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!

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