September 16, 2010

paste paper again

i managed to make some paste paper, and had a good time with it. need a little more practice with different shapes, but what always attracts me are simple geometric shapes repeated over and over again, sharp outlines and good contrasts.

using the basic recipe of flour and water, i mixed a little water based varnish into the paste; about a teaspoon per 3 ozs of paste. it doesn't give the surface gloss, but i imagine that it gives the mixture a bit of strength, necessary if one is covering books or boxes.

in some of the pieces i painted the paper with orange, then overpainted immediately with black. i wanted a good solid black but now realize that isn't really possible, since one is mixing colour into transparent paste. will try again though, and see how it works out.

i used mat board cut as a comb, in various widths depending on what size of shape i wanted. and i used a rubber tool to make the curved shapes. since i am always looking to get around the lack of tools available, specially if i want to teach this, i am going to experiment with making the same shapes as i made with rubber, using matboard. also, i've discovered over time that one must never compromise on quality, but there are some things around the house or at hardware stores that one can substitute for expensive fancy items. like when i was making my arizona rock study collagraphs, i used car filler paste to make a plate. it came out really well, and is very very durable! i pressed silk and plant material into it, made cuts etc and it took the texture beautifully.

September 9, 2010

paste paper: links

i found the above links to pages on paste paper making. although paste paper can be made using a basic formula of 1 part flour to 5 parts water, which you cook and then use with water colour (for transparency) or acrylic colour (for solid colour) to cover your paper, the more complex solution in the martha stewart recipe may be more durable. also, it will be glossy which is great for covering boxes or book covers.

the second link has very simple, clear directions. something i value when following any kind of recipe, whether food or painting. good for making the pages for a book. since my lesson plan for basic book making will be on the accordion fold format, and i am not sure what kind of students i will get, i think pattern play will be a good way to begin.

September 5, 2010

photopolymer etching, nature series

photopolymer etchings using two photographs superimposed over each other. printed in different colours.

all about yellow.

before the rains, in those very hot days of late june, i went over to my friend shazieh's to photograph her sunfowers. she had planted a hedge of them to give her lawn privacy. each flower was enormous, and all of them were in different stages of blossoming. wonderful. i spent a good hour around 5.30... i should have waited for the sun to go down a little more but had to go elsewhere. but i'm happy with what i got. each flower had it's own personality, each seemed to be saying something.

i'd like to make one or two of these into etchings at some point...just focusing on the centre of each flower, which are so like the sun's corona. to add to my nature photo-etchings.

or perhaps make a book featuring the centres of each flower. after learning about the fibonacci sequence, i have found the seed patterns, which are also found in daisies and other flowers, fascinating.

book making: close up view...

close up of the prints featured in Allah Ma'alik, my second attempt at book making. i've used news photos (courtesy The News) to make photopolymer etchings which i've then 'smoked', rather smoke painted, highlighted with water colour and burning, as well as photo transfers and fragments of newspaper.

weaving text and image: book making

front cover of allah ma'alik

panoramic view of allah ma'alik, followed by individual pages

arizona sunset, black and white and colour editions

i've had a long summer in which i decided that since i can't find a place where i could learn book making, i would teach myself. the first book will be remade...neatly, as i didn't know that you could use printmaking paper in the inkjet printer. i tried to transfer the text using turpentine transfer but it didn't work out, so i over wrote with graphite on a couple of pages, then did the rest by hand. not very neat, but i will re make 'a saguaro sampler', possibly in black and white rather than colour.

the next two books were much more successful. the second book is called 'Allah Ma'alik' and was inspired by my distress over what has been going on over the last year and a half. the prints featured are power, carnage, hunger, and loss. this book is with artchowk in karachi. the third utilises my arizona rock and plant studies and my poem 'arizona sunset'. i've sent it to the williamsburg art house in new york as an entry for their competition called 'tri-fold.' there is a colour version as well as black and white. the prints are collagraphs, the coloured ones inked a la poupee, with additions of silk fibres, silver and copper leaf, tea washes and hand made paper fragments. the coloured version has a hard cover, while the black and white one is assembled on a long piece of pure silk. both have stiffened cloth covers, one cotton, the other silk; i've used my very precious bottle of gac 400.

all the books are variations on the accordion format. Allah Ma'alik is a unique bookwork. so much has gone into it that i don't think i would be able to reproduce it, particularly as i've used very free hand techniques to add to the plates, which are based on news photos (courtesy The News newspaper): smoke painting, burning and water color, as well as photo transfers.

this is the work that i want to continue with; integrating words with visual images. and i like the idea of very small editions, although i'd be ready to do up to 25 if the prints are more 'manageable' in the way of printing: i would perhaps avoid doing things like smoke painting, though i could do burnt edges. and photo transfers are also laborious if you are doing a larger edition.

May 4, 2010

collagraph from the new series i am working on, 'arizona suite'. they explore the texture character of rock

ocotillo and their shadows reflected on the wall behind them. this a photopolymer intaglio from a photograph. i use the single exposure technique when making my etching plates, even though i now have a large aquatint screen, courtesy of big john lingenfelter at bare naked, new river, arizona. i have used the screen for prints where minute detail and complex shades of grey are required.

photopolymer intaglio of a saguaro. this is the first time i experimented with colour.

April 27, 2010

photopolymer plate making: the process

exposing the photopolymer plate in the sun

washing the plate in warm water

drying the plate after washing it

the finished photopolymer intaglio after drying