Getting back to printing

I’ve been away for a couple of weeks and so have had an extended break from printing.  To get me back in the swing again I took my student print press to the ATASDA South group meeting on Saturday and showed everyone how it worked and how to make simple monoprints.

They took to it with enthusiasm and weren’t fazed at all by the oil based inks, amount of clean up and the sharing of equipment. They came well prepared with plenty of newspaper, clean cloths, fabric and paper to print on and, of course, wearing old clothes. We even made an overall out of a bin liner for one lady!!

ATASDA-print-1Above: A few of the participants about to place the mask over the inked plate.

They formed into small teams, taking turns to either work on a piece or assist another member of their team. Ideas flowed, ink was spread, stencils were produced and overlaid to block out some inked areas and then we carefully ran them through the press. Even though everyone had their own design and thought they knew what the results would be it was still exciting when they came through and were held up for inspection.

ATASDA-print-2Above: Left – the image printed on thick calico.  Right – the inked plate with the mask in place.

ATASDA-print-3Above: Left – inked plate with mask in place, plus textural markings on the top and bottom. Right – the result on cotton cloth.

ATASDA-print-5Above: Left – inked plate with mask in place. Right – the print on a silk scarf.

ATASDA-print-4Left – concentrating on inking up the plate before applying the mask.

We moved from simple masking techniques to backdrawing. The print plates were inked, fabric was placed over the plate and designs were drawn either on the reverse of the fabric or on an overlaid piece of paper. This transferred the ink from the print plate to the fabric creating a sketch like appearance. Combining this technique with the previous stencil approach gave some interesting results.

ATASDA-print-6Right – masked print with backdrawing on pale blue cotton cloth.

ATASDA-print-7Left – The print plate after one print has been taken, ready to take a ghost or echo print, after having bubble wrap pressed into some of the motifs.

ATASDA-print-8Enjoying ourselves immensely, we looked at adding texture to the prints by applying the ink in different manners. We drew into the inked print plates with wooden molding tools, pressed bubble wrap into ink, applied ink directly to bubble wrap and used that as a printing plate, crumpled up tissue paper and picked up some ink then pounced it onto a plate, and used a few textural stamps.

Due to time constraints and the number of people involved we weren’t able to print multiple layers or colours but the day was enough to show the possibilities that can be achieved using monoprinting techniques

From the point of view of ATASDA South group, we hope to possibly use the print press next year when designing invitations or flyers for our exhibition. By then I will be much more experienced, have a number of techniques already learned and together we should be able to produce something with a professional finish.

It was a very enjoyable day and the perfect way to get me moving again after my break.

All photography by Claire Brach with permission from the group on the day.


About Claire B

I am a passionate printmaker, paper maker and book artist. I'm a 'forever' student and frequently attend courses and workshops to extend and improve my creative skills.
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