Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Miss Mary

Print making is a passion of mine.  I miss being in the studio, I miss Dave Williams, probably the best print teacher in existance. Part of the beauty of print making is that it's remained the same for centuries.  Products, inks and tools may evolve, but the basic concept and techniques remain true. 

Although Lithography isn't my favorite, I still appreciate the art form.  We are given a giant limestone, which are no longer even quarried so whatever is left in circulation is all you get.   These are like gold, if you drop, chip and/or break one, you will feel horrible.

I tend to use photographs for inspiration which are close to my heart. My dad is an amazing photographer and I use a great deal of his work for sources to draw from.  This one is of my mom as a little girl, I love this picture. I have it framed in my house too.

my mom
One of the techniques is drawing on the stone with a grease pencil, giving the print a crayon like quality. The result isn't as appealing for me, but the process is incredible.  So many unique steps.  Preparing the stone with 3 different carbide sand grits, stopping out the borders, drawing on your design, the acid etching where you use varying strengths of acid washes. 

The print process takes hours, preparing your stone again with various washes and gummy liquids, mixing your ink to the perfect consistancy, wetting the stone, rolling on the ink, then wetting the stone again, roll it from a different angle. I've had my hands bleed from the process.  When you run the stone through the printing press, you need to have it adjusted so it gives the stone the right amount of pressure, too much and it'll crack your stone in half, not enough and the entire time you just spent inking your stone is wasted because the ink won't transfer properly. 

To create an edition of 10 will take you hours. For a novice, you generally make 15 prints because the edition needs to be consistant, printed the exact same every time. The extra are the ones with the variations which are noticible enough to not fit into your edition.

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