I have been meaning to write this post about my printmaking work for a while. I had to wait until I gave Christmas presents to my school friends (their presents were obviously prints).
So I want to show you step by step process of how I take a metal plate to an ink print on paper. This will be a long, but mostly picture post.
So, it all starts out with an idea on paper:
Then, I cover my metal plate in hard ground (a substance that protects the plate in the acid). I transfer my drawing to the plate by chalking up the back of my drawing and tracing it over. I then carve out my lines on the plate so the metal is showing:
After they are carved, I am ready to put my plates in the acid for etching.
The acids creates allies in the metal where ink will catch and transfer to paper. The hard ground needs to be taken off by a soy solution before I can ink up my plates and print. This starts by covering the plate in ink:
I then scrape off as much ink as I can using a cardboard scrap:
We use cheesecloth to clean the plate for printing:
Then the plate is ready for printing:
The press gets prepped at this point. Felts are placed in the press for the correct pressure and newsprint paper is placed down with a guide for where the plate and paper goes. Another piece of newsprint goes on the felt to protect the paper from the dirty felt.
The metal plate is then placed on the newsprint:
Printmaking paper has been soaking during this time so that it will better absorb the ink. Then it gets dried so it is damp and the ink won’t run:
The printmaking paper gets placed on top of the newsprint and plate:
The second piece of newsprint and the felts then get gently lowered to hold the paper in place:
And I crank the press to move the paper through and transfer the ink to the paper.
Then the felt is lifted off of the paper and I peel the printmaking paper up to see what I have created:
I usually make six in an edition so that I can pick the best five to turn in for a grade.
I use pencil to mark where my metal plate and printmaking paper go, so I have to erase the marks after the prints dry:
Then I sign and number my editions:
I have to stack them to turn them in, so I put newsprint between the prints to keep the ink from transferring to another print:
I make a newsprint envelope to keep them clean when I turn the prints in:
Finally, I clean my metal plates with soy and water:
I love this process because I can always reprint if I want more. I also think that printmaking is a dying art form and it is cool to know how someone would have printed multiples before computers. I am so glad that I got to take this class and work with new materials. What a cool art piece!