Thursday, July 18, 2013

High School Printmaking Unit: Post Seven-- Collographs - The Pressure Is On!

After the students had time to build their collograph plates (about three classes) and print by hand-rubbing (one more class), it was time to introduce the printing press. The room I was in had two presses available - a very large press that allowed students to work on larger paper or team up and pull two prints at once, and a small table top press that was easier to crank. Students still preferred the excitement of using the larger press, though!

The small printing press.
The major difference between working by hand and working on the press was that the paper needed to be prepared for use on the press. This meant that the students had to soak their paper in water for a few minutes and blot out the excess moisture. For some this was trial and error because the paper would end up too wet and stick to the printing plate or come apart. Wetting the paper allowed the pressure of the machine to press the paper into all the recesses, pulling ink with more saturation and effectively embossing the prints at the same time. (There will be another post on embossing, which some students who finished early experimented with).

The general consensus among the students was that they felt the prints pulled on the press were more successful. They liked how the press brought out texture and how the ink was more saturated.

Here are some beautiful prints made using the printing presses:

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