Saturday, April 4, 2009

Nifty Registration jig

I made up a handy dandy registration device for my reduction print.  I took a class last year with Chuck Miley where we used easy cut block material and used a sort of mat out of foamboard which we dropped our block/s into.  The foamboard was the same size as the paper, if I remember correctly.  So I adapted that idea for this flexible block I'm printing with from McClains.  I cut a piece  binder board/davey board in a thickness that was thinner than my block.   I made sure the outer measurements were bigger than my paper.  I traced the block onto the davey board and carefully cut out the block shape so that the resulting frame would fit snugly around my block.  Then I laminated some graph paper and did the same measuring and cutting.  Then I glued the two together with a glue stick.  This enabled me to figure out exactly where the paper would lie.  I cut two strips of the binder board and glued them along the paper line forming an L.  For extra measure I glued a triangle of binder board over the corner  but I probably didn't need to do that.  It might have been better to be able to see the corner to make sure I had fitted the paper into place each time.  The laminated surface was easy to keep clean.  I still have one more color to print on 60 some prints but so far the fit is still snug around my block.  There might be a slight up and down wiggle room but each time I place frame around the block and snug it tight against the "L" corner.   

I've had registration on my mind lately, as I'm trying to work out an easy reliable method of registration for my Poco Proof Press.  So far I've made a tympan and frisket, (awkward in several ways) and  I've attempted to register on the cylinder (seems to be some slipping which might be my tympan cover not being tight enough).  What seems intuitive to me would be a sort of snug mat around the form which could lie on top of the furniture and onto which I could  lay the paper.   I have a matcutter and could maybe print onto a piece of matboard and then cut out the printed areas?Maybe I could have a board that is type high that locks along the edge and this matboard could be attached with tape and hinge?  Still thinking...   There's gotta be a better way!

Reduction Relief Print

I'm overdue for getting my Baren Forum Chinese New Year exchange print done and I finally got time blocked out to work on it.  After some  research I decided on a design and got it worked out.   The reasons for doing a reduction print are less carving, better registration and harmonious color.  I had a new material I bought from McClains that is linoleum-like and is used by Japanese schoolchildren.  I bought a larger piece and cut it to size on my Kutrimmer with no problem.  I even rounded the corners on a corner rounder.   

I tried at first to use the Daniel Smith water washable oil relief ink but it wasn't drying and I remembered reading  that it takes a long time to dry especially with layered color.  Plan B was using my lithographic ink from Graphic Chemical and that worked fine.  I used a LOT of the transparency medium for the first block which gave the pale blue background color.   I even used a good bit of transparency medium with the second (brown) color.   I liked the second stage of the print so much I almost quit but I'm glad I didn't now that I've carved and proofed the black layer.

Happy Year of the Ox!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Artist book!

Making a full length artist book was much more of an undertaking than I had ever imagined.  I thought I was home free once I had my concept but, oh, was I wrong!!  
This book has to do with the past 8 long years and I found I couldn't put in everything I wanted to, which is just as well.  I had to learn to distill things and figure out when one image would speak for many.  I struggled with the chronological sequence and in the end had to be arbitrary about which pages came in which order.  The Book Arts Roundtable, of which I'm a member, is having a show starting next week at the Pierro Gallery, at the Baird in South Orange, NJ, and this book was made as my contribution.  Since I'm a new member,  this is my first time having a book in the gallery show.   I'm anxious about whether it's  good enough or too controversial.  Tomorrow I hand it in and then I can just let it be.  

As you can see, I used my own paste paper for the cover and I used a Coptic binding.  The "button" is rolled up and glued paper like the cover paper.  The cover pleases me.

Here's my favorite page spread.  I used collage, painting and drawing.  It was a powerful experience working with these images.

I was able to work in some of my prints, relief and otherwise, into the pages.  In this page 
spread the "shock and awe" is a print I did on that subject.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I've let a lot of time go by without blogging so I'll try doing some catchup work.   I had the good luck to find a Poco Proof Press #0  on ebay which was within driving distance.  This particular press is unusual, in that it's been sandblasted to remove all the paint, leaving what looks like a nickel coating on the press.    It weighs quite a lot but my husband and I managed to get it safely into my studio.   

The first problem to be solved was figuring out how to keep the press bed from rolling right on off the tabletop.   After putting out queries and getting lots of suggestions I replaced a missing rod on the inside center of the body which projects just enough to engage with similar projections at either end of the press bed.  When the end of the press bed reaches the center projection it can't go any further because the two projections bump up against each other.  I used nuts with bolts for the center projection and for the missing end projection on the bed.   

There are also two holes in the surface of each end of the press bed which are supposed to have rods to be used as stops for locking up forms.  In those holes I used bolts with several nuts  above the bed and one nut under to tighten against.  I had to make sure the bolt wasn't too long or it would bump into the under structures of the press.  

Next I had to figure out the cylinder and packing.  That's still a work in progress but I used some davey board for bookbinding and cut it with the grain short  ( going from side to side of the press)  so that it would flex properly around the cylinder.  Over that I put a thin piece of rubber material and over that mylar.  The slotted rod which tightens the tympan was rusted and wouldn't budge but after days of using penetrating solvent it loosened,  and I was able to insert the tympan.  By that time I had corresponded with Arie K. who has the original instructions for the Poco still stuck onto his cylinder.  He kindly photographed  the cylinder  in segments and posted the photos to Flickr.  I spent some time transcribing as much as was legible.  These instructions say to insert both ends of the tympan into the same side of the slot and insert the tool (I had to improvise with a piece of rod) to tighten.  This worked perfectly!     If anyone would like a copy of the instructions I'll be happy to send them by email.  For some reason I couldn't get it to copy and paste into this post. 

I've printed one project so far--it involved type and a linoleum block.  It wasn't perfect but at least I can see the potential of the press.  I would love to try setting up some kind of registration device/system on the cylinder.  For the first project I simply eyeballed it and laid the paper over the form.   Another area to be improved is doing better hand inking.    And, of course, coming up with a name for my new friend.  Poconoo  is a possibility (get it?  poco no. 0)    Hmmm--some form of Pocohontas?  Pocohontapress?    Pocowantapress   Pocowannapress!!    Stay tuned for the winner...