Beaver Lodge — platinum-palladium print on Simili Japon
The exhibition Many Waters: A Minnesota Biennial, postponed because of the pandemic, will finally open this summer in St. Paul and have an opening reception. The show has been organised by The Minnesota Museum of American Art (The M) and will use the museum’s window galleries and its partnership with the NewStudio Gallery to exhibit work, as The M is currently closed for construction. I have three photographs in the exhibition that have all been printed in platinum-palladium and will be in the NewStudio Gallery.
Minnesota Museum of American Art 350 Robert Street North St. Paul, MN 55101 www.mmaa.org
Spring is finally here in Minnesota, thankfully. I love the seasons but I’m as glad to see the back of all that snow and ice as everyone else.
Something else I’m thankful for is the variety of work I get to be involved with working with other artists. I’ve just finished printing two exhibitions as inkjet prints, both of which I’m really happy with, and now I’m currently working on projects that include albumen prints, salt prints, a platinum-palladium portfolio and an edition in polymergravure.
These fine-micron stochastic screens, the ones I use for my work, my clients and in the workshops I teach, are now available on my website at a special introductory price until the summer. Used with photopolymer plates, they are available in three contrast resolutions, soft, medium and hard.
These screens have been shipped to print shops across the U.S. and to Scotland, England and Australia. If you’re a school or college, or run workshops in polymergravure, email me to enquire about the availability of test screens.
Available in sizes from 8″ x 10″ to 20″ x 28″ although larger sizes are available – prices on demand.
Way back when I first came to the US, I started using Van Gelder Simili Japon paper for my own platinum printing. It was from the last remaining mill in Holland yet it was easily available in large sheets and had good wet strength. The downside was the watermark. Running the length of the longest side were the words ‘Holland’ at each end and in the middle its huge logo. These all encroached many inches into the sheet, so you lost quite a bit of paper, unless you wanted a print with the word ‘lland’ or ‘Holla’ in it.
Over the years other papers came along that were supposedly better for platinum printing, improved versions of Arches Platine, Weston Diploma, COT 320, and my use of the Van Gelder faded away. But recently I’ve found myself wanting to make prints on it once again. You can still buy the large sheets from New York Central, my original supplier, but that watermark… Then I found that they make an easily available, but lighterweight version, in convenient pads of 25 sheets for calligraphy. It’s only available in 12 x 9.5″ size but my prints are only 7 x 7″ anyway. Perfect! And it has good wet strength too.
With my work being so small, it’s easy for the texture of a paper to become distracting and lose detail. But after making just one print on this paper I remembered why I loved it so much, all those years ago. So the new prints I’ve been making are all on the Simili Japon, 50/50 platinum and palladium.
For the best part of the past year I have been one of several beta testers for a new paper by Hahnemühle, formulated specifically for alternative/historical processes, and it’s beautiful. Straight out of the box, this paper worked for me.
Those that have been around me long enough know that I’m not a printer who uses densitometers or relies heavily on calibration (although we absolutely need those people), so my testing was based on my real world conditions and variables. I changed nothing in my approach to testing and nothing really changed; my sensitiser mix and exposure times were virtually identical to those I would have used with Arches Platine. Very easy to work with, and with great wet strength, the coating was smooth, the blacks deep and has excellent separation throughout. I also tested both sides of the paper without any discernible difference. The weight, surface and colour of the paper give it the feeling of a luxurious, high quality paper, which it is. Bostick and Sullivan and Freestyle will both be carrying the paper from March.
I must thank Carol Boss at Hahnemühle for giving me the opportunity to be one of the beta testers and for listening to us and our requirements and pushing them forward.
Hahnemühle Platinum Rag is an uncoated fine art paper. It is designed to meet the highest quality requirements for platinum printing and any other non-traditional photographic printing processes like Palladium, Van Dyke, Cyanotype and Salt Prints. The natural bright white paper with a weight of 300 gsm is made of 100% cotton fibres, acid free and does not contain any alkaline buffering. Along with the optimised sizing, the paper allows for easy coating and clearing. Hahnemühle Platinum Rag excels with a beautiful tonal range and very deep blacks. The smooth, slightly textured surface lends the paper a pleasant feel-to-the-touch.
Hahnemühle Platinum Rag will be available in March in the following sizes:
8.5″ x 11″ 5 sheets (Sample Pack) 8″ x 10″ 25 sheets 11″ x 15″ 25 sheets 20″ x 24″ 25 sheets 22″ x 30″ 25 sheets