My head is still buzzing from the week I spent at the Passionate Pen Conference.
|"Seismic Shift" solar plate print Photo by my husband Bill|
I chose two classes to fill my week: Sharon Zeugin's one-day art journaling class and Louise Grunewald's 5-day offering, Letters from the Sun, which used solar plates for printmaking. Every afternoon I came away from the classes completely worn out -- your brain is a muscle too -- and boy, did I work that one!
By the end of the week, I realized I'd found the answer to a problem I had been wrestling with for a long time. I wanted to combine letterpress with my own artwork. Though I had learned how to make photo polymer plates to duplicate images that I had created, the techniques and machines used in the process needed more time than I have been able to find to embrace the procedure easily. With a solar plate, all I needed was the sun and some water.
The project below, They Would Have Been Cowboys, was printed using a letterpress and photo polymer plates. In order for me to accomplish this printing I needed access to machines that I don't have at home.
|The transparency of my sketch|
|The photo polymer plate ready to print|
The solar plate process is different. A light box can be used to expose the plate, but the best solution is the sun. I put my plate outside for just a few seconds to expose it. I then took the plate to the sink and washed off the exposed polymer, leaving the image I wanted. I then let the plate harden in the sun for a short time before I placed it on the press, ready for printing.
|The transparency of the sketch and the solar plate ready for printing.|
|A 'ghost' print from the plate after the first printing|
During the solar plate making class, the group collected plates made by class members and laid them on the press ready to make a group printing.
|The plates are arranged on the bed of the press. A piece of dampened paper is positioned on the plates. Felts are laid on top and then the press is rolled over the plates. Louise Grunewald holds the finished print.|
Louise Grunewald is a kind and encouraging teacher and allowed us access to the breadth of her knowledge. I walked away every day, first, tired, but also full of joy, knowing that I had found another true process for myself -- one that I could accomplish at home (that is, once I find a press).
Check out Louise's website at http://www.louisegrunewald.com
Next week I'll take you on a short walk as we observe the world around us in an artist's journal.