Tuesday, November 16, 2010


A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to try my hand at print making with a real print roller.  My daughter has been having a course of printmaking lessons at weekends to help her HSC studies from Andy Totman of the National Art School, at the Newington Armoury studios, Sydney Olympic Park.  She couldn't attend one of the days so I went in her place.

We were introduced to photo polymer (solar) plates which I'd never used before.  The plates have a surface which is activated by sunlight and so by placing an black and white acetate image on top and leaving in the sun, an etching is produced from which prints can be made.  It's a bit like cyanotyping where the treated fabric exposed to the sun turns blue but not where the fabric is covered.

I chose a photographic image of a neighbour's tree I frequently use in my sketchbook.  Once exposed for 2-3 minutes the plate is immersed in water and gently the excess polymer coating is rubbed away to reveal the image.
The plate was inked up with oil based printing ink and a print produced under the roller press.

I was amazed by the detail produced particularly when so little ink is used. I printed a couple more - one over a newsprint and one with a second inking in red on top.

By overlapping the acetate images on the plate then exposing to the sun, you can get multiple images on the one print.  I mixed some Shakespeare with Stonehenge.

We also did some monoprinting, using some torn muslin and threads as resist.

I personally prefer the second print from the plate which is a little more subtle and shows more textural detail.


ferinn said...

I've done etching on copper and glass but I've not heard of this before,though I suppose we don't have enough sun to make them reliable here.I like your second monoprint the best too.

Gilli said...

Lucky you - it seems it was a very interesting and useful day