September 29 – October 1, 2017
Friday evening from 6 – 9 PM, and Saturday and Sunday 9 – 5 PM
Cost: $330 (price includes a $60 materials fee)
Instructor: Clay Harmon
Description: This class is an introduction to the polymer photogravure process, the modern successor to the difficult Talbot-Klic copperplate process that was in common use in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We will use a modern polymer-coated plate to create an intaglio-etched surface that will be inked with an oily printer’s ink and then wiped, leaving ink in the varying depths of the recesses of the plate which will then produce the photographic gradation of tones that makes the photogravure one of the most beautiful and permanent of the continuous tone photographic printing processes.
The beauty of the polymer method is that the etching of the plate is done with tap water instead of the more chemically dangerous mordant used in the traditional copperplate photogravure process. The use of a digitally printed positive on clear film also allows the student to concentrate more on the technique of inking and wiping plates rather than spending time making a perfect positive in the darkroom. With a two day workshop, we will have enough time for each student to make at least four plates and several prints from each plate.
This workshop is appropriate for anyone interested in learning an alternative printing technique and who doesn’t mind getting black ink on their hands. Because we will be using familiar materials such as art paper and ink, it presents a fantastic opportunity to expand the range of visual content that can be included in books and other similar projects. The prospective student should have a basic familiarity with Photoshop.
The instructor will supply the exposure unit and printing press and all ‘hardware’ needed. There will be a $60 per student materials fee to cover the cost of the plate, the paper and the ink. Workshop participants will be asked to submit approximately a dozen 5×7 to 8×10 (360dpi) images to an online folder one week prior to the class so that the first few positives will be ready to go when the class begins. The participants can then choose the remaining 3-4 images to print during the class.
What is covered in the class:
- Evaluation of the image and preparation for printing the positive in Photoshop
- Using Quadtone RIP to make a digital positive on Pictorico OHP film
- Exposing a polymer plate with both an image and a stochastic screen
- Washing out and drying the plate
- Preparing the plate for printing
- Inking and wiping the plate
- Adjustment of the press pressure and blanket
- Preparation of the paper
- Pulling the print
- Critique and trouble shooting of the print