Sunday, 1 February 2015
Printing at Omega Press in Portsmouth January 2015
I had to miss the first class as I was ill with a horrible cough so was delighted to finally make it down to the Omega Arts Centre in Portsmouth where the Omega Print makers run a course under the tutorship of Mary Stephens Having failed to produce an image the first time round with my do-it-yourself efforts I was really pleased that the first session was in dry point techniques.
Mary had a beautiful German book of the first photographic images of close ups of seeds and botanical subjects. She photocopied the one I chose to work on and I taped it and a thin acrylic sheet to the back of my A3 sketch book. Using a simple etching needle I scored the dry point grooves to make the image.
This beautiful press was bought from a lady who had it in her kitchen...lucky thing.
This beauty is a cast iron Albion Press but not for our purpose. They were originally designed and manufactured in London by Richard Whittaker Cope around 1820. They continued to be manufactured, in a range of sizes, until the 1930s.
This far more modest press is the one I used. Still it's a lovely thing. I have just bought a really good quality woollen blanket in a charity shop and intend to boil wash it to make it into felt so that I can cut it up to make y own..I'm already fantasising about one day buying my own press...sigh!!
An A1 drying rack for the prints to dry once they have been pulled from the press.
I thought the grass would look good with a flash of yellow and so I used a brayer loaded with a light film of yellow ink to roll a thin stripe onto the plate before placing the paper on top of a piece of unprinted news print and then covering with the damp printing paper and blankets. I'm still messy as anything with the sticky black ink and have to make a special effort to use folded scraps of card to pick up and move the clean pieces of paper,
This is the etched and inked acrylic sheet just before printing from it.
Here is my first ever print using a press. I was thrilled to bits.
And here is the first print of the hare. I can see a number of changes I'd like to make and was surprised at how long it took me to ink up and wipe down the plate. I need to do a better job of cleaning the edges of the plate. I did enjoy the whole process enormously and am looking forward to doing lots more.
Here are some interesting links;
1) Demonstration of how to make a plexiglass etching
2) This is where I am now attending classes
3) This is our fantastic tutor
4) And here are some great general links