Sunday, April 8, 2012

Studio Time: The Cake of Others

Happy Easter, Everyone! This post has nothing to do with the holiday, unless printmaking makes your Easter complete....

Last Sunday and Monday afternoons were devoted to studio time. I think I pulled a bit over 50 prints, though I haven't assessed and numbered them yet, so not certain of the edition size.
Ahhh, repetition!
I was aggravated by the lettering this time around, but happy about the frosting. I wanted the cake to convey: I am *special*! In my own confectionary way, I mark a milestone. The loss of me would be upsetting. I think I succeeded in this. At least, *I* would be upset if someone stole it from me.
Maestra really pared down the things in her studio since I had last been there. As always, cutting, mashing, burning, and sawing tools all had their places; and newly found old objects waited for use in upcoming art projects; but now there were more luxurious swathes of cleared off table tops, and window sills with carefully chosen objects occupied the foreground against a backdrop of Spring greenery. Sigh!
So, I hummed along, feeling happily productive. I inked my block, laid a sheet of mulberry paper across its surface, covered it with protective felt blankets on the printing bed and spun the wheel to roll it beneath the metal drum. Lift the felt, hold the paper in place while peeking at half the paper -- does it need more pressure anywhere? Ink touch up? No? Peeling the paper away and sailing it over to its design neighbors, drying on a table.

Ink, paper placement, felt, wheel, peek, sail.
Ink, paper, felt, wheel, peek, sail.

It's not long before things change, right? Even between the first and second day, boards can degrade. Examine the photos below. What's different?
Right! You're so observant. Indeed, the rim of the cake plate is now missing an expanse. I had certainly weakened that area by both puncturing the wood AND cutting the surrounding wood away, close to those holes. Submit that repeatedly to heavy pressure, after you have applied moisture and wood bits are bound to race for the hills. Often you notice something is wrong when you spot a inked up morsel of wood on your inking plate: uh oh. Where'd that come from? It's not always apparent. You keep inking your board and hope it's not a damning defection. The tinier the wood fragment, the lower your chances of fixing it. Glue will only dissolve that smallish nubbin. The above scenario is one of those cases: you just need to be okay with it. This is a good exercise. You get frustrated, irritated. And then you have to let it go. And decide the print is still worthy of something. So. You continue printing.

What's this look like?
Wrong. it looks like trouble. I know: trouble is often not immediately identifiable as such. See also: trouble. But look again -- there's a shadow where it doesn't have a right to be. The lower part of the S has peeled itself away from the board, in the wake of my inked up brayer. What's excellent? It hasn't separated yet and isn't super tiny. This, we can work with. I search around the studio for a bit of wood glue. Clean up the board a little and weigh it all down with an old wooden box, mysteriously labeled as "Gasket Kit," plus additional heavy items.
Now is a fine time to text friends, walk down to the Drowsy Parrot for a Mexican Latte, and  read part of a Smithsonian article on Casanova (so much more than a lover!). Talk to the butterscotch cat about why you're not going to pet her and then the board should be sufficiently dry.

And it is. So:

Ink, paper placement, felt, wheel, peek, sail.
Ink, paper, felt, wheel, peek, sail.
Ink, paper, felt, wheel, peek, sail.

A good couple days' of work. Give the prints some alone time to dry and then determine which ones make the cut. Fifty did, this time around.

Sign, number, and toss them into the air. Who will catch 'em?  Etsy listing here.

Wishing Everyone the blessings of the day, whether you're religious, spiritual, or just happy it's Spring... Have a good week.

No comments:

Post a Comment