A few weeks ago I posted about meeting with the artist, Chris Bathgate, and further discussing our collaboration in New Updates. In that post I showed off Chris’ first attempt at creating a customized roller from materials he works with regularly.
This past weekend I was able to get into the shop after the winter break and did some initial experiments with the roller. To my surprise, the surface of the metal, both the sandblasted and non-sandblasted areas, began to take up ink. I figured that even with the machining of the metals to create the roller, the areas left non-sandblasted would be too smooth to pick up the ink.
As you can see, it did not fully ink up upon first try, but what brayer ever does? So using a series of steps, I would charge the roller 3 times, then use a rubber brayer to smooth out the slab and even the ink and then charge 3 times again. From there I made a series of tests to try out different combinations of pressure and transfer of ink. Unless specified otherwise, all images are Portland Etching Black on Rives BFK strips. Here they are:
It is a little hard to see, but the basics are they no diamond or triangle shape ever fully inked and transferred, whether a thick or thin slab. And as most printmakers know, a thicker slab can cause excess ink to print in unwanted areas, noticeable in the last four images as the extra marks around the forms.
After making these test strips, I play around with using the roller in a most abstract fashion as an experiment in its mark making possibilities. Here are two images of that play.
So, all in all, it was a fun time in the shop to play with this new tool and see what it could do. The final image shows the roller before cleaning, which by the way it did not fully clean or clean easily. In the next week or two, I will get back into the shop with the tool and play around with it as a pressure printing device by hand. I am interested in the other possibility of it being used just as a tool to transfer ink from plexi to paper and not as a tool to apply the ink to start.