Visiting Artist: Nicole Hand, Printmaker

This last week has been a whirlwind with artist Nicole Hand visiting our print studio. A print professor at Murray State in Tennesee, Nicole is a laid back artist who really has a passion for teaching. Learn more about her at http://www.blackdogpress.com/

Nicole says her work has many inspirations but includes themes of maternity, reproduction, femininity, closure, transitions, and correspondence are also apparent in my work.

She was in our print studio for about 50 hours this week, although we still had classes the perforated her day. Mostly, the TA taught classes, as not to interrupt the print making. Together, we created a limited edition of 75 prints that are a culmination of the prints below, using some of the same plates.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with printing, Johann Gutenburg created a printing press in the 1500’s and not a lot has changed since then. This is old-school printing. Each color has it’s own copper plate that needs to have oil ink applied to it with a roller. So you mix up the ink, which is thicker than toothpaste, more like vaseline. We roll it onto the copper plate and lay the plate on the printing press. About 40 turns of the handle and the giant iron press uses 500 psi to smash the paper onto the plate. Repeat with every color, using both the same and different plates.

It was interesting to see the assembly-line precision of 75 identical prints being produced. One thing I found very interesting was that rather than printing 75 red plates, then 75 green plate on top of the existing, she fully completed one print and then started the process all over again for print #2. By doing it this way, you assure that the plates are prefectly aligned, using a template/stencil on the flat surface of the press.

By Wednesday, we were on print 52.

Even with assembly line action, each print took maybe an hour or more to complete. It was tiring, and not just for the person delegated to turn the press handle.

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