01 July 2011

Printmaking Progress . . . Or Lack Thereof

This morning I had to check and make sure I still had some copies of prints available before renewing them in my Etsy shop, and that led to making a proper list of all my prints and edition sizes and which copies were left (I still have to go through the Giant Box of Prints to double-check what's left). In the process, I discovered it's been a dismally long time since I did any real printmaking.

The last lithograph I made was in late 2007. I'm not the biggest fan of lithography, though it is certainly a great way of printing book contents. (And when I say I'm not a fan, it really just means it's not my favourite printmaking process; I still like it very much.) That was The Evolution of Flight:

The most recent intaglio (etching/aquatint/mezzotint/drypoint/engraving/etc) print I made was Variations on a Sea Jelly, in 2008. Intaglio I miss quite a lot, and a recent idea I had for a big series of prints would be intaglio, on copper, and the plates would actually become part of the work, too. I'm not quite ready to say more about it, because I'm still working it through in my brain, and trying to figure out how to make it happen.

I do have one in-progress intaglio project I can work on in the meantime, because it's printed and just needs some hand-colouring, but it's a small project and will be quickly completed. Just before I did the sea jelly above, I also did a series of tiny zinc-plate etching/engravings with hand-colouring, and when I printed them, just for fun I did a few on soft brown paper in dark brown ink. All six of the fish are on one page, and instead of separating them as I did in the coloured versions, I'm thinking of leaving them as-is, and then just adding either shading all in browns, to keep the sepia theme, or else is very, very muted colours (suggestions are welcome).

As for relief printing, the last thing I did that wasn't entirely letterpress was WANTED: Wm Morris, in 2008. Of course, I have done a lot of letterpress images that count as printmaking, even if most of them also happen to be in the form of greeting cards.

I dug around in my in-progress stuff and pulled out a few linocuts that I started and haven't finished. One will be a triptych of eight-inch square prints inspired by some gorgeous photographs by Rosamund Purcell. They're going to be reductive, which means I do minimal cutting and print the first colour (in this case, a pale cream), then cut, print, cut, print, all from the same element, until I have as many colours as I want. This set will all be in a range of siennas (I think--too lazy to go dig out the tin of ink I bought especially for this project), starting with paler and working to darker. It's hard to see what I visualize, but here's the first bit, set aside right as I was ready to print it:

I think I can print this at home on my little proof press, though it would certainly be easier and faster to do it in the Dawson Printshop. I may take these with me the next time the Letterpress Gang meets and see if I can take a bit of time to print colour 1.

I also have a linocut I started as a demo piece for the kids' printmaking summer camp I taught last year. I worked at it on and off during the week, but only when the kids were busy with their own stuff, so I didn't get it finished. I planned a second plate with a simple repeating pattern to sit in behind, only where the dragon is, to give it colour. I've left this out on my worktable for now, in the hopes I'll steal some time to work on it.

And finally, a bit of sillyness: a t-shirt idea I did during the same summer camp that I didn't get a chance to actually print on a t-shirt (I did another one that says "professional geek" that I did print on a t-shirt; I wore it at the last craft fair I did and got a nice complement).

I call it "apeshirt."

No comments: