Saturday, June 13, 2015

Polishing Plates

Polished and degreased plates.

I've been back at the studio and the best way to get into a routine again is by starting to prepare the plates, bevelling the edges, polishing the surface, degreasing the plates and putting on an acid resistant backing. My plan is to work on a series of square plates (7-10) and then combine them randomly in various formations; some will have more controlled drawing, others will have more washes and painterly shapes. I'm supposed to loosened up more, plan less (!!!), open up my spaces (which I've been trying already last term). None of these things come easy to me, so it's a bit of a challenge, but I think that might be a useful exercise in working with the unforeseen. 

Polishing plate with electric sander. 

I bought an electric sander to polish all those plates. It works quite well and saves me a lot of time. I start with 1500 grit sandpaper (dry), then use 0000 steel wool by hand with 3 in 1 oil, then the sander again with a piece of old felt (printing blanket) + jeweller's rouge and oil. I think Putz Pomade works also quite well for the final step. This polishing process gets rid of most of the scratches and doesn't leave a sanding pattern. I don't quite get a mirror finish, but a nice even polish with a little buff (see top image). 

Scratched plate before polishing. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Workshop and Research in Paraguay 2015

I just returned from a five week trip to Paraguay. I taught a one week woodcut workshop to a group of indigenous artists while I was there. I posted more detailed reports and images on my second blog if you want to check it out:
I also spent some time researching and gathering information about the changing landscapes of the Chaco region in terms of growth, expansion and destruction/deforestation. Hopefully some of this information will inform my work in the future, but I'm still not entirely sure where my work is going from here, so we'll just have to wait and see what comes of it.

Aerial view. Fields and ranch land, Menno colony. May 2015.