink, an opaque light blue and finally, a dark blue. The image on the left is what I was starting with, the yellow and green (which was actually a layer of transparent blue) inks, and the image in the center is close to what I had planned in the first place, with the colors I was interested in and the use of/practice with opaque and transparent inks and, mostly, registration. This print is the second-best version of this plan and it’s clear I didn’t get it perfect. sad. The print on the right is pretty cool-looking, but not what I’d planned. A couple of things I do realize after this project: I should consistently use good quality printing paper; I think that my too-varied variety (lots of construction paper of different qualities and some very nice printing paper) precluded my getting just one good registration position because some of the paper stretched (I think) and messed me up. etc… Another thing is that I should prepare for the project much more thoroughly, from start to finish. Seems obvious, right? Well, I’ll try. Anyway, I’m still pretty tickled, but I know I have a ways to go before I’m satisfied…
This image (which is blurry–I’ll replace it soon) is of my new curtain fabric; I dug out an old lino I’d used for a reduction cut handprint, and inked it up. I started by printing this fabric on the press, but it was just too much fabric and I started running out of time, so I just went ahead and printed it by hand (which still took some time, actually) and got adequate-plus results. I’ll run them up by the end of this long weekend, and they’ll be ready to brighten up the bedroom for the new week!
Here is the print that the design came from:
This is the stuff going on in my scene: Here are the paddle fans I’m almost done with; this is what they’ll look like, mostly (I’m still figuring out the heart–a lino stamp, or a block on the letterpress, or maybe a cutout heart of other paper? hmm…). I’m pretty tickled so far, gotta say.
The two prints are from some letterpress practice as mentioned below. The purple one will be a book cover, I think. The blue and mustardy one I think can stand alone–I really like the accretion of ink and textures there and will pursue that effect some this summer.
The little flower picture shows what I was treated to when I opened up the kitchen door this morning–Huzzah! The first poppy on that side of the house. Lovely!
I’ve spent a few hours in the print shop of a local community college and have been, slowly, getting back into the print groove…It’s a very different feel from my woodworking classroom and it’s a real relief to be in a bright, spacious and sawdust-free workspace. It still takes a lot of energy and focus, but the reward is almost immediate and the ink smells like home.
printmaking classroom, press furniture, Challenger letterpresses, Cherokee syllabary type
image from Guggenheim Museum website: https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/hilma-af-klint
Once again, one of my favorite radio shows, On the Media, talks about something vital in my world; the other week, it was mass transit and this time, it’s gorgeous, illuminating, exciting art! On their December 21st program, OTM discusses the fabulous Guggenheim exhibit of the mystical work of Hilma af Klint, “Paintings for the Future.” This OTM segment is fascinating and informative about an artist I’d been hearing/seeing things about here and there for a little while–I regularly listen to On the Media, and, amid the expected stories on politics and media, there was this gem! This segment explores not just the art itself, but how it was positioned in history and how it came to be in the Guggenheim. I urge you to listen and be inspired! (The first several minutes of the segment is solicitation of donations, but at about 4 or 4.5 minutes, the segment about af Klint starts.)
1/18/19 Hey, here’s another radio show on af Klint! Studio 360(PRI.org) has an exploration of her work and its place in (art) history. It’s a nice piece about the history of af Klint and her work and it also mentions some of the work artists have done in response to her work.