Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Papermaking workshop photos.

A burst of paper pulp colour! 
Pulp painted and laminated with string and I am sure there are a bunch of spices in there as well!

Sunday was the last day of the four part Papermaking workshop I held at my studio. There were 5 participants and they made some beautiful pieces. This was the inaugural papermaking workshop for the studio and so far all is pretty good. Well, aside from the fact that whoever did the cement floor forgot that the water is supposed to drain towards the floor drain! Participants experimented with laminating, debossing, pulp painting (which was a favourite!), adding inclusions as well as almost anything else they could think of! I really admired the creative freedom that one of the participants had in approaching her paper pieces.

Beating red linen fabric offcuts from my friend Emily Hamill who is a fibre artist.
It took about 6 hours to beat the linen down to a pulp.

I see koi in water!
This is a paper piece by one of my workshop participants. The orange is actually dahlia petals.

Scattered petal and leaves in natural pulp.
The fibre for this pulp is also from linen and cotton fabric offcuts from Emily.

Sheets of damp paper drying between wool blankets sandwiched between two wood boards with weights on top.

Helicopters or maple keys laid onto a newly formed wetleaf.
I can't remember if this was to be a deboss or if she ended up putting pulp on top to laminate the keys in.

Workshop participants wet posts after being in the press.
The next step is to put each newly pressed sheet between dry felts.

Tiny sheets with plant material laminated in it.

My hands couching a new wetleaf on wet felts.

My daughter helping me transfer a post of just pressed wet leaves onto blotters.
The wet leaves get sandwiched between the blotters and then they will go into the air dryer.

Pieces made by workshop participants.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A new addition...

Katie's Craftsman Press

I'm so excited!! Now I have the addition of a Craftsman platen press at the studio! A huge thank-you to my friend Katie who has allowed me to give her press a home until she has a permanent one for it. It's been in storage for a while, so I'll have to give it some TLC before I try it out. I do love the platen press (they look much nicer sitting in a studio! it's such a satisfying moment when the paper meets the type) but for what I like to print, a platen press is not practical.
So again, "Thank-you, Katie for lending me and my students your press! I'll take good care of it/her/him!"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Who's De-boss!

This is a video about Studio on Fire a design/letterpress studio in Minneapolis. Ben does a good explanation of how a polymer plate is made - they have an all in one plate maker!!!... it vacuums! it exposes! it washes! it dries! it does everything except print!!  I want one!!!  to bad I can't afford one and I don't know how to use photoshop or adobe image maker to create a positive! The last time I made a polymer plate I had to go over to a department called REPROGRAPHY to turn my negative into a positive by actually shooting and exposing another sheet! Guess how young I'm not!

Near the end of the video Ben makes three good points about the abilities of letterpress printing as opposed to modern printing methods. Yep. Letterpress is from a different time when things were done much more slowly and thoughtfully and one had to work within the processes limitations. That's what I like about it!! I know that I can't set and print two hundred pieces in two colours in a couple of  hours! Letterpress takes time, patience, and focus - some things I feel we are starting to lose (some have already lost it!!) in our modern society.

Something to note... what's with all the DE-BOSSING?!? I know that this is what everyone has come to think of when they think "Letterpress", but what happened to having the paper "kiss" the ink for a good print!?! Twenty years ago in school we were taught that the surface of the type/cut was supposed to "kiss" the paper to create the print. The deep de-boss was not practical as you would squash the heck out of the surface of your font or image eventually making them lower than type high and in some cases obliterating detail! As well, too much pressure isn't good for reading if you are printing double sided for a book or newspaper. Wood and metal type are big investments and you wouldn't want to wreck them by putting too much pressure on them. Polymer plates that are widely used now are relatively inexpensive, disposable and removes the need to use wood or metal type. So , I guess you aren't damaging your investment if you are crushing the heck out of your one job polymer plate.

"...Without dispute, Studio On Fire are masters of the design and letterpress world..." 

As much as I love their work, I'm not sure I would call Ben a master of the letterpress world, design... perhaps. There are many more letterpress printers out there who are much more deserving but are not in the graphic design world, much more low key and out of the spotlight. Just my opinion, though.

Studio On Fire/ Gestalten TV