A spectacular bonus • • April 12, 2018
What the heck is this, you’re asking? Wow, do I have a story to tell!
First though, you need a little background: I’m using an old letterpress to do an etching press’ work, and I’m printing with watery drawing ink, so each time I run something through the press, ink squishes and squeezes out everywhere. That’s bad! I don’t want my poor old press to start rusting! So, I must contain a complete mess, and I also have to control the pressure on a press that has no adjustments. You would think I need to be goofy ingenious but nope!
Now, here’s a new printing term for you: makeready – in letterpress printing, the final adjustment of the pressure exerted on all parts, by using overlays and underlays in different areas as required.
Holy crow, that sounds scary technical, but all it really means is you need lots of extra paper! By putting little pieces of it over or under what you’re printing, you can increase the pressure as it’s being printed. In my case, all I’ve done is expand on the idea. I not only add scraps and sheets of paper to tweak pressure, but I place what I’m printing within paper folders so that when my ink squishes out, it has no where to go. THAT’S what the picture above is – the makeready folder that enclosed the picture below while it was being printed!
Because my ink is sooooooo thin, the pressure during printing forced it clear through the actual print and into the folder too! It’s a print printed by the back of a print! Here’s another one:
These aren’t just kinda cool – they’re gorgeous images all on their own. It didn’t take me long to realize I had a lot more than just a surprising side effect happening. So I started to intentionally set up more squish. I inked the back of my plate so it would print directly on a folder. And of course, it didn’t take me long to start running my folders through the press all on their own, printing additional layers. These next two are examples of that:
And now the inevitable: of course I would have to start painting and scraping and grinding on one of these. I mean come on, I’m me!
My final picture is the biggest question mark of all! Buried under there is the original makeready image, all but run over by all sorts of frantic activity. If you think the whole right side of that picture is confusing – you’re right! I’ve temporarily taped on bits and pieces of inked scrap, as I play with the idea of doing some collaging.
You know, at this point in my pandemonium of a workspace, I can’t tell what’s art and what’s not as it’s lying around!
Hey, these are all worth clicking on to get a better look!