Etching Press Now Inside my Studio

Etching Press
My Etching Press Now in the Studio

Where was it before? It was in the shed, and really it was a less than ideal situation, walking with an inked up plate out to the shed. However there was the small matter of their being an illegal cellar/nuclear fallout shelter dug under my art room. Built by a particularly crazy previous owner of the house.
No I’m not making this up. The room wasn’t strong enough to take the press, actually it was lucky the room hadn’t caved in as it was. Fortunately my dad is a structural engineer (we probably wouldn’t have bought the house otherwise).  So my husband, Craig has reinforced the cellar with 3 I beams and brick pillars and attached industrial casters to my press. He now gets the shed to himself and I get my art studio under one roof 🙂
I have had this etching press for nearly 20 years. It weighs about 400kg and it has been moved 7 times! And I must say that it was the easiest move we have ever done with it.
What a pleasure to print this collograph today under one roof (instead of inking up in one space and printing in another).  This is a plate from my previous  exhibition titled Interplay.  I was recently emailed by a buyer who had seen the work in an exhibition 2 years ago!   I still had unprinted edition left on this image. So she was especially lucky when you consider the editions were so small, for these large collographs, only 7 prints in total for each image.
coating the collograph plate with ink
Coating the collograph plate with ink

Printing the Collograph

First the plate needs to be coated with etching ink which I scrape on with a rubber squeegee. The first image shows the plate half covered.
collograph plate half wiped back
This is the collograph plate fully inked and half wiped back,  revealing some of the image.

Collograph plate half wiped back
lifting printed collograph
Lifting printed collograph

The paper (100% cotton) which has been soaking in a water bath is now blotted dry and placed on top of the collograph plate, and turned through the press.
I still love that first moment  when I lift the paper.
To see other work from this exhibition go to my website.

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