Wednesday, June 11, 2014

books and supplies

The transfer of the press from Helper to Torrey went smoothly, with the help of some able-bodied young men. As I anticipated, it fits perfectly into my studio. Earlier this year, operating on impulse and instinct, I took out the big built-in counter that took up a third of the floor space, and now I know why! I'm sure I will rearrange things as I figure out the most convenient places for my various workstations: the drafting table for preparing the plates, a surface for tearing and blotting paper, another surface for a water bath tray for soaking paper, and the press.

Years ago, when I first discovered monotypes at a workshop in Helper, I purchased Julia Ayres's Monotypes: Mediums and methods for painterly printmaking (2001). I hadn't used it much until now, but it has provided a wealth of information over the past ten days, and I am well aware that at present I am only skimming its surface. Not only is there a wealth of practical information, but examples from several monotype printmakers provide inspiration as well as instruction.

In addition, I have ordered The complete printmaker: Techniques, traditions, innovations, by John Ross (1991). It goes well beyond monotypes, covering just about every possible printmaking technique, and will help me to educate myself about other types of printmaking, and the printmaking field in general. I also ordered Magical secrets about thinking creatively: The art of etching and the truth of life, by Kathan Brown (2006) at Crown Point Press in San Francisco. A DVD and a companion website accompany and expand the book. Again, a resource both practical and inspirational, with stories and examples as well as practical tips.

In the printmaking world of the western U.S., there seem to be a few significant studios, or "presses", establishments that provide rentable space and equipment for printmaking as well as workshops and, sometimes, gallery space. Crown Point Press is one (and evidently an important one); others are New Grounds in Albuquerque; Hand Graphics in Santa Fe, and Saltgrass Printmakers in Salt Lake City. This is all new to me, and I imagine there are others, but my first impression is that this is a relatively small world. I hope to visit each of these studios, eventually.

I have also ordered a few supplies that seem to be critical: a water-bath tray, a paper tear bar, a Plexiglass cutter so I can cut my own plates, some blotters for pressing and drying finished prints, and a quantity of printmaking paper, both a sample pack from Daniel Smith and some white BFK Rives 250 gm sheets. The sample pack will provide the opportunity to explore papers that differ in color, thickness, texture, and sizing, reinforcing the experimental nature of this whole project!

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