Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gravure- the new Medium! Reception and Demonstration Re-cap

Gravure is a 19th century technique which proceeds photography. For the last ten years, this technique has experienced a revival by printmakers thanks to the ready availability of non-toxic light sensitive emulsions and plates. At New Grounds, we use KM plates for pad printing which are available from New Grounds, or from Takach Press,
Photographers use gravure to achieve the rich tonalities and detail found in the works of Stieglitz, while artists who like to draw use it as a substitute for lithography. During the July 3 reception, New Grounds artist Jessica Weybright demonstrated how to create a colorful gravure by combining positive and negative plates of the same image.

To make the gravure plates from photographs the artist prints a black and white transparency of the image on a good photo printer. This transparency, or photo positive, simulates the large scale negatives of early photography.

The plates that we use are coated with a positive light sensitive emulsion which means that the image has to be positive in order to create a print that looks like the original. By comparison, in traditional photography photographic paper is coated with a negative emulsion which means that it has to be exposed to a negative image in order to create a positive version. It sounds a lot more confusing than it is! Really! Well, just to stretch your brain a little further, Jessica also created a negative, or inverted image in photoshop which she uses to make the second plate. The negative image deposits inks in the areas that are left white in the positive plate. The processes of making the plates are not shown here. However, watch as Jessica prints her two plates on the same piece of paper to achieve a very colorful and abstract image.

Jessica begins by brayering red ink on the positive plate. She then uses a tarlatan (a heavily sized cheese cloth) to remove the excess ink from the plate. The plate is now ready to print. She repeats these steps with the negative plate which she inkes up in green.

The negative plate is printed first.

Here is the first state of the image. Great color!

Now Jessica takes the positive plate and places it on top of the print she just pulled. The plates we use are thin steel plates coated with polymer emulsion. They can be printed upside down which can be messy, but eliminates the need for a complicated registration sheet. The second plate is simply placed upside down into the image area of the first impression.

Here she goes running the plate through the press one more time! She removes the plate and voila – the finished print!

The final image.

The aftermath of printing in half an hour…

The reception for the gravure show went well; we had many artists and visitors. Adabel Allen had three pieces in the show and she manned the door for a large portion of the night (thanks!).

Tanya, Gallery and Workshop Assistant, and Jessica Weybright, Artist, were enjoying themselves throughout the night.

Jeff Simpson, Artist (and our photographer for the evening), is shown here standing by his infamous “The Spokestoaster is in Rehab” gravure print.

Tyler is the owner of one of these lovely little toasters!

Jacqui Lewnes, Artist, and former member Carrie Kaser who is now apprenticing at the Tamarind Institute of Lithography came to see the show and the demonstration!

Jacqui, Tyler, and Susan Reid, Matrix Artist, are having a blast!

Thank you to everyone who came to the opening! Let’s give a round of applause to our photographer, Jeff Simpson.

No comments: