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© Charles Morgan Mossworks Studio 77 Moss Street Victoria, B.C. V8V 4M2 CANADA revised October, 2006 www.mossworks.com email@example.com
I. Introduction .................................................................................. 3 A. Name ....................................................................................... 3 B. Origin ...................................................................................... 3 C. Advantages .............................................................................. 4 D. Disadvantages ......................................................................... 5 Making the Plate .......................................................................... 6 A. Specimen Preparation ............................................................. 6 B. Making the Sandwich ............................................................. 7 1. Composing on the Backing ........................................... 8 2. Composing on the Foil .................................................. 11 C. Finishing the plate ................................................................... 13 1. Etching Press ................................................................. 13 2. The Palm Press .............................................................. 18 3. Rolling Pin ..................................................................... 24 4. Platen Press .................................................................... 27 5. Mallet Press ................................................................... 28 6. Blemishes .......................................................................29 7. Summary Comparison ................................................... 30 Inking the Plate ............................................................................ 31 A. Blind Embossing ..................................................................... 32 B. Inks .......................................................................................... 32
C. Inking Tools ............................................................................ 34 D. Roll-up .................................................................................... 37 E. Masking ................................................................................... 38 F. Freehand .................................................................................. 40 G. Intaglio .................................................................................... 41 H. Combination Techniques ........................................................ 42 IV. Printing the Plate .......................................................................... 43 A. Paper Selection ........................................................................ 43 B. Presses ..................................................................................... 44 C. Cleaning the Plate ....................................................................46 Advanced Topics ......................................................................... 47 A. Multiple Passes and Plates ...................................................... 47 B. Embossing Powder Plates ....................................................... 49 Revisions ...................................................................................... 53 A. More Comments on Intaglio Inking .......................................53 B. Inking Very Thin Subjects ...................................................... 56 C. Printing Foilographs with a Palm Press .................................. 61 D. Bottle Jack Press Plans ............................................................69
I. Introduction I.A. Name Lithography done on aluminum plate instead of stone is called aluminography. So, if you make a collagraph using aluminum foil rather than acrylic medium, you should call it ... alumigraph, of course!!! And that is what I called it when I first discovered it. Because in some parts of the world the word “aluminum” is pronounced “al-you-mi-nee-um”, some folks began referring to the process as “aluminograph”. However, unknown to me at the time, an artist by the name of Nancy Wells used the term “alumigraph” in an article published in the Spring, 2002, edition of Printmaking Today (vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 28-29), to refer to a rather different process. So, I have decided in fairness to switch to the terms “foilograph” and “foilography” instead. I.B. Origin I have been doing nature prints for a number of years, but was not happy with the monotype aspect. You go to all that trouble to get nice specimens, arrange them in a nice composition, and then you get only one print. And often with delicate subjects, the inking of the subject destroys it before you can print it. Many times I have had to peel pieces of leaves, insect wings, etc. from my roller and not been able to get even one print. Or I find when I print that I have over- or under-inked the specimen and it is too delicate to re-ink it. I wanted to be able to print at least a small edition, and with as little damage to the subject as possible. During the summer of 2001, I took a one day workshop on doing lithography on aluminum foil. Part of the process required wrapping some aluminum foil around a plexiglass plate and then putting it through an etching press to smooth it out. We had to be very carful to keep everything spotlessly clean, as the smallest dust mote showed up under the foil. I found I was not that interested in the lithography at the time, but that process of smoothing out the foil wrapped around a sheet of plexiglass was intriguing. I wondered what would happen if I put a leaf under the foil. So, when I got home, I tried it. I was amazed at the result. I played around with it for a while, and finally got a workable process by spring of 2002. I showed examples to a few friends in Victoria, and posted a version of the technique on the
I will briefly describe the references here. 1978. essentially making a collagraph plate. Although the author talks about making prints using a small press. and then coat it with acrylic or some other reasonably tough coating. it seems someone must have done it before. Angus and Robertson (U. and hair. I. Further. one begins by glueing pressed leaves down on cardboard. A similar method is described in the book A Treasure Trove of Ideas. For one thing. Next a couple of layers of soft fabric are laid on top. applying acrylic medium badly distorts many delicate subjects. It is so simple.K. Advantages With collagraph. A method for making “silver pictures” is described in the book Things for Children to Make and Do: Craft Starting Points. what he describes is using the collagraph plate to press multiple images into sheets of aluminum foil. One begins by gluing flattened and dried natural material or paper cutouts to cardboard or plexiglass. There are a number of problems with collagraphs. But the lack of written material perhaps justifies my writing these notes. For the sake of completeness. and neither uses the foil plate to make prints on paper. 1972. Neither of the two is exactly the process I employ. Then one is directed to spread contact adhesive over the leaves and cardboard. you glue your bits and pieces to a backing. Finally the reader is directed to rub the surface with a wad of cotton to bring out the details. and finally a board on top of all. such as down. by Francois Cherrier. After a few years of talking to others about the technique. the foil takes the imprint of the design. and cover all with aluminum foil.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 4 PrintAustralia web site in the summer of 2002. as with any print making technique. In their technique. by John Hathorn and Ludwik Luksza.C. Then glue is spread over the entire surface before covering with aluminum foil. I would not be outrageously surprised to find that the technique I have called foilography is not completely new. Methuen of Australia. I have continued to experiment and refine the technique since that time. several people mentioned that they had heard of something similar. fine feathers.). I have only been able to track down two specific references. for many nature subjects. much of the detail is lost by the . By hammering on the board.
Disadvantages No printmaking technique is perfect. Fragile materials such as down. For examples. If you are not happy with the composition. In addition. the foilograph technique brings out many fine details that are hard to see with the naked eye. And the specimen does not get coated with waxy goo.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 5 coating. Finally. You probably do not want to take that old rose your grandmother pressed in the family bible and permanently cover it with acrylic. you can recover your original specimen after printing. and hair. Foilography avoids these problems. are not nearly so subject to distortion. you can make another plate and try again. foilograph prints are often similar to soft ground etchings. And with foilography. one of my very first. it is not possible to change it once you have coated everything with acrylic medium. But there are no acids or chemical baths. the subject is lost forever once it is bonded to the plate and covered with gunk. and there are some disadvantages with . Further. Figure 1: Oregon grape I. in fact. Figure 1 is a foilograph of Oregon grape. In appearance. veins in flower petals and surface detail in leaves get filled in or obscured when coated with acrylic.D. The only damage to the specimen will be caused by the pressure of the press. the foilograph technique does not obscure details of natural subjects to nearly the extent that collagraphs do. if you are not pleased with the composition of your collagraph. fine feathers.
After the initial heating. If you have very fresh material and you do not wish to wait for it to dry naturally. and then check it again. which would be damaged by the pressure of the press. plant material will seem damp and very limp. The water is squeezed out during the process and makes a bumpy surface which prints. It is best to be cautious. When you check your specimen. since they tear the foil. The microwave oven will heat the water in the specimen. Place the limp material between the pages of a phone book and let it sit for a few minutes. you may well see steam. But fresh natural subjects contain too much water. a leathery texture is quite good. like pine cones or sea shells. and the hot water will migrate to the felt. such as eggshell. place the felt between two microwave safe plates. rather than being coated with acrylic medium. like thorny branches. You can use well wilted material as well. loosely wrapped in aluminum foil. The major difference is that the material and backing plate are “shrink wrapped” in aluminum foil. begin by pressing and drying your specimens. and the felt will feel wet. First you must make a “sandwich” consisting of a properly prepared specimen on a rigid baking. II. obscuring natural details. Then the plate is finished by applying pressure with some sort of press. II. You can print items ranging from extremely thin flower petals to things as thick as . The technique does not work well with very thick items. And items with sharp protrusions. Very fragile items. You can always put your material back in the microwave for a bit more time if the item is not quite dry enough. Simply place the item between two layers of cheap felt from a fabric store.A. and pop it all in the microwave. cannot be printed with this technique. The time will of course depend on the power of the machine. start with about 20 seconds and check the results. cannot be printed. Specimen Preparation For natural subjects. you can speed the drying process by using a microwave oven. Making the Plate Making a foilograph plate is very similar to making a collagraph plate. and finally removing any blemishes. You do not need it to be really bone dry.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 6 foilography.
as they tend to bend and distort. as these can pierce the tinfoil. you may use tape. steel.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 7 the central spine of large eagle feathers. You should avoid material with really sharp edges. or even vases and flower pots. such as torn or cut bits of paper. cut or torn bits of paper. hardboard. Fine sandpaper will produce a texture that will hold a lot of ink. Sharp pierce the aluminum foil Figure 2: Plexiglass backing with smoothed and rounded corners and edges . Even very small bits of lint will print. string. aluminum. You could use MDF. you may make a foilograph using any sort of relatively thin material. firm backing for the plate. doors. Usually it is important that the backing be SMOOTH. Before making your that you bevel the corners of your corners and edges will and ruin the plate. I prefer to use plexiglass. You may also use thin bits of metal or found objects. and similar material to produce images of frames. Making the Sandwich To begin. and you may have some problems getting it absolutely clean. serving the same function as aquatint for intaglio plates. Extremely thick specimens such as pine cones do not work well. as with collagraph. Plexiglass is very electrostatic. plate. at least in MY house!! In spite of its electrostatic properties. it is very important edges and round the backing material. Any grain or surface imperfections will print. copper. lace. fabric. Of course. ribbons. brass. Thick stems are squashed out of shape and do not show true dimensions or shapes. and it is almost impossible not to get lint from the air on the plexiglass. II.B. For example. etc. since they cannot be covered by the foil without tearing it. such as thick stems or feather spines. zinc. You may use crumpled paper or tissue for interesting textural effects. windows. may need to be shaved on the back to reduce their thickness. Very thick items. you will need a tough. Matboard and cardboard do not work well. or plexiglass.
remember that left and right will be reversed when the plate is printed. As an example of this approach.B. let’s have a look at the making of the plate for my print “Dustbunnies”. I got down on my hands and knees and roamed around the house until I had collected a good wad of dust bunnies. II. I have a beard and long hair. .1. there are two ways to proceed: (1) you can arrange your composition directly on the smooth backing and then cover with aluminum foil. it is usually best to place the back of leaves facing out away from the backing. On the other hand. I decided to print dust bunnies. Consequently. I wanted to show something that would be hard to print using the traditional collagraph approach. and tweezers to help position your specimen. but it can be a bit cumbersome when it comes time to wrap everything with foil. Composing on the Backing Arranging your specimen directly on the backing initially seems natural. we always have lots of dust bunnies around the house. For good detail. and we live with two dogs and a cat. When arranging your composition directly on the backing. So for this example. a needle or pin. I first arranged my dust bunnies composition directly on the plexiglass sheet.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 8 You may want a thin knife or spatula. my sweetie has long hair. I find that I get better results with feathers if the back of the feather is facing the backing. Once you have your specimen and your backing materials. or (2) you can arrange your composition on the foil and then lay the backing on top of the composition.
you may find it useful to put a VERY SMALL touch of repositionable glue on the back of some things to keep them from moving around. DO NOT FOLD IT YET!!! Place the foil over the backing with the specimen in place. . and it always seems to give too thick a coat. I like to use repositionable glue so I can move objects around if I place them incorrectly the first time. place the backing and specimen on a smooth clean work surface.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 9 Figure 3: Dust bunnies arranged on plexiglass Depending on your subject matter. Cut the foil so it is big enough to completely cover the backing and the subject and still leave enough to fold around by an inch or so on all sides. and gently smooth out the foil. which shows up as texture in the print. hair (not appropriate in this example!). specimen on top. keeping it as wrinkle free as possible. And certainly if you wish to recover the specimen after printing. you want to remove a piece of kitchen aluminum foil from the roll. I find the repositionable glue sold in stick form is the best. I put the foil DULL SIDE OUT. Keep the backing as free of lint. I find that pressed flower petals adhere very well to the surface of the plate with no glue. I have tried using the spray glue. you do not want to glue it down with permanent glue. Now. Once you have a composition to your liking. You may find it useful to use a paintbrush to remove any stray bits of lint or other unwanted material from the plate. and small bits of trash as you can.
Begin by putting a small piece of tape near the two corners of one edge. Place the backing with specimen on top. on the table. and the foil as a sandwich. Fold the foil over the edges and around to the back of the plate on the left and right sides. From the rear of the plate. pull the foil tight without tearing it and put tape at each of the other corners. Then on the other edge. Then drape the foil carefully over the specimen and plate. . Then being very careful not to shift the specimen. leave the two ends unfolded for the moment. as I find the dull side takes ink a bit better. you want to tape the foil to the backing. carefully pick up the backing.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 10 shiny side against the specimen. you may find it easier to put the foil down on a flat surface. you may want to put more tape. specimen. With the foil on top. In any case. I find I get fewer wrinkles if I press the tape to the foil and then use the tape to pull the foil at a diagonal toward the nearest corner. For large plates. Figure 4: Foil wrapped on two sides If your specimen is well adhered to the backing plate. flip the sandwich over so you can get at the back of the plate. Then you can reach under and lift the sandwich up without disturbing the composition. with part of the backing hanging over the edge. flip the plate with the specimen over and gently lay the whole works down on the foil.
. shiny side up . with regard to left and right. Figure 6: Foil on felt. the composition will appear as it does on the foil .Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 11 Figure 5: Foil taped to back of plate You are now ready to finish the plate by using some kind of press. Begin by placing a couple of pieces of thin. Composing on the Foil Depending on the type of material you are dealing with. fabric store felt down on a firm work surface.. shiny side up.2. Take a piece of foil a bit larger than your backing and place it on top of the felt.B. When making your composition directly on the foil. dull side down. II. left and right will NOT be reversed. remember that when printed. you may find it easier to use the second approach mentioned above and make your composition directly on the foil.
Figure 7: Press backing into foil to mark outline. . arrange specimen on foil Being careful not to shift the specimen around on the foil. and remove backing Next remove the plate and. Figure 8: Using backing outline. gently place the backing on top of the specimen. With the foil-specimen-backing sandwich lying on the felt. arrange your specimen directly on the foil.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 12 Then place the backing material on top of the foil and press down lightly to mark the outline of the backing material on the foil. using the plate marks as a guide.
C.C.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 13 just carefully fold the foil over onto the back of the backing on two opposing sides and tape it in place.1. Figure 9: Replace backing. This prevents too much pressure from being applied to the aluminum foil -. fold and tape foil on two edges You are now ready to finish the plate by using some kind of press. Etching Press Once the sandwich is made. II. At the end we will discuss how to remove blemishes from the finished plate. II. Finishing the Plate In order the finish the plate. very good results can be had with a number of other press types. However. an etching press gives the best results.e. except for very thin material.too much pressure causes the foil to "flow" (i. and then go on to other alternatives. you now need to use a press of some kind. Adjust the roller pressure with the felts in place between these rails and the press roller. stretch) away from the thickest parts of your specimen and . such as fine down. you are ready to put it through the etching press. Because of its high pressure and rolling action. Put the two rails along the two sides of the press bed for the press roller to ride on. Cut two long "rails" (as long at the bed of your press) about 1 inch wide of the same material as the backing you are using to make the plate. We will begin with the etching press.
This seems to produce fewer wrinkles. you should have a very smooth sandwich with the details of the specimen embossed in the aluminum foil.. Figure 10: Foil package on press bed with rails in place . with blankets in place. Run the whole thing through your etching press. so the thickest part of the specimen goes under the roller first. I usually run the press forward and then back. with the foil covered specimen facing the press blankets. like plant stems.. After going through the press. and the hard backing plate (with the foil folded around it) against the press bed. with the folded foil at the sides. resulting in a puncture or a tear. Place the sandwich between the rails. Try to avoid abrupt edges in the specimen.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 14 become very thin. so the sandwich goes through the press twice. When I first started. I used dampened paper over the sandwich when I was making the plate. You may find that you get better detail with some specimens if you do the same. Arrange the plate so that the first pass through the press will roll toward the thickest part of the specimen first . I now usually dispense with the dampened paper and just rely on the pressure and flexibility inherent in the press blankets. If possible taper the edges of thick items. However. The unfolded ends of the tinfoil should go front and back through the press. Use pretty good pressure.
Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 15 Check your composition at this point. or if you do not like the composition. you may discover that there are wrinkles in the foil where you do not want them to be. I re-did the dust bunnies plate several times to get it the way I wanted it. fold the remaining two foil edges over and around to the back of the plate. Figure 11: Initial dust bunnies plate from etching press You will find a final version of the plate below. It should be sufficient to use a piece of tape at each end. or other trash under the foil. dust. and perhaps a piece in the middle if the plate is large. Remove the trash with a fine. . If you find the material has shifted. When you are happy with the look of the plate. dry brush. The blemish in the foil can then be removed by rubbing it with a cotton swab. Most wrinkles can be removed by rubbing along the wrinkle with a cotton swab. never rub crosswise to the wrinkle. just start over with a fresh piece of foil. To remove these. When you look at the plate. You may also discover that there are small pieces of lint. or it will become permanent. pull toward the midline of the plate and tape them to the backing. and indeed it is not a good idea to do so. You do not need to run a whole line of tape continuously around the edges. you must carefully untape the foil and lift it. and replace the foil.
And if you are using plexiglass backing. Unlike the example in figure 12. I do not like to have the back completely covered by foil. you should try to tape the foil to the backing. not to other parts of the foil. Taping the foil to the backing keeps it in place relative to the backing. you are advised to trim the ends of the foil before taping to the backing. Figure 13: Correct taping . If necessary. you may be able to see bits of lint that need to be removed or see items that have shifted position. as it is in figure 12. whereas taping the foil to other bits of foil allows the whole thing to move and shift. It is useful to have bare areas of the plate to which to tape the foil.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 16 Figure 12: Undesirable taping Unless the plate is very small.
consisting of a backing. pull the edges of the foil tight and tape them down again. The tab will allow you to more easily lift the tape if you need to re-tighten the foil later. although you are pulling toward the midline. all covered with aluminum foil which wraps around everything on all sides. as described above. with a specimen on top. With feathers. It is easier to get good tension if you use the tape to help pull the foil. You will find it easier to do if you make a tab on the end of the tape you attach to the backing. As you print. . And with flower petals. you can sometimes actually see the pores in the leaf. and then finally stick the free end of the tape down to the backing. Then you can easily free the tape from the backing. you should angle your tension at each end of the foil toward the adjoining edge. You should now have a complete plate. you can actually see the veins in the petals. the foil may tend to stretch a little. and then sticking it back down. you get all the fine detail of the down. With leaves.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 17 When taping. You want to avoid wrinkles in the middle of the sides. pulling on the foil. Use the tab on the free end of the tape to pull the foil. then make a tab on the free end by folding the tap on itself. Stick the tape well down to the loose foil edge. and you may want to re-tighten it by lifting the tape from the backing. Figure 14: Finished dust bunnies plate You will be amazed at how much detail shows in the foil.
an etching press. For best results. or something similar seems to be required. You will only need one of these little casters.5 inches in diameter. you want something at least 1. Get a 9/32 inch drill. There will be a short threaded stub out the top of each metal case. if you cut your own. housed in a metal case. The threaded stub on the casters I have is 5/16 inch in diameter. The threaded stub will have a nut on it.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 18 The challenge is to ink the plate in such a way as to reveal these details. you need an action like squeezing a tooth paste tube. but they usually come as a set of 2 or 4. there is a way to achieve very good results by hand... you now have a palm press. potter’s slab press. Careful . These casters are designed to replace the little skid plates with rollers so you can move your fridge or stove around. you can take a scrap piece of 2x4 and saw out a circle about 2 inches in diameter. Presto . just drill a 9/32 hole in the center. You could also use an old door knob for a handle. Go to the hardware store and look at the array of casters for furniture that are for sale. use epoxy to hold it in place. The best alternative that I have found to an etching press for making foilographs is a simple palm press. Now. III.. You want a set made to go on a fridge or stove. Or... if you can find the kind that screws onto the square rod through the door that the old latches used to have. squeezing out air and stretching the foil over the specimen in a continuous movement from one end to the other. circular skid plates. However. .. and I suspect that is a North American standard. one screwed into each corner of the bottom. Your fridge or stove comes with 4 small.. You want a package of four casters. Buy the largest diameter ball drawer pull you can find . they make a platform type that the whole appliance sits on . lithographic press. and drill out the hole in the drawer pull. Take the nut off..2 The Palm Press To make the best possible plate. that is NOT what you want. You need to start with pressure at one end of the sandwich and move toward the other end. The one that I use is easily made from readily available materials. Each caster consists of two small diameter plastic rollers. just screw the handle down onto the caster as tight as you can. essentially for leveling the appliance.C.
Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 19 Figure 15: Making a simple palm press To use your palm press to make a foilograph plate. Figure 16: Place felt on top . place your backing. with the specimen next and the foil at the top. foil sandwich on a firm surface preferably below waist high. fabric store felt. Cover the sandwich with two pieces of thin. The backing should be on the bottom. like a table top. specimen.
Place the palm press on the bottom edge of the plate. Figure 17: Palm press position In this position. Pick up the press and bring it back to the lower edge of the plate again. and keeping your arms stiff. and continue making overlapping strokes from the bottom to the top until you have gone over the entire surface of the plate.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 20 Next use the palm press to press the foil around the specimen. you now roll the palm press forward and off the far edge of the Figure 18: First passes plate. put both hands on top of the press. lean onto the press with your upper body. Then turn the plate with felts around 180° and .
Figure 19: Second passes Next turn the plate 90° and repeat the same steps going from side to side. Figure 20: Third passes Figure 21: Fourth passes .Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 21 repeat the process. essentially rolling over the plate in the opposite direction.
Figure 22: Plate in initial condition One thing we want to do is to cut off the excess of aluminum foil at the ends of the plate. you are likely to produce a small fold which will be almost impossible to remove. If you rub crossways. We also want to use a cotton swab to rub out any wrinkles that have appeared because of the stretching of the foil. Rubbing lengthways along the wrinkles gives the best chance of smoothing them out. leaving about an inch or so to fold under. Figure 23: Trimming ends and removing wrinkles .Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 22 Now we can remove the felt to see how the plate looks.
Figure 24: Taping the back At this point. remove them carefully with a dry brush. we need to turn the plate over. and retape. And if there are any undesirable bits of lint or other trash under the foil. If the foil seems loose. and smooth out the bumps in the foil. as long . it may be necessary to carefully peel the tape holding one edge of the foil. As with a plate made on the etching press. retape the foil. Figure 25: The finished plate Aluminum foil is quite plastic and will reveal an amazing amount of detail. Finally we need to fold the foil ends onto the back of the plate and tape them. they should be removed by carefully rubbing along their length with a cotton swab.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 23 Finally. if there are any remaining wrinkles. the plate is essentially finished. you must untape the foil. pull the foil to tighten it.
one at each end of the roller. rolling pins for kitchen use come with quite a small shaft.3 Rolling Pin It is possible to make decent small foilograph plates using a rolling pin. If this becomes . I prefer to use a marble rolling pin.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 24 as we have used enough pressure in making the plate.C. Figure 27: Marble rolling pin As purchased. a shaft runs longitudinally through the center of the roller and through two plastic bushings. one at each end. Rolling pins of the sort we want to use are constructed with a roller about 2 inches in diameter. although a wooden one will also work well. and under the full leaning weight of your body such small shafts tend to bend. Two handles are pressed onto the shaft. Figure 26: Plate detail II.
using the old shaft as a pattern. Remove the original shaft from the rolling pin.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 25 a problem. lean your body weight onto the rolling pin. With your hands on the handles at each end of the rolling pin and your arms stiff. Place the rolling pin on top of the felt. For convenience. with the backing down and the specimen covered with foil facing up. Figure 28: Replacement rolling pin shaft Purchase a length of smooth steel rod from the hardware store. then you may have to use glue to hold them in place. it is a simple matter to replace the shaft with one larger in diameter. Cut the new shaft to length. Try just twisting them in opposite directions until they loosen and can be pulled off. Remove the handles from the original shaft. I will assume that the bottom of the plate is closest to you and the top of the plate is furthest away from you. Cover the sandwich with a couple of pieces of thin fabric store felt. The rolling pin is used in much the same was as the palm press. Place the sandwich on a firm surface. . Use a drill of appropriate size to drill out the bushings to accept your new shaft. Then reassemble your rolling pin. about 5/16 or even 3/8 inch in diameter. on the plate at the bottom. If the handles are too loose on the shaft. Also drill out the handles to be a press fit onto the shaft.
Figure 29: Using a rolling pin By pushing it away from you, slowly roll the pin from the bottom toward the top of the plate and off the edge. Then turn the sandwich and felt 180 degrees, and roll the pin beginning at the top of the plate and off the bottom edge of the plate. Next, turn the sandwich and the felt 90 degrees, and this time run the rolling pin starting at one side of the plate and off the opposite side. Finally, turn the sandwich and plate 180 degrees and roll the plate one last time in the opposite direction. Now you can remove the felt. The plate should look pretty much as in figure 22. As previously indicated, you can now remove any captured dust particles and smooth wrinkles with a cotton swab. Trim the ends of the foil as in figure 23 and finish the plate by folding the foil ends to the back of the plate and taping them in place, as in figure 24. For large plates, the rolling pin just does not seem to have enough pressure. However, for small plates the rolling pin works quite well. For very small plates, you may have difficulty keeping the pin balanced on top of the plate as you roll it along. To cure this problem, simply place two rails, one along each side of the plate, under the felt, for the rolling pin to rest on.
II.C.4. Platen Press Although a press with a rolling action seems to give the best results when making a foilograph plate, you can obtain excellent results with platen presses unless your material is very fine (e.g. very fine down). A platen press consists of two flat surfaces ... a bed and a platen. Essentially a platen press simply presses the two surfaces together, applying pressure to whatever we have placed between. A relatively cheap, commonly available platen press is a book binding press, sometimes called a nipping press. These presses are usually made of cast iron and are quite heavy. Pressure is applied through a simple screw mechanism by turning a handle. Because of the limitations of the screw action, it is difficult to obtain really high pressures with a book binding press.
Figure 30: Book binding press Better results can be had with a simple home made bottle jack press. There are many designs, and the details are not important. The one illustrated uses a fixed bed and a moveable platen; the bungee chords retract the jack and platen when the valve is turned to release the pressure. The more powerful the jack used, the more pressure can be applied, up to the limit of the press frame. I have found that at least a 6-ton jack is preferable. The larger the plate you want to make, the stronger the jack you should use.
Figure 31: Bottle jack press The process of making the plate with a platen press is much the same as we have already discussed. Simply cover the sandwich with a couple of layers of fabric store felt, and place the whole works on the bed. Then apply pressure. The more pressure you apply, the more detail will be revealed on the plate. Because they do not have a rolling action, platen presses usually produce more wrinkles on the plate. After removing the plate from the press, remove blemishes and smooth wrinkles as previously described. II.C.5. Mallet Press There was a German patent issued in 1940 for a technique for printing etchings with a mallet. Essentially a mechanism was designed to keep paper from shifting on the plate. In use, an inked plate was place in the apparatus, covered with dampened paper. A pyramidal shaped platen was placed on the back of the paper and hammered with a mallet. I have experimented a bit with making foilograph plates this way. Basically one places the sandwich, covered with a couple of layers of fabric store felt, between two flat boards and then hammers away with a mallet. In theory it should work just fine. The impetus of the hammering should mold the aluminum foil around the specimen. But in my experiments, I did not find the technique to produce consistent
then you must remove them. rub along the length of each wrinkle. you might try using a very slightly damp brush if you are having difficulty with a particularly recalcitrant particle. . look at the front surface of the plate very carefully. Rather. Any bump that is visible on the foil will catch and hold ink and be printed. be sure the tape is firmly attached to the foil and use it as a “handle” to pull and stretch the foil tightly around the backing. You may then use a fine water color brush or something similar to carefully brush lint from the surface of the backing. If you do not want these imperfections to show up on your print. you may also find that rubbing length wise along a wrinkle with your finger will remove the wrinkle.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 29 results.6.C. carefully remove the tape and unfold the foil from one edge. Be very careful not to move the specimen during this whole process. Given the ease of making foilograph plates by other means. as the friction will tend to stretch the foil or even tear it. you may find that there are wrinkles in the surface of the foil. Again. In order to remove a hair or piece of lint. use a fine brush to remove any particle embedded in the foil. In some cases the offending particle will remain embedded in the foil. But you must be careful not to introduce any moisture under the foil. If there are any small wrinkles in the foil. When re-taping the foil. you may smooth out the lint "bump" with the back of a finger nail or cotton swab. so be sure to examine the foil carefully. Because the foil stretches during the press process. Do not rub across a wrinkle. After re-taping. You may find that there are stray bits of hair and dust that have been caught under the foil. Then tape the foil securely to the back side of the backing. after forming the plate in the press. I have not pursued this technique. II. After the offending particles have been removed. But be careful rubbing with your finger. These wrinkles will hold ink and print if they are not removed. you may carefully smooth them out by rubbing them with the back of a fingernail or with a cotton swab. If your plate is large enough. you need to replace and re-tape the foil. Blemishes After the sandwich has been through the press process. Because moisture helps reduce electrostatic attraction. as this will tend to produce fine folds in the foil which are impossible to remove.
To tighten up the foil. a rolling pin would probably be the next best. such as mustard or poppy seeds or small grass seeds. or after a few prints. For small plates. If the foil is loose. sprinkle some small seeds on the plate.C. here are some plates made with the different techniques. and you may introduce wrinkles during the printing process. a simple palm press can do almost as well. a bottle jack press will generally yield better results than a rolling pin. and you will find a network of wrinkles joining the seeds in a random way. and then re-tape it to the backing. or some mixture. The first plate of this sort I saw was made by Carole Carroll. Make your plate. But for larger plates.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 30 Figure 32: Dust particles and wrinkles After first forming the plate. it will be harder to ink the plate properly. For comparison purposes. Summary Comparison In general an etching press seems to give the best results when making a foilograph plate. For an example. you may find that the foil appears to be loose. Having spent a lot of time telling you how to remove wrinkles. . But when used carefully. undo the tape from the backing. let me take a step back and suggest that sometimes the wrinkles can add a great deal to the image. but not as good as a palm press. carefully pull the foil to tighten it. Such a plate can make very interesting prints.7. II.
g. as long as you are gentle and do not stretch or pierce the foil. each producing somewhat different results: (1) blind embossing with no ink. Of course these techniques can all be combined in various ways.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 31 Figure 33: Etching press plate Figure 34: Palm press plate Figure 35: Rolling pin plate III. viscosity inking) should work as well for foilographs. (4) free-hand color application. (3) masking. The greatest challenge is in inking the plate to achieve the desired results. III. Any inking method appropriate for collagraphs (e. (2) a basic roll-up. Blind Embossing .A. Inking the Plate Figure 36: Bottle jack press plate A foilograph plate is a very low relief plate. (5) intaglio wiping. I think of there being five main inking techniques.
creating wrinkles and spreading ink into unwanted areas. as with Japanese woodblock printing. foilograph plates are very good for producing blind embossings. Any good quality oil based ink formulated for block printing will work well.B Inks Because it is aluminum. then obviously no inking is required. For blind embossing. just place your paper over the plate and run it through your press. you may be able to produce acceptable emobossings on dry paper. Some additional plasticiser such as honey seems to be required. Speedball water based inks seem to work fine. but the resulting ink just balled up on the aluminum. dry paper is much harder on the plate. I find that water based inks sometimes ball up on the surface. I have tried mixing pigments with rice paste. If you have particularly fluffy paper and a high pressure press. Although lithographic inks have very good pigment content. though their pigment content is not high. it is best to dampen your paper. Applying very sticky ink to the plate tends to lift and stretch the foil. and the foil will not last as long as with damp paper. they are far too sticky . However.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 32 A blind embossing is a design impressed into paper without any ink. Although there will be some loss of detail. Once the plate is made. Figure 37: Blind embossing III. If you are only going to do blind embossing. Thick papers made for etching work well for such an application. Oil based inks seem to work the best.
They tend to clump and ball up because the oil does not penetrate the powder well. In some locations you can buy ethyl alcohol that is 95% pure (190 proof). When using water-mixable oils. Only experimentation will help you find out what color you will get with a specific ink on your aluminum foil. Mix the dry powdered pigment with enough alcohol to make a paste. they may be added directly to the stand oil on your inking slab and thoroughly mixed with a spatula or pallet knife. To avoid stretching your foil. “Ever Clear”. Dry pigments are difficult to mix directly into stand oil.C. dry pigments can be use if you first make a paste with the pigment and very pure isopropyl or ethyl alcohol. or “Pure Grain Alcohol”.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 33 to use unthinned on a foilograph plate. I find that I need to use dampened paper to get the ink off the plate. Aluminum reacts very readily with many materials. you may begin with artist’s grade stand oil from any good art supplier. To ensure proper drying. However. Then mix the pigment paste with the stand oil to make your ink. again. If you like to make your own inks. If you are using print dispersions. Since you will not be using much oil. If your ink is too sticky. you may wish to add a drop of cobalt drier to ensure proper drying. The viscosity of stand oil is suitable for inking a foilograph plate. Some inks may react with the aluminum and discolor slightly. III. then thin it with artist’s quality linseed oil. I find that even etching inks are too sticky unless well thinned. it is best to buy the highest grade available from an artist’s supply store. I have not tried other oil paints. Ethyl alcohol is what is found in booze. your ink should have the consistency of oil paint. Isopropyl alcohol can be purchased in drug stores and can be found 99% pure in many locales. you may want to add a drop of cobalt drier. I have used stand oil and pigment dispersions from Guerra in New York in this way. I have gotten quite reasonable results with water-mixable oil colors but again find they are best thinned slighty. but they may also work. Inking Tools . it is sold under trade names like “Clear Spring”. water-mixable oils seem to dry a lot faster than inks specifically made for print making.
but except for color distortion. or “brayers”. is covered with a layer of smooth leather or fine mesh silk or similar material. grease and oil.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 34 You will need a convenient place to roll out your inks. You will want some brayers that are quite hard (often made from plexiglass rod) and some that are softer. After you are finished. You can use a piece of plexiglass or a piece of real glass. and place the shiny. so your ink should not penetrate the paper. Hard dabbers are made by using a small piece of dowel or similar material for a handle and gluing or screwing a small disk (1 inch to 2 inches in diameter. clean up is simple . Figure 38: Variety of brayers You will also want to have a few large. the brown butcher paper works just as well. Hard dabbers are useful for applying ink to the high spots of a plate. Smaller sizes are readily available in most art supply stores. hard dabbers. I have specified white because it is easier to see your colors on white paper. just throw it away. Furniture glides work well for the disks and are available in a variety of sizes at most hardware stores. These papers have a plasticised side that is impervious to water.. Brayers come in a variety of sizes and degrees of hardness. Or . You will also need a variety of ink rollers. and any felt. plasticised side up and tape it to a firm surface with masking tape. But a more convenient inking slab to use is a piece of white butcher paper or freezer paper. Finally the disk.. For a bit of softness. A hard dabber may be inked with a roller. print makers usually call this an inking slab. the surface of the disk may be covered with a thin layer of felt. which may be secured in place with string or a rubber band. Cut off a piece of convenient size. which you can buy in most large grocery stores. depending on the size you need) to the end of the dowel.
Figure 40: Soft dabbers . you may ink specific areas with a paint brush or a dabber. Figure 39: Hard dabbers In addition to hard dabbers. Instead. They may be cleaned by using vegetable oil followed by soap and water. Paint brushes tend to leave brush marks. I make my hard dabbers with smooth leather scraps. Cloth coverings would have to be removed and washed after each use. you may apply ink by hand to specific areas of the plate by using soft dabbers.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 35 it may be inked by using it to smear a bit of ink around on the inking slab. Such measures tend to stretch and/or tear the foil. Do NOT use mat board or rolled up felt to scrape ink across the surface of the plate as you would with an etching. The hard dabber is used to apply ink to the high parts of the plate by carefully pressing the dabber against the appropriate parts of the plate. Generally you get smoother results with a soft dabber.
These dabbers can be cleaned after use by throwing away the cotton balls and washing the material covering in soap and water. Simply place a few cotton balls in the middle of a square of fabric. cotton balls. Cosmetic sponges are hard to clean.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 36 Cosmetic sponges make very decent soft dabbers. Another useful soft dabber is made from a cut off finger from a nitrile glove.D. it may simply be discarded. but are so cheap they may simply be discarded after use. Simply place a cotton ball or two in the tip of the finger. or ink roller. Then bring the corners of the fabric together and twist to make a tadpole shape. To use a soft dabber. The tail forms a convenient handle. The tendency of beginners is to use way too much ink. insert a cotton swab for use as a handle. and secure the cut off finger to the swab with a rubber band. hold the dabber by the tail handle and dab the head of it into the ink on your inking slab. You can also easily make soft dabbers from most any close weave fabric. You can also use a soft dabber to gently smear ink into recessed areas of the plate. Roll-up To do a simple roll up. You will have to re-ink the dabber frequently. Finally. secure the “tail” with a rubber band. first the ink should be rolled out on an inking slab with a “brayer”. If cheap material is used. bouncing motion. A "dab" is a light. They may be bought cheaply at most cosmetics outlets or drug stores. III. You . Then apply the ink to the plate by dabbing with the inked tadpole. Then dab the head several times on a clear portion of the inking slab until the ink is evenly distributed. and rubber bands.
