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 20150624

we are the men made of paper
we scribble our lives
in permanent marker
on our arms and legs
until it bleeds through

we yellow in the sun
are stained by a parade
of coffee cups
we are folded up
tucked into back pockets
forgotten like grocery lists
and sent through the washing machine
and the dryer
and turned into little paper bricks

forensic scientists and archeologists
will puzzle over us
if they can decipher us
we paper men
in a thousand years
they will conclude that we worshipped
only ourselves

Poem 20150210

“how to make a star–a tutorial”
disturb a singularity
and let it explode
bing bang style
until the subatomic particles
form from the universal soup
wait a little while
until those particles coalesce
into atoms and make hydrogen
invent gravity
and pull the hydrogen into
a big ball of nuclear plasma

if you’re lucky
in the detritus from the star’s
birthday party
you might get a rocky planet
covered mostly in liquid water
where the apes will learn to make paper
and some clever bastard
will cut the paper into strips
and fold them
into little paper stars

Poem 20141209

i want to foldĀ paper–
origami if you will–
but somethingĀ for you to wear
something that rustles as you move
and fragile
weak against the sweat on your skin
weak against the fire in your blood
weak against the touch of my fingers
something shiny and glittering
with gold filagree
and red chrysanthemums
hard to look at like the sun
impossible to look away from
like the full moon
in the winter sky