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04 November 2015

Relief Printing at the University of Edinburgh

I received a request to talk more about my experience at the University of Edinburgh. It's a different sort of teaching environment than in the US, although the nuances are hard to describe. This one, however, I can easily share. The other day I had my first experience with relief printing!
     A few weeks back, I purchased some linocut board to experiment with, since two of my projects will be focusing on carving and relief printing. I created a fairy - nothing fancy - this was purely for experimental sake.
     With my carving and several papers in hand, I headed down to the very impressive print shop here at the Uni. A veritable staff of experts works down there ready to help as needed. Mark Fenning took me under his wing and spent an amazing amount of time with me showing me what to do.
     First was mixing the ink with an extender and a magnesium (?) thickening agent.
Mark showed me how to mix the paint and roll it out to a velvety texture which will smoothly and evenly attach to the raised areas of my linocut.
The first relief printing method we used was the most basic - newsprint and a wooden spoon.
The first one I did turned out horribly - but I'm keeping it. So proud! After that I moved up to the Columbian press. This machine is OLD and used with great care and respect. It's also extremely sensitive with the pressure it exerts - as in, a piece of paper can make a difference to how it prints. Mark taught me how to prepare my linocut.
How to wind it into the area where the pressure is exerted.
And how to pull the arm to actually operate the press.
Turns out a good paper to use for relief printing is a thin, flexible one, like newsprint. I also tried other various papers just to see how they would turn out. You can see how it looks after going through the press.
And voila!
Not a masterpiece by any means, but I learned so much by doing this! What a wonderful experience. I can't wait to get into the print lab to do more. Of course, that means I have a lot of drawing and carving to do first! (And that's a different blog post!)

8 comments :

Lynne Johnson Jones said...

The ye ol press is a beauty.

Loraine Joyner said...

Oh, my!! It brings a tear. Those old presses are inextricably bound to today's digital, in a beautiful linear path. Yet their elegance enchants us still!

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Doesn't it make us feel creative and romantic!? :)

Joanne Roberts said...

Wish I could experience my printmaking classes all over again, now that Ai have better ideas and more ambition. Have fun!

Kitty Klein said...

Exciting to see a finished stamp! How old is the press?

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Joanne - come join us at Hollins University!
Kitty - I'm not sure of its exact age, but I'm pretty sure it's from the 1800s. :)

Robyn Hood Black said...

Making my way through some of your posts - you are a treasure for sharing all this. Of course, I LOVE this one. You are a quick study - terrific work. And that antique press - I'm drooling on my keyboard.... exquisite!

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Robyn, It's a treasure for sure! Wish you could come play with me!

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