The semester is over which means I will have a bit more time to focus on editions and testing for the next few months, a professor’s dream. For now, this will be an update on progress with Chris Bathgate‘s work. After the second round of tests and ideas, Chris had new inspiration on how to utilize his imagery and tools in the creation of the print. With an engraving bit set in his CNC milling machine, Chris engraved a line drawing into a copper plate for printing. I thought it would be a great idea and to counter it, I suggested we also use the same image in the creation of a laser engraved woodcut plate for printing the image relief and seeing how the two styles would interpret the same image.
Above are the two plates created for the tests. Each is from the same file, with the lines cut to roughly the same width. Each came out well and showed promise for the results.
The engraving above shows a lot of promise, but some of the lines are printing light. Initially, they printed lighter, but the above print was printed with a little more pressure than the first two tests.
This is one of the more promising laser engraved tests. The lines hold nicely, with a little grain showing through. Personally, I think it adds a rustic element to the very modern/futuristic look of the line work.
Here are a few more of the laser engraved tests. After these two results, I was quite happy, but thought that Chris might want to see a more solid black background, possibly even with a white border. To try this out, I printed the copper plate with a solid relief roll, but no ink was pushed into the lines.
Again, some of the lines are being odd. I was not really sure what that was. Originally I thought the line might have been cut too wide and I was wiping ink out, but when that same area rolled up in the above print I was unsure that was the answer.
The answer came with running a blind embossment of the plate with a sheet of Magnani Pescia. That results in all the lines being solid and strong except the areas that did not print well in the original tests. Some of them were broken, others were not printing at all. This made me realize it was the fact that those lines were not engraved deeply enough to be able to hold ink. This also resulted in them picking up in on the relief roll.
After meeting with Chris this past week, he thinks that is because of a minor shift on the surface of the plate, where tiny warp in the plate surface cause the bit to miss. He is purchased a spring loaded system for his sculptural work and thinks it will help compensate that for future plates. Chris likes the results as well and will be looking them over as he completes a few sculptures in the next few weeks. After that, we might have a direction to go forward with.