May I introduce you to my new happy place! I had my camera with me in the printmaking studio at school a few evenings ago and I thought it’d be fun to show ya where I do some of my learnin.
Just so you have your bearings, you walk in the door with this printmaking transom window. Immediately to your right are dangerous hot plates above which we put our most recent work. Can you tell which ones are mine?
Left: mine is the long linear piece on the bottom. It’s the 3rd part of a 3-part print. Right: Part 2 is the blue one. Also pictured: wall of brayers. A whole wall! Wondering where the brayers are? Nope. You don’t have to. They’re right there.
Beyond the brayers is an emergency exit door where we hang aprons. Then there’s the water bath for paper soaking. To the left of the bath sink is the hand washing sink with assorted cleaners on the shelf above. Rounding out the corner is our outlandish amount of drying racks. I was the only one who swooned for the drying racks on the first day of class.
Our current project is drypoint etching. There are multiple parts involved and the imagery is a self portrait. I love the way school challenges me. Self portraits wouldn’t even cross my mind in terms of printmaking. Camera, sure. Cell phone selfies, occasionally. But a drypoint, never.
Drypoint is an intense process, my favorite kind. It involves really sticky ink practically scraped in the scratches on a plate. Then you rub off the excess ink with varying stages of tarlatan. You start with the dirtiest one and wipe until almost clean.
On the other side of the room there are tall windows and plenty of counter space to work on with cabinet storage on the bottom. Everything we ever need is already ready to go at the oil station thanks to our technician, Kim.
You may be wondering what’s happening in the center of the room. There happen to be two, giant, fancy, legit printing presses. Here’s my self portrait on the Takach.
Not only is the process for each individual print arduous, but with drypoint (or any etching) you really want to proof it as often as possible. At the time that’s usually overwhelming but then, later, you have a step by step process print collection.
I’m not quite done with the assignment just yet, but I can’t wait to show you how it turns out!
Thanks for visiting my print shop with me. It really is a joyful experience (of hard, hard work) every time I step foot in the place.
See ya (in the),