Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Adabel Allen’s show not just for the birds!

A huge crowd turned out to support Allen for the opening of her show. Art collectors and bird lovers can’t resist her work, and as one of the rare native Albuquerqueans that we encounter ever so often in this town, ALL of her old friends came to visit her as well!

This is a spectacular show; Allen presents many different layers of meaning in her pieces which she supports with innovative combinations of print media. She was introduced to gravure earlier this year and immediately began to push its boundaries. For her demonstration, she showed how she combined gravure with relief printing – a highly unusual combination indeed!

“Taking Care of Business”

This image consists of two plates with the gravure plate functioning as the “key plate.” It was created from one of Adabel’s photographs and contains the actual bird imagery seen in the finished print. Check out our July blog for a detailed description of the gravure process. This plate is inked up in black and set aside for printing.

For this particular image, Adabel used the relief print to print the blue and white background which supports the gravure plate. A relief print is created by cutting away non-image areas out of either wood, or linoleum, and rolling ink on the remaining raised, or image, areas. For Adabel to know which areas to cut away she had to employ a trick: She ran a freshly pulled impression of the gravure plate over the linoleum block using an etching press. The still wet ink transferred to the linoleum block and thus provided her with an accurate guide for creating the color plate. Note that we do not have pictures of this part of the process.

Adabel now inks up the linoleum block. Notice that the bottom part of the image is much darker than the upper areas.

She created this effect by brayering two colors of ink on the block. Here she inks the darker part using a very small brayer.

She finishes inking the plate by brayering a layer of blue over the entire plate. The colors will blend a little in the brayering process. Here is the finished plate on the press bed.

The relief plate is run through the press first, then the gravure is run through the press immediately afterwards (note that there are no photos of the printing process; check out some of our previous blogs to see how this is done!).

This reception would not have been as successful had it not been for the help of our numerous volunteers such as Carol Walker and Pamela DiMauro.

Last but not least, a big thank you to Cornelius, Regina’s husband, who always takes care of the food and beverages served during the reception in addition to providing moral support!

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