New Experiments

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.

Aluminum core with epoxied brass outer cylinder.

Aluminum core with epoxied brass outer cylinder.

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.

Roller and the initial thing slab.

Roller and the initial thing slab

Roller after first inking

Roller after first inking

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:

Test 1: 3 charges, smoothed, 3 charges, and pressed straight onto paper.

Test 1: 3 charges, smoothed, 3 charges, and pressed straight onto paper.

Test 2: Many charges, went into ink strip, did not smooth in between, straight onto paper

Test 2: Many charges, went into ink strip, did not smooth in between, straight onto paper

Test 3: 3 charges, smoothed out, 3 charges, straight onto paper

Test 3: 3 charges, smoothed out, 3 charges, straight onto paper

Test4

Test 4: Same as #3 but on Magnani Pescia

Test5

Test 5: Thick Slab, 3 Charges, smoothed, 3 charges, straight to paper.

Test6

Test 6: Same as #5, cushioned by phone book during printing.

Test7

Test 7: Thin Slab, 3 charges, smoothed, 3 charges, rolled onto plexi, run through press.

Roll out on Plexi

Roll out on Plexi

Test8

Test 8: Same as #7 but on Magnani Pescia

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.

Experimental play on Plexi

Experimental play on Plexi

Experimental Print from plexi

Experimental Print from plexi

Close up of ink on Plexi.

Close up of ink on Plexi.

Final look before cleaning.

Final look before cleaning.

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.

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