Sunday, February 19, 2017

Printing Seeds of Hope

Some people have asked me how I print an eight foot long (240cm) banner of paper.
Here is a short 2 minute video of me printing a plate on the central banner of Seeds of Hope.

I have already wiped the copper printing plate with an open bite etch, so the video focuses on the printing process (sorry the image of the hands on the plate isn't really visible in the video). This is one of the last plates that I'm layering on an almost finished piece. I worked with three different printing plates, each 24" x 36" in size (60cm x 90cm). For each print, I arranged the plate and the paper rather freely on the press bed. The paper is a Japanese Shoji paper from the Japanese Paper Place in Toronto, which picked up the aquatints better than I thought it would and which held up to being re-dampened and run through the press somewhere between 75 - 100 times. I printed this piece over the course of six weeks, printing a few plates every day to avoid too much offsetting of the ink. Once I arrange the plate and the Shoji paper on the press, I place a heavier, damp, western paper over top of the plate to absorb some of the blanket weave pattern before I put the printing blankets down. I let part of the paper hang over the edge of the press, and I release the pressure before I pull the paper out at the end. This print was printed at the University of Alberta graduate print studio.
For the printmaking nerds out there who want to see a version a bit closer to real time with a few more process details, here is a 7 minute version of the same video.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thesis Exhibition Installation

It is time! This week is the installation of my masters thesis exhibition. It has been busy and a bit stressful, but I've enjoyed every moment of it. We're almost done with a few final touches left for tomorrow.
For The Soy Field (above), there were 145 square foot size paper tiles to glue onto the wall, which took us two days. We've used a rice paste as used in chine-collé (or wheat pasting), which we spread on the damp paper sitting on a piece of acetate. We can then easily lift the acetate, shift the print into position and press it against the wall. Thankfully somebody has invented a laser level! And thankfully there was gallery staff who did most of the work (Thanks Phoebe and Myken!).

Below is Seeds of Hope, finally installed as I've envisioned it all along. I'm so pleased with the way it looks in this space, with the seed jars sitting on a bed of black earth underneath the banners with the hands.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Invitation to my MFA Thesis Exhibition

It is time. The invitations for my MFA Thesis exhibition are printed. This week I'm installing my show at the FAB Gallery at the University of Alberta. And next week is my defence. It feels a bit surreal to have reached this point, but I feel happy, satisfied, and proud of the work I made during the past two years.

Laser cut Woodblock Prints

I've had some fun over the past few weeks playing a bit with some additional tiles for my soy field. I wanted to find a way to include digital imagery without using digital prints which can appear rather flat. I found these great photographs of harvest combines driving over massive soy fields in almost militaristic formations that have this threatening feel of sheer power. One of my professors tracked down a laser cutter and she ended up cutting the images into woodblocks, which I then printed as relief prints. I'm very pleased with the results and I'm especially happy how they look with the soy plant etching plate printed over top to connect the tile with the rest of the piece (see The Soy Field).

Woodblock detail. 

Inked woodblock.

Here is another woodblock print I did with a laser cut digital photo of a soy field.