Tag Archives: rocker

Mezzotint proof!

1 Jul

I have finally taken a first proof of my latest mezzotint! I Have spent a few months gradually working the plate as I didn’t want to rush it, especially as it’s the largest mezzotint I have done (approx. 30X30cm)

The plate was originally rocked with a 100 gauge rocker about 20 times. Although it is advised to rock more than this, the plate is a bit thinner than you would normally use so I didn’t want it to bow in the middle, and also it’s long winded.. so 20 suits me just fine! I also allowed the rocker marks to show around the edges as I am really keen to promote the hand-made / hand-pulled print and this is obviously a key feature for mezzotinting!

When proofing a mezzotint I usually expect to be fairly disappointed with the result as it is so hard to tell if you have burnished enough. Also every time you print the plate the burrs break down slightly because it has quite a delicate surface.  This is why it is best not to proof too many times because you will only get up to 20/30 prints maximum, depending on how many times it was rocked! As this was rocked only 20 times I expect it to be an edition of 20 with a couple of ‘Artist Proofs!’.

I am really pleased with this as a first proof (Sorry image to follow – technical difficulties!) so I will only need to define a few areas before editioning it and getting it ready for this year’s Norwich Print Fair! I have slightly over wiped the centre of the plate as well so hopefully the next proof will be much clearer!

 

New Etchings

8 Mar

As part of my ‘tools of the trade’ project I have been working on an etching of a ‘rocker’ and so I thought i’d just post an image of the plate so far…  I’m intending to rock lines across the top of the plate to demonstrate how this tool is used but have also prepared a collagraph plate for the handle so that it will be embossed!

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I’ll be printing this on Wednesday as well as proofing this plate (below) This etching is to go with one of my early etchings, ‘Granddad’ and is based on an image of my Grandma and her sister in Cork in the 1930s. So far I have done a hard ground line, and used soft ground to apply a texture to the coats and background of the plate but I think I may need to work into it more to get a wider range of tones.. I have also produced a small collagraph to emboss one of the figures!

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Mezzotint Progress!!

26 Feb

It took me a good while to prepare my latest mezzotint plate (approx. 30x30cm) but having started working into it I have realised that my ‘rocking’ skills have some what improved! The main thing is that I didn’t rush it so the surface is less rough than my previous works…although I have left the edges of the plate, partly because it takes further patience to do them neatly, but it also makes the rocker marks more visible so that when it’s printed you can see that it’s been rocked by hand and not by a machine!

I started rocking the plate last summer but at the time didn’t have a solid idea for the image I wanted to use.  In the end I have chosen this image I took of one of the letter press machines at the John Jarrold Printing Museum:

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So far I have transferred the image in reverse using carbon paper (amazing stuff) and started scraping back some of the mid-tones using a scraper and burnisher, thing is even when it looks like you’re getting somewhere it’s so hard to tell how it’s going to print!

The idea behind this print is not only to draw from my visit to the JJarrold Museum but highlight the lengths it can take to produce an original print.  All the machines and presses on show have a specific purpose and it’s fascinating to know that they were in use every day but nowadays many would be surprised to know how it took a team of people to make sure the morning headlines were physically printed and on the streets between 11.45 and 12.15 every day. (Even the fact that the machines are still functioning and being maintained is a real indication of quality engineering!)

Basically I felt that this image suited working with mezzotint as it involves manipulating the metal surface and being quite methodical. It’s going to be quite a challenge but i’m particularly inspired by Carol Wax’s sewing machines and want to continue developing a wider range of tones and even experiment with mixed media!

This what I have done so far, slow progress but watch this space!!

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Time for a Mezzotint

16 Feb

WP_20150214_003 Just a quick up date to show the beginnings of a new project that will involve a series of intaglio prints including etching, drypoint and finally a new mezzotint! I will also continue to explore combining printmaking methods such as monoprint and etching.

I have taken a proof of my newly rocked plate and although you are not supposed to print a mezzotint too many times before the final result I want to be able to use the proofing process to demonstrate this long winded process and possibly exhibit it at its different stages later this year.

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My new work is currently based around ‘tools of the trade’ and an artist’s organised mess so I will be using images that I took while assisting the late Aidan Kirkpatrick in his workshop and also intend to visit various workshops and studios to draw further inspiration. Watch this space and thanks for reading! L