Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sundstrom prints three color image in record time (with assistance)

During Mary Sundstrom’s opening she demonstrated her layered monotype and gravure techniques with a finished print in 20 minutes! Extremely fast, even for the trained printer. Mary’s printing assistant, Tanya, helped by running the plates through the press to get this accomplished so quickly.

Mary begins the demo by showing how she created the gravure plate which is the first part of this three plate image. Gravure is the process of exposing a transparency to a light sensitive plate which is then developed and can be printed like an etching. For this plate, Mary created the image positive, or transparency by drawing a design on a piece of prepared mylar.

Mary begins inking the gravure plate by using a piece of mat board to apply the ink to the plate; she then uses a tarlatan to remove the excess ink from the plate. Her objective is to retain ink only in the recessed parts of the plate which are the image areas.

She has already made herself a registration sheet which has all of her plates and the paper drawn on it. This is used as a guide so she knows where to place her plates each and every time she prints.

To create her monotype she begins with rolling a flat color onto a poly-carbonate plate. Once the plate is evenly inked she takes the corner of the mat board to remove ink from the plate in various places. This is called “working reductively.” Note that the monotype plate does not contain any permanent information. The image is created completely out of ink. Monotypes are also referred to as painterly prints. For more information about monotypes visit our website at

The monotype plate is then placed on the press using the registration sheet as a guide to place it in the right spot.

The second plate is then rolled through the press, transferring the ink to the paper. It would be impossible to create another like impression from this plate now that it has been printed.

Next, Mary shows us one of her paper cuts which she actually uses as a stencil to print from! She struggled to find a way to incorporate the look of her paper cuts into the printing process. She tried using different materials; such as mylar and Duralar to print but the results were never what she wanted. Mary decided to stick with what she knows best, paper.

It took two people (Mary and Tanya) to place the stencil on the print. The stencil can only be printed a couple of times before it starts to fall apart.

Here it is right before removing the stencil…

And here it is! The final print done in a whopping 20 minutes! Bravo, Mary!

Here she is with the models for her prints!

We had a packed house and people loved the art!

Thanks to all the volunteers who came to help make this show possible!

Photography by Bruce Childs

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