New Print Project: Part 4
Our first task when I arrived at Center Street Studio was to transfer my drawings with inscriptions photographically to film positives. Here Jim Stroud trims one of the films we created that will be used to transfer the images for our Accordion Print project to the printing plates.
Subsequently these films were placed against the photo sensitive printing plate and exposed to bright light; the plates were placed in a bath and developed. The purple coating that hardens on the surface of the plate protects areas of the plate when immersed in the acid bath (image below). Anywhere bare copper is exposed to acid, recessions will be cut which to hold the ink during printing.
In the photographic transfer process, we found that in order to make my original ink writing appear light enough, my graphite drawings (originally done in pencil) had almost disappeared. As a result I decided to incise each image by hand onto the plates. I used transfer paper to outline the compositions and then drew with a sharp stylus across the plates, cutting through the purple resist to expose copper (image above). The drawing process took a long time, but I liked the idea of hand-drawing the images. I had not tried line etching in many years. Rather than sketch quickly, I slowed down my line and enjoyed the feel of the stylus point across copper. Printmaking often takes you places you least expect to go and the dictates of the process can bring healthy new experience. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “every wall is a door.”
When we printed the plates (above), I felt very happy with the result. I had constructed a clear linear armature that I would then augment with tone using aquatint when I return to Center Street Studio to finish the project later this summer.
(above) Interior view of the Center Street Studio workshop with one of my Accordion Print proofs and plates on the press bed. John Wilson’s intaglio portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. is on the left. Paintings by Jim Stroud are on the back wall.
(above) View of Center Street Studio workshop in Milton, Massachusetts. My deepest thanks go to Jim Stroud and Janine Wong my friends, hosts, and collaborators.