I was recently engaged to explore printing on handmade Hemp paper by someone who intends to market this paper for sale. I was given a general idea of what was required based on some work I had done previously.
Piece 1: Watercolour monotype
Using perspex as my base and very diluted watercolour paints I applied paint to the surface allowing it to bead, run and blend as it wished. Once dry, using a damp cloth I wiped away circular shapes and, using much more intense colours, I painted circles.
When dry, using a black Inktense pencil dipped in water, I drew lines and outlines.
I’ve done this type of printing many times in the past but always on smooth watercolour or printmaking paper and I know the image transfers well on to these. As the paint and pencil marks are fully dry when running the plate and paper through the press it’s necessary to ensure the paper is well dampened otherwise the media will not reactivate and transfer successfully.
In this case my fear was twofold: how wet could I make a piece of 240gsm handmade paper without it falling apart (as it’s unsized I believe) and, as the paper structure is fairly uneven, how much of the image would carry across. Examining the paper surface carefully I noted that it has a very fine textural surface; either from the mold used when pulling the sheet, the cloth it was pressed on or the board it was dried on I imagine.
So here’s the finished piece with some observations.
- It’s obvious to see the uneven and textural paper surface have played a key role in the final appearance.
- Despite the paper being heavily spritzed both back and front until it was as wet as possible without rivulets of water (!!) on the surface AND it going through a highly pressured etching press the image remains grainy.
- The watercolours used were pure colours, very bright and vibrant – as can be seen from the acetate photos above – the natural Hemp coloured paper has dulled them significantly.
- In most places the black Inktense pencil lines did not come across well at all and was touched up after printing.
The result is roughly what I expected from the materials I was asked to work with. Let’s see what the client thinks. Meantime, I’ll print some other styles to give him a few different choices.
Pingback: Print commission: Piece 2 | TactualTextiles