Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Stack O' Prints 'Blowin' In The Wind'

 I've been getting into a total printmaking groove lately, working at Malaspina Printmakers Society and at the very high tech Carol's Dining Room Table Society.  The advantages of Malaspina?  The company and encouragement of other printmakers, tools, equipment, drying racks galore (I work pretty fast when I get into it) and an opportunity for interaction with the public when they come back to check out the studio. 
The advantage of working at home?  I'm close to the leftovers in my fridge.  The reason I'm doing some print at home right now is that a couple of the blocks in my current series were carved into softcut lino.  I'm sure there's a valid place for softcut in this world, but if you are planning to make prints and think you'd like to use a press, don't use them.  They kept leaping backward on the press, and I'd heard that they don't necessarily hold up to multiple runs under the wheel (hearsay, I know)  so I brought them home to hand-pull.  I'm using Akua soy based inks, which, once I got used to them, were easy to use and amazingly easy to clean up.  My one challenge?  Drying space.  I loaded up my trusty clothes-drying rack (holds 18 half sheet prints), then started clothes-pegging prints to the back of dining chairs.  Used that space up.  Soon I was out on the deck clipping freshly pulled prints to the backs of deck chairs.  My next move was going to be hanging them from the arms of the chandelier hanging over our outdoor dining table.  It was time to stop.  My house was a fluttering black and white sea of The Vogue and The Orpheum Theatre.

Verdict?  The consistency of the prints done on the press is great, and it's easy to focus when you're in an environment that's designed for getting stuff done.  At the same time, I'm happy with the quality I can get at home.  It's comfy, fun, relatively productive and...did I mention the proximity of the fridge?

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