Process

The Plates:

I use a combination of different types of plates, for different results – often on one print, rendering it as unique as the feeling that created it.

Solar Plates for Intaglio

Solar Plate  Exposing a Solar Plate

Steel-backed, light-sensitive polymer plates, also known as solar plates, bring my images to life. I can either draw onto the plate, or use film positives from my own photography to create the intaglio plate (texture in the plate which accepts the ink). The sun’s UV-light etches the artists’ image into the plate and is then developed with ordinary tap water.

Gomuban Relief Plates

Carving Tools  Gomuban Plate

For relief prints, also known as linocuts, I use the Gomuban rubber plate.  This plate is used in Japanese classrooms because of it’s soft, easy to carve surface.  It is a stiff synthetic rubber, which holds very fine detail and crisp edges even under the pressure of a press. Hand woodcut tools are best for these plates. I am partial to the mini-gouges. Since it is a relief plate, ink is rolled on the surface and the print appears from the raised part of the plate.

In printing, I use the technique called “reduction linocuts”.  This means that I cut the first color out of the plate (usually the areas that will remain white), and ink it with the first lightest color (#1), and hand print using a registration device.  Then I carve out the parts that I want to remain the #1 color, and print with the #2 color.  Cut the #2 color out, and print the #3 color and so forth.  In the end, the plate is reduced to a final color print.  I use the different stages to experiment with color combinations and partial carvings.  Similar to my intaglio solar plate printing, I am not interested in editions, so the prints remain unique in their color combination and imprint.

For monotypes, I use Plexiglas®  to “paint” an image and create a one-time impression on the paper.  This technique is often combined with the layering process of other prints.

The Inks:

Soy-based, Water washable Ink

The inks are not the traditional oil based inks.  Instead they are soy-based, water washable inks known by their brand name of Akua Intaglio Inks.  These inks present good color pigments while being kinder to the environment, and are easily cleaned up with water, not solvents.

The Paper:

Sekishu and Revere Silk Paper Samples

I often use either Revere Silk for an opaque paper, or Sekishu as my Japanese hand-made paper.  The latter may be used to collage or could be used to chine collé (glue) whole images onto the Revere Silk for a firmer base, often accepting another image on top. When framed and matted, all materials are acid-free.

The Press:

The American French Tool press Ready to Print Inked Plate

Each piece is created by pressing paper into an inked plate, whether with the American French Tool press (built in RI by a machinist father for his printmaking daughter) at the Newport Art Museum’s Coleman Center, or simply by rubbing the impression with a hand tool onto the paper.  When the ink is “in” the grooves of the carving, or sits “on top” a plexi-plate, it is best printed on the press.  When the ink is on the surface of a linocut I use my hands or baron to rub the ink into the paper, thereby controlling the intensity of the ink on the different areas of the print.