Thursday, 24 October 2013

Post 4

Planning a print
Carving in progress
First Repeat Pattern Print
The Columbian Press

I wanted to investigate the possibilities of using some kind of printing press as I have been using other ways of burnishing the print, such as rubbing the paper on the wood with the back of a wooden spoon, and simply using my hand, I saw printmaker Merlyn Chesterman (below) using this method at Art in Action in Oxford.  

I located the fine art printing room where I was introduced to the extremely impressive Columbian press which is over 175 years old.  I was given and induction to the printing room and how to use the equipment.  My first carving was unfortunately too thick to fit in the press which was a bit of a let-down but I used another block to learn how to use it and how to pad the press out to get enough pressure.  The physical action of using the press feels a long way from sitting at a sewing machine or designing at a desk, I like the physical activity needed to produce a print.  
What I learned from using the press:

1   To carve deeper lines and use less detail as fine lines seem to get blocked with ink after about 8-10 prints and images start to look less sharp and more blobby.
2   mix colours more carefully and don’t use a new colour on an already inked block without cleaning it.
3   plan designs before printing, maybe with small sketch
4   cut away background of carving or will leave an impression of the wood even without ink
 use the right amount of pressure, always print in the middle of the press for even prints, don’t forget to reposition paper or it will look very patchy, although I think this effect could be used in small amounts to add to the handmade look.  

Visit to Special Collections
I examined a number of printed papers from the Schmoller Collection, most of which were decorative papers used for covering books, lining draws and edging shelves.  I was inspired by the different patterns, colours and playful designs.

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