Three of a Kind

Here’s another set of images of my adventures in printmaking. The latest technique we tackled was paper lithography and it’s pretty fascinating. It almost works like a magic trick.

Things you will need:

  1. a black and white image (photocopy or laser print) on decent paper
  2. gum Arabic
  3. ink
  4. brayer (the width of your image if possible)
  5. sponge
  6. bowl of water (with citric acid added)

First, apply gum Arabic to your work surface. There should be enough to place your image down in it with a small amount around the edges. Press it down with your fingers, then place more gum Arabic on top of the image. Completely coat the image. Really work it in.

Get the sponge wet and squeeze out most of the water. Move the sponge over the paper, removing the excess gum Arabic. A thin coat will remain on top.

Ink your brayer and roll out the color on the image. Start from inside the image so you don’t pull up the paper. Charge the brayer and repeat, changing direction each time you begin the inking process so you don’t build up too much ink in any one spot.

Fill the sponge with water. Squeeze directly over the image and wipe very gently. Ink will wipe away from lighter areas, but will adhere to darker areas.

You can charge the brayer once more and then ink the image a final time.

Then, gently lift the paper from work area and place on the bed of the press. Align and cover with the fancy paper you are printing on, and run through the press.

And remember kids: if you image has text like mine did, you might want to flip the image BEFORE doing any of the above so that the text will read correctly AFTER printing.

Poem 20150213

break all the hearts
snap them until your hands
are caked with candy dust
and the food safe inks
coat your fingers like
dig out the cherry centers
of all the chocolates
evacuate the liqueur
and save it to burn in lamps
made of human flesh
and human bone
call upon st. valentine
to strike with his crozier
to break open every heaving chest
expose every swiftly beating heart
like a surgeon intent
on eradicating some diseased
greasy, necrotized mass of tissue
so the lungs can finally fill with air