You should just use the weight of the brayer itself. only the highest details will receive ink. use less ink.g.. This process will put ink on the high spots of the plate. the more ink will get on the shallower parts of the plate. avoid . Figure 41: Memories of summers past III.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 37 want a very. If you use a very hard roller.. The print in Figure 41 was produced by a simple roll up using thinned sepia etching ink. if in doubt. The softer the roller. The ink is applied to the foilograph plate by rolling the brayer very lightly over the surface. leaving a halo around them.E. simply run the roller over the plate. very thin coat of ink on your brayer . Strive for a smooth transition from lights to darks. You may wish to change the orientation of the plate relative to the roller in order to produce a more uniform inking. Particularly for small plates. Masking If you want to limit the ink application to only a certain part of the plate (e. you may find it useful to place the plate between two rails of the same thickness as the backing. You must be careful to avoid getting sharp lines when you reapply the brayer to the plate. If you are using a small diameter brayer. Depending on the amount of ink desired. you may wish to run the roller over the plate several times. without applying any other pressure. Experimentation will allow you to determine the look you like. you will have to re-ink your brayer many times. Then resting the inked brayer on the rails.
Use dry paper. Figure 42: Mylar mask You can also make a mask from plain paper. Place the plastic over the plate and use a felt pen to draw around the specimen. Either make a blind embossing or ink up the plate and then print it with light pressure on the paper mask material. then you can use clear plastic sheet for a mask. or else the mask will change dimensions as it dries. and when you are finished inking. Use the mask when inking. before printing. . use a cotton swab and alcohol to carefully remove any stray ink from the plate. Then put the sheet on some other backing and use a knife to cut out the shape of the specimen.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 38 getting ink on the plate around the outside of a leaf). Spaying a paper mask with fixative or painting it with shellac or acrylic medium will make it last longer. Then cut out the mask.
A brayer is then run through the adjacent ink.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 39 Figure 43: Horse chestnut Using a mask with a rainbow roll can produce very nice results. Figure 44: Stair step moss . producing a stripe of each ink on the brayer. two or more colors are laid out close together on one inking slab. Using a rainbow roll on the plate. it is possible to ink with multiple colors that shade nicely into each other. with a blend between the stripes. My print of stair step moss was done using this technique and three colors. For a rainbow roll.
. Both soft and hard dabbers are very useful for this purpose. you may prefer to apply ink to specific parts of the plate in a freehand manner. Freehand In some cases.F. and cotton swabs to get color on the bit of leaf and the few wood chips.You may also ink the plate by using a nitrile or latex glove and using a finger to gently smear the ink around on the plate.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 40 III. a hard dabber to get black on the suface of some of the hair. Figure 45: Inking dust bunnies The dust bunnies plate was hand inked using soft dabbers for the blue.
Place a sheet of paper over the inked plate. Look at the plate to see how much ink has been removed. I prefer to use soft dabbers to apply and smear the ink. and use very light pressure with your hand on the paper. Keep removing the inked paper and replacing it by fresh. Eventually you will feel the paper begin to slide over the plate. and replace it by another. Be sure your ink is quite loose. The paper may stick to the surface of the plate at first. Carefully remove and discard the paper.G. Try to gently move your hand in a very small circular motion on the paper. if the plate is too large. You will begin by more blotting than wiping. If the plate is small enough. This . place it on a non-slip surface.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 41 Figure 46: Dust bunnies print III. The basic idea is to gently apply ink in blobs to the plate and then gently smear the ink around. Remember that you cannot use straight etching ink for this process. Then use news print or old phone book pages to very gently wipe the plate. and trying to move your wiping hand in a circular motion. Intaglio You may also use intaglio techniques for inking the plate. Others may prefer to use their gloved fingers. working it well into low spots. hold it in one gloved hand. it is too sticky and will stretch and tear the foil. Try not to lift of stretch the foil.
After doing a roll-up or using a mask. you can produce very subtle gradations of tone. Alternatively. After wiping the plate. you can gently wipe the high spots by hand using a nitrile glove or with a piece of newsprint to remove the ink from the high spots. . it may be useful to wipe ink from the higher parts of the plate as is done in intaglio.. Combination Techniques Of course all of these inking techniques may be applied in combinations. To reveal details.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 42 wiping process will tend to leave ink in the low parts of the plate and remove it from the high parts. you may then use a hard dabber or a hard roller to apply another color to the high parts of the plate.. you can create quite intricate gradations in color and tonal quality. III. you may wish to add contrast and modeling by applying one color to the recessed parts of the plate and a different color to the high portions of the plate. By differential wiping. By using different colors of ink on different parts of the plate and carefully blending the areas during smearing and wiping. Often inking obscures some of the details available on the plate. Figure 47: Light as .H.
But card stock is very hard paper. Paper Selection Having inked the plate you are now ready to print. But heavier papers may be printed either damp or dry. This was the process used to produce the print of Oregon grape in Figure 1. I really like fluffier papers. As with intaglio. Next. you may use a thin. In practice. On the other hand. IV. Paper selection can greatly influence the outcome. as long as you do not use water mixable oils. for most subjects you can get quite acceptable results with dry paper. such as BFK Rives. However. I find I get finer details with dampened paper. Very smooth papers. lighter weight papers tend to give me better details than heavier weight papers. you will probably have to use dampened paper just to get the color to come off. In practice. A very thin. such as card stock or cover stock. . if you use dampened paper. but the very finest details sometimes do not show up on it. Rice paper must be printed dry. I find that water based inks will not adhere when applied on top of oil based inks. As a generalization. gