Friday, May 24, 2013

Historical Print Collectors' Conference and Visit to Northern Kentucky U

I was lucky to attend the American Historical Print Collectors Society (AHPCS) for their 38th Annual Meeting, first time in Cincy. Thanks to the generosity of our local print collector and enthusiast, Allen Bernard, and several foundations, a few other folks and I were able to go on scholarship.

The host hotel was the Hilton Netherland Plaza- one of my favorite buildings in Cincinnati. The first speaker was Wes Cowan of Antiques Roadshow on collecting prints. There was another great talk afterwards on the cultural history of sports represented in printmaking.

Next was my other most favorite building- the Union Terminal Train Station! We got to go to the history museum- a huge complex underground that I didn't know was under there : )

There were lots of miniature trains and models of local history. Here's a wee lil' P&G.

Lots of funny signage was to be documented. Silly girl! (the WWII exhibit)

Making sure that ladies wear their brassieres and don't accept lunch from men traveling to Dayton

coming out of the Crisco closet

besides the obvious segregation, married, sick and old are all the same thing, huh?

It's my Royal typewriter! Love the stand too. Sure were a lot of antiques to ogle over 

Ooh, see the Oliver? Always a favorite!

I get to go on a photoshoot on a 'plane'- who boy!

Now onto day 2 of the conference, we start in the Mercantile Library- a most lovely membership library downtown with stacks of old books that you can just pick up and leaf through! First was a fascinating talk on John James Audubon and parts of his life in Cincinnati.

Next was a lecture on the history of lithography shops in town.

A bit of time to peruse the collection- heehee, I thought these two things never went together!

And we get to look at the print collection of Virginius Hall.

One of my favorite maps of Cincinnati plus vignettes

Now a tour, having lunch at the Rookwood- we get to see some views of downtown. Jackie Penny, AHPCS newsletter editor who also works at the American Antiquarian Society, documents our outing.

And Joe, my former student, is now famous. He signs autographs for the collectors- even for folks from Canada!

Next stop is the Main Public Library downtown, where we get to view more collections

Several are by a local favorite, Edward T Hurley

 And of course, Audubon!

Next, I am just baffled that I didn't know about this- the Cincinnati Panorama of 1848, one of the world's most famous daguerreotypes!

It has incredible clarity. You can look at it with magnifiers through the case (housed in argon gas in a contraption built by the George Eastman House)

The also have an interactive screen (also online) where every little detail is linked to facts and research, all by category.

So that was a most wonderful conference! Sadly I had to miss the riverboat tour that night and events at the Cincinnati Art Museum the next day as I had to work : ( But just thrilled to attend what I could. I learned lots about prints, local history and made several new friends!

A few days ago, I also got to make a return visit to Northern Kentucky University to work out the details of hopefully working on a stone when I return in the late summer/early fall. I sure do like this idea of traveling around to give some love to neglected litho stones and spread the word!

Here is the view of campus, pretty much right out the windows of the printshop. Isn't this a gorgeous view?

And a printshop tour à la Printeresting- great student signage : )

The schmutz board of shame- you find schmutz, you write it up, the culprit gets shamed. I like it!

The shop- lots of screens, and the graining sink beyond

I also got to view a very nice scholarship show in the gallery upstairs

There were a series of mezzotints by independent student Liam

Loved this one with the clock! (apologies for the reflections)

and a great series of screenprints on corroded metal of Nixon, by Matt

Now back to the shop, here is a wonderful and thorough diagram on spray paint aquatint- I might steal this!

And this is the spray paint of choice for zinc- I'm always looking for tips. My favorite for a while has been Ace's Flat Black Enamel.

Now for some fun experimentation, Print Professor Andrea Knarr exposes a screen in the sun with one of her students. Oh, the anticipation!

Quickly covering...

Hoofing it back to the washout room- this is the hard part- the obstacle course of getting back into the building while keeping it covered.

Starting to wash...

Oh my goodness it worked!! They had to double the time to 1 minute-and-a-half on a cloudy day, almost summer (we will have to call in astronomers to get the most accurate times). Plus the screen was coated on both sides. Fun times and can't wait to get back- love the shop, Andrea and the students, and hooray for more litho in the future!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Non-Toxic Printmaking wraps up for the spring!

Finally, I am pleased to say we are getting great results from our trials in non-toxic printmaking! With much advice from Liz Chalfin of Zea Mays and lots of trials and tribulations on our own, I am proud to say I am ready to teach when I return in the fall! I think the prints are looking just as good as anything 'toxic', plus, it's always nice to clean up with just soap-and-water, washing soda and citrus-based solvents.

I enthusiastically try the bright-green Z*Acryl Stop-out

Rick Finn draws through Andrew Baldwin's BIG ground during our Solvent-Free Sundays

making marks

and we successfully have several little test plates! I do Mr Pickle

Rick does fruit and vegetable drama

Valerie comes in to try viscosity inking on collagraphs


I attempt to re-ground a plate with BIG ground. I try pushing it into the lines with a dauber

then I heat-set. looks pretty good?

Nooo, it still etches through! Okay, well Zea Mays says to card the ground on like ink, then roll on top, then heat-set a little extra to make sure it's really solid in the lines.

Valerie- proud with her spread of collagraphs and monotypes, mostly using Akua inks

Yuling tries the stop-out on her plate

removing Z*Acryl in a warm washing soda bath of about 1/2 cup soda to 1 liter boiling hot water

Now to my class, April tries BIG ground and likes it much better than the 'toxic' liquid hardground from the intro class she just finished up with me

she brings her daughter to work on a plate too!

and Valerie tries more collagraphs- love the subtle colors on this one

now for a brief, toxic interlude, this is how a man bevels a plate. Just remember he IS wearing safety glasses and has everything clamped to a table- just like YOU should!

but dang, that angle grinder gives a nice, rounded corner. it's a secret no more!

Pam joins in to work on a plate

April inks up in red

Julie pulls some collagraphs

back to Solvent-Free Sunday, Rick continues the fruit and vegetable drama with this amazing, selectively-inked plate (using Caligo Safe Wash inks)

I edition a plate with Charbonnel Aqua Wash inks and some chine collé

Rick also inks up one of my test plates

hehe, LOVE the mustard on that hot dog!

In class, Phoebe pulls a great bicycle print- her first one ever!

 April prints a lovely green horse- pickle green that is!

So speaking of pickles, I got horribly frustrated after several printing disasters in front of my class. But that's a part of teaching, right? Looking like a fool sometimes and having to troubleshoot on your feet? The one variable I discovered is that the water-soluble inks HAVE to have a couple sheets of newsprint on top of the printing paper in order to absorb excess water- or else water will puddle all over the place and ink goes right through the felts. Glassine can help act as a barrier for this, but using glassine ONLY (and no newsprint) on top of your paper is a recipe for a soupy, inky, bleeding mess. So I did several trials with Caligo ink with various papers dampened in different ways:

here is Zerkall Copperplate, a waterleaf paper that was being disastrous for me. It shouldn't be soaked, of course! (my silly mistake) It needs to be sprayed just until damp, then blotted. But the pressure on the press should be lighter as well. Otherwise the ink will start to bloom all throughout the paper. It's very tricky though, so I personally would not recommend waterleaf (unsized) paper for water-soluble inks.

Next is Rives BFK. It has never been a favorite of mine for etching (better for relief). Obviously sprayed and dipped aren't enough, but the lines still looked spotty after being soaked up to 10 minutes.

Here is my favorite for etching- Hahnemuhle Copperplate. 10 minutes of soaking (then blotted) on the right seemed to not quite be enough, but 15 minutes got the best result of any test. So I still declare it to be the best paper. I haven't tried Arches Cover yet, but I'm sure it would work beautifully as well. I've also had success with Somerset (velvet) in previous tests.

And now to my last class this spring, before the summer job. Thank goodness it was not a disaster!! Amazingly we did an entire plate, from stopped linework to several stages of aquatint and a proof, all in about 2 hours. Whoowee this stuff is fast!

Valerie waiting for the Z*Acryl stop-out to dry on a warm hotplate

funny how it turns more blue as it dries. Luckily it's so much quicker than the red shellac toxic stop-out,  but there are still some strange repelling/coverage problems.

Valerie and Jason both stopping out for aquatint with Z*Acryl- we used the rosin box to get a nice, even coating of rosin dust, then set it on the hotplate for a few minutes at 250° to fuse

Now, after removing the stop-out and rosin in a hot washing soda solution, then a bit of rubbing alcohol, it's time to print. Looks good!

here we go!

and the verdict is...

wow, that looks really nice- great job, Valerie!!

And Jason's print and plate as well. Thank goodness the aquatint worked. Can't wait to do more experiments and get going with a real-fangled class- thanks so much for all your support and patience everyone!