First day of printing experiments at Double Elephant Print Workshop, Exeter

Our first day of experimentation at Double Elephant Print Workshop in Exeter was a great experience – with the help, enthusiasm and never-ending patience of Simon Ripley and Lynn Bailey, we tried and tested various methods of printing our multi-layered plates.

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In preparation for this day, we had worked onto several layers of drafting film with machine-drawn lines, painterly gestures in gouache and hand-made pencil lines, to transfer onto zinc plates using photo-etching techniques.

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Initially, Lynn printed these for us using black ink, to see how the marks had transferred from the drafting film to the plates.

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We had doubled-up some of the drafting film in an attempt to combine some of the layers into one plate and we wanted to test how this would affect the background tones and whether they would come through too grey.

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After analysing the results, we experimented with multi-layer printing, using more translucent grey tones in the middle plate – we found though, that this made the print from the three plates quite dark, so we tried again with printing the middle plate in white ink.

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This was more successful – however, the white ink tended to mix with the black from the first layer, therefore reducing the brightness of the white.  This problem gives us something to think about, as we’re battling the registration issues of multiple plates, versus the muddying of the inks.

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Our next experimentation day will have to include possible ways of solving this – maybe by using a tissue base between two of the layers to stop the inks from coming into contact? – certainly we’ve got lots of homework to do before our next visit….

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