SELF ARRANGED WORKSHOPS

Self-arranged workshops in any technique can be requested. If you have a group of at least five people interested in a particular print form let us know. We can design a one-day, weekend or weekly programme around you. 

INTAGLIO

The term intaglio comes from the Italian word intagliare, meaning “to incise.” In this technique, acid, salt mordents, abrasive material or a sharp pointed tool are used to incise textures into a flat plate. This plate may be made of copper, steel, iron, zinc or polycarbonate. The lines and tones of the printed image are dependent on these textured areas. The plate is covered with ink, and then wiped so that only the incised, textured areas contain ink. The pressure of the printing press forces dampened paper into the incisions where they pick up the ink.

Because often the sheet of paper is larger than the plate, an indentation of the plate edges, or plate-mark, appears around the edges of the image area. The different types of intaglio prints are distinguished by the technique used: etching, aquatint, and photogravure are made using a corrosive solution to form lines and textures in a metal plate, whilst engraving, drypoint and mezzotint are made using a sharp tool to incise, or scratch, the surface of the plate. Often several different intaglio techniques are used in the same print to achieve variations in contrast and tone.

Etching - An intaglio process in which a drawing is made onto a metal plate through an acid-resistant ground using an etching needle.  Hatching and cross-hatching are sometimes used to create tonal areas. The plate is then immersed in a corroding solution creating incised lines that will hold ink.  The depth of the corrosion is controlled by how long the plate is in the solution and how strong the solution is. The most deeply corroded lines will hold the most ink and be the darkest areas of the print. This corrosion is referred to as a ‘bite’. 

Photogravure – An intaglio process in which the resist that separates plate from corrosive solution is made of a photosensitive film or emulsion. This surface is exposed to UV light passed through a film of random dots and a negative film containing the image. The areas of the photosensitive material exposed to the UV light can be washed out to reveal the plate below. The plate is then immersed in a corroding solution creating textures that will hold ink.  

Aquatint - A technique for creating tonal qualities on an intaglio plate. Traditionally the plate is covered with a layer of fine rosin dust which is heat fused to the plate and bitten in a weak corrosive solution.  This creates an even texture of closely-spaced pits that, when inked and wiped, give fine tonal areas to the printed impression.  Aquatints are sometimes applied to the plate with a fine mist of acrylic spray, rather than rosin dust, but the principle remains the same.

RELIEF

A process in which the image to be printed is created in relief on a wood or linoleum block. The parts of the image that are not to receive ink are carved away from the surface. This remaining surface area is inked and usually printed onto soft, absorbent paper, either by rubbing or by using a press. Reduction prints are created by removing areas of the block in stages, colour by colour. Techniques include lino-cut, wood-cut and letterpress.

Woodcut/linocut - In the woodcut and linocut processes the non-image areas of the block are cut away, leaving the image in relief. This remaining surface area is inked up and usually printed onto soft, absorbent paper, either by rubbing or by using a press. A collagraph is the printed result of a collage, where a variety of materials are glued onto a thin base and printed as a combination relief/intaglio plate. Card is usually used for the base, the surface layers of which can be peeled to obtain a rough surface which holds the ink

Letterpress – A relief process in which blocks have been pre-cut in the form of letters allowing the artist to typeset text.

PLANOGRAPHIC

A process in which an image is printed from a flat surface instead of a raised, relief surface or an incised, intaglio surface.

Lithography - A planographic process, based on the antipathy of grease and water.  A drawing is made on a grained slab of limestone or aluminium plate using greasy crayons or washes, which is then treated with gum arabic and nitric acid.  Once dampened with a sponge, the non-image   areas of the stone reject ink while the greasy drawing attracts ink from the roller.  The inked image is transferred to paper using a lithographic press.  Colour lithographs require each colour to have a separate drawing, processing and printing.

Waterless Lithography – A planographic process based on the antipathy of silicon and rubber based ink. A drawing is made on an aluminium plate using water soluble materials and then coated in a thin layer of silicon. The drawing is washed off with water revealing the aluminium plate. A photocopier toner solution can also be used as a drawing medium, mimicking traditional lithography washes. The resultant drawing requires washing off with acetone to reveal the ink attracting plate. When inked with a roller only the exposed plate accepts the ink and this is transferred to paper using a lithographic press.

Monotype – A planographic process which leads to a unique, ‘one-off’ print.  There are a variety of techniques in this process, but usually, ink is applied to a plate and then transferred to paper through an etching press.  With a monotype, there is no fixed matrix (such as on an etching plate), making it impossible to achieve an exact duplicate.

STENCIL

Screen print – In this stencil process the screen is a frame over which finely woven mesh has been tautly stretched. Non image areas are created by blocking the mesh. This can be achieved through a number of ways including paper stencils, special screen blocking liquids and photo sensitive emulsions. Ink is pushed through the open parts of the mesh by means of a rubber bladed squeegee. A separate stencil is required for each colour and the same piece of paper is printed on in a successive manner. Sometimes called Serigraph or   Silkscreen, from the days when the mesh was made exclusively of silk.

DIGITAL

Archival Inkjet

A term given to prints in which the image has been digitally processed using a computer. The image may originate from external source material or be created virtually using software programmes. The image is printed from an inkjet printer loaded with pigmented inks. 

COMBINATION PRINTS

Monoprint – A process by which the artist varies the colours and tonal arrangements of an existing matrix created through any print making process.  Although the compositional matrix remains constant, each impression is obviously different in colour or tone leading to a variable edition.

Collagraph - The printed result of a collage, where a variety of textured materials are glued onto a thin base and printed as a combination relief/intaglio plate. If the base is mount-board, layers of paper can be stripped from the surface to create textured areas of various depths.

Carborundum – In this process textured, ink holding areas are created by gluing powdered silicon carbide to the plate with glue or epoxy resins. Different gauges of silicon carbide enable the production of darker or lighter tones. The resulting matrix can be printed as a combination relief/intaglio plate.