One of the bigger developments of this process over the past few years has been the direct-to-plate method. This involves printing the image directly on a plate using the front manual feed of the printer. The microscopic dots from the printer’s stochastic pattern acting like, and replacing the need for, an aquatint screen. After a brief exposure to UV light (without any screen, film or contact frame) the ink is washed off and the plate processed as normal. After this it’s the same as usual – ink, wipe and pull a print. Not having a screen and film positive eliminates a lot of the obstacles that many fall foul of; dust and insufficient contact being the two main culprits.
I offered this optional way of working to a workshop many years ago but it was still a fairly new method then, and although most of the participants got really good results, a few images, especially those that had a lot of detail in the lighter tones, were lacking. So I’ve been working on getting the adjustment curve perfected and I think I’m there. The next MCAD workshop starts this week and I think it’s going to be a whole lot of fun!
The Badlands, SD — Direct to Plate polymer photogravure (apologies for the low quality iPhone photo)
Each Monday evening, for the past eight weeks, I’ve taught a polymergravure class at MCAD as part of their Continuing Education programme and the results were amazing! Thank you all, it was such a pleasure working with you, and to Claudia, my TA, for all your help. Just a few of the prints are shown below.
Anyone who’s interested in future workshops should get on my mailing list. I send out a (very) infrequent email newsletter with information on upcoming workshops, exhibitions and special print offers.
The good news is that the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) has asked me to teach my Introduction to Polymer Photogravure class once again this autumn. The even better news is that this time it’s for eight weeks instead of six. This means not only more class time, but more out of class access too, because students are allowed to work in the print studio as long as a class isn’t using the space.
Polymer photogravure is a non-toxic and environmentally friendlier alternative to the traditional copperplate photogravure process. I’ve been working with this process for nearly 20 years now, and giving workshops in it for the last 10, and it’s a process that can yield beautiful, tactile prints from photographs, whether the original starts as a digital file or film.
More information and a basic outline of the process can be found on my website here, otherwise the class is on MCAD’s website here.
Lately, the emphasis around here has been on polymergravure. For six weeks I taught an introductory class in the process as part of the Continuing Education programme at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) with 12 students. Above is a quick iPhone panorama of the printmaking studio at MCAD with many of the students.
During one session we had John Pearson, a Highpoint co-op member, come in to show and talk about his beautiful two and three colour polymergravure prints. John, who incorporates many traditional intaglio techniques into his work such as dry point, spit bite and aquatint, took one of my workshops at Highpoint a couple of years ago and has really embraced the polymer process and is producing some amazing prints.
As well as this wonderful printshop they also have a great darkroom specifically for the polymer process which I helped set up a while back. I’m hoping that the class will be run again in the Autumn, and it’s looking likely that it will, so sign up for my infrequent newsletter to receive updates. Below are just three of the images that the students printed as small editions.