This past weekend at Art Intersection we held a 2 day photogravure printing workshop with Karen Hymer. We had a talented group of students, some with experience in this process and others with none at all. Thank you to Karen Hymer for teaching this workshop!
Over the course of 2 days the students learned each step in the photogravure process which included exposing their positive under UV light onto a photopolymer plate. After the plate was exposed and the imaged was etched in, they coated with ink and learned different processes for wiping and removing the ink.
Karen Hymer explained that using the correct wiping techniques creates great contrast and highlights in the final print. Using your photograph as a guide, you can determine which areas need strong shadows and which parts you want more highlight.
Next, our 1870s etching press was used to stamp the plate onto wet paper creating a beautiful one of a kind print embossed into the beautiful art paper.
Students explored different mixtures of ink which created different colors, changing the outcome of contrast and highlight, as well as different types of paper.
Photogravure Learn the art of photopolymer gravure printing in this one-day workshop! Using light-sensitive steel-backed Solarplates, participants will create 4 x 5 gravure etching prints from their photographs. This environmentally friendly process translates photographic detail into ink on paper with unparalleled beauty.
No prior experience with printmaking is required. All necessary aspects of printmaking will be discussed including choosing inks, papers, and wiping material. Wiping and inking techniques will be covered. Be prepared to marvel at the way your photograph is transformed through ink on paper!
The making of digital positives will be discussed, but for the workshop itself, please send one color or black and white image file (300 dpi at 10” on the long side) to be made into a digital positive prior to the workshop. An email with details will be provided once you are registered.
All materials for this workshop are included in the registration fee.
Here is a brief outline of the process that will be presented in this workshop:
Starting with your digital photograph, a 4 x 5 transparency positive will be made
The positive is then laid on top of the light sensitive polymer plate and exposed to UV light
Washing the plate in water etches the image onto the plate
Once hardened, the plate is hand inked using water-soluble intaglio inks
The inked plate is then run through an etching press onto dampened paper
You take home 3 photogravure prints of your image
About Karen Hymer For the past five years Karen Hymer, an artist and educator based out of Silver City, New Mexico, has ventured into the world of printmaking – exploring imagery in the form of photopolymer gravures. Her current work explores the effects of time on the human body and various plant life. Hymer’s richly detailed photogravures emphasize the interplay of texture, pattern, light and shadow in muted earth tones. The decontextualized close-ups of the body and decaying plants reveal a poetic beauty in these often-over-looked subjects.
Get back in the studio and practice your skills! If you have taken a Photogravure workshop at Art Intersection or are proficient in the process, you are invited to participate in an Open Studio day dedicated to photopolymer gravure. Please note, this is not a workshop; while you are encouraged to share knowledge with your studio mates, there will be no formal instruction.
The $40 registration fee includes your access to our lab and equipment during the Open Studio. You are welcome to bring all your own materials and pay no additional fee. However, Art Intersection will have 4×5″ SolarPlates available for $8 each, paper and ink available for $5/print, and digital negatives for $5 each – this is a great option for those just starting out with photogravure, or those that don’t want to invest in their own materials yet. These additional items will be accounted for at the end of the day.
In addition to the open lab, the day will start at 9am with a Photogravure Working Group meeting. This is an opportunity to meet other photogravure printers, reconnect with friends from workshops, and share some work you’ve done already. This meeting will last no longer than an hour, but may be briefer depending on the discussion. Art Intersection hosts Working Group meetings and Open Studios on a recurring basis.
This past Saturday, March 26 we had the pleasure of hosting a Photogravure workshop taught by Tucson artist Karen Hymer! The weekend began with a lecture by Karen on Friday night – she talked about the history of photogravure and the evolution of her artwork as she continues to use the process.
Seven students joined us for the workshop and got hands-on experience making photopolymer plates from their images, then pulling prints from the plates. Karen taught the process using Solarplates, which are steel plates coated with a light-sensitive polymer emulsion. When exposed, the polymer hardens; the unexposed polymer washes away in water, leaving an “etched” plate ready for inking after the plate has dried in the sun. Ink is then applied to the plate and wiped from the highlight areas. Finally, paper is laid on top of the plate and both are run through an etching press.
We are forever grateful to our friends at Cattletrack Arts Compound and Santo Press for lending us their etching press – we could not have done this workshop without their help!
Karen demonstrates the “development” of the Solarplate in water
Exposed and developed plates harden in the sun
Karen demonstrates inking the plate
Participant Shari Trennert prepares to run her plate through the press
Shari has made a print from a “test strip” plate to check her exposure before committing to a full plate
Jean-Charles Chapuis, Cyd Peroni, Tom Moore, and Gina DeGideo hard at work inking their plates
Chris Palmer and Karen compare a test print with another print of the same image to check for contrast and density
Gina uses a cotton swab to fine-tune her ink application
Cyd lays a sheet of fine-art water color paper over her inked plate before running it through the press
Participants enjoy letting their creativity run free and working in a community environment
Participants let their finished prints dry before taking them home