Thursday, July 12, 2018

My printing press

My printing press is in my studio! I am so very excited! We still have to mount the gear box cover and calibrate the pressure gauges. However, I'll have to wait with the inaugural printing till I get back from my exhibition in Paraguay (more about that a different day). Anyways, the press has arrived and is here to stay. I'm happy!

Moving the Press

Last week we got my Charles Brand Press out of storage. We had borrowed a truck and trailer. A forklift had lifted the press onto the trailer. Remember, it weighs about 1 metric ton. Since we had to take it apart anyways to bring it down into the basement, we decided to disassemble it on the trailer. With the help of a friend and a neighbour, Terry lifted the press down in four parts. The next few days I spent the few days in hot hot weather removing all the rust from the bottom and top rollers, the press bed and wearplate. I used a product called Krud Kutter for the rust removal which worked quite nicely along with lots of scrubbing with scrubby dish sponges and steel wool. I did some polishing with steel wool and waxed all the clean steel parts with turtle wax. It took a lot of elbow grease, but I'm really pleased how nicely the press cleaned up in the end. Below are some 'before' (at pick up) and 'after' (after rust removal prior to final polish) pictures.

(At pick up in 2016)

(Lower roller before)


(Upper roller after rust removal)

We had taken the press apart into four pieces to get it down the stairs with three guys (Chris and Terry: thank you so so much for helping!). Terry had build some support structures and rigging to help manoeuvre the pieces down the stairs, which was really helpful. Lets not think about how we'll ever get it up the stairs again quite yet.

(Moving lower roller)


Moving the press bed. We estimate that it weighs somewhere between 300-400kg.



Terry's moving jig to lower the press bed down the stairs with a rope. A nifty yoke construction kept the heavy press bed from tilting sideways.


Friday, June 15, 2018

My very own studio

Two weeks after moving into our very own first house in Winnipeg, my studio is starting to take shape. Here's the first half of the main studio and part of my storage space with vertical plate and tube storage. Can't wait to get the press in here! (Thanks to Larry and Bruce in Edmonton for two of the flat files, the work tables and the vertical storage! Thanks to Terry for building the tube storage inspired by Highpoint's storage!) I'm so happy to finally be able to settle down and to set up my own print studio where I can work to my heart's content. More updates to follow as the studio comes along.
















2018 ROC

I am delighted to have my work selected through two jury rounds to be part of the International Biennial Print Exhibit: 2018 ROC in Taiwan! 2018 ROC will be exhibited at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts from June 23th to September 2nd, 2018.
For more information, please visit the 2018 ROC website.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Goodbye to ACAD















I've spent the past semester teaching printmaking at ACAD (Alberta College for Art and Design) in Calgary. The term has ended and I'm off to new destinations soon. Teaching has taken up much of my time and energy, but I etched a few new plates and did get to try out this big motorized Griffin press to print some test prints. I also played with some toner transfers for the seed jar imagery. I had to teach toner transfers in one of my classes, so I decided to try them in my own work. I'm still debating whether a digital print might be more successful in the long run, since it would be a bit crisper. I'm not quite happy with the prints yet, but I think several of them might grow into something finished eventually.

Detail of test print.


Crackle Effect


Testprint of Crackle Effect. 
I have recently tried a new etching technique to achieve this lovely crackle effect. It's relatively easy to do, but there is a bit of a chance factor involved. I've seen this effect in other printmakers' work, and I ended up following the recipe of Aine Scanell's Blog. I applied a ball ground to the plate, brushed on some talc after it was dry, brushed on gum arabic and put the copper plate on the hot plate at 200 degrees. When heated, the gum contracts as it is drying and pulls the hard ground apart. I had some flaking where the gum was thicker or where the hot plate got hotter, so I did some touch-ups before etching the plate. After cooling, the cracks have to be cleaned really carefully with a solvent to remove and hard ground residue. Then the gum needs to be washed off with water. I also applied an aquatint at the end, since some of the cracks whee rather wide. I am really please with the result and I think this plate and this technique has a lot of potential for my future work. I might tackle some issues about soil degradation or desertification in relation to my grad work about extractivist agribusiness models and monocultures.

Copper plate with hard ground and gum arabic application after being heated.


















Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Anthropocities

I'm so pleased to be part of the Anthropocities exhibition. It was a collaboration between fine art and history of art, design and visual culture students from the University of Alberta. The exhibition was first on view at the Shaw Centre/Edmonton during an international climate change conference (IPCC/Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which I believe is part of UN Environment) and is on display till March 31 at the University of Alberta Rutherford Galleria Space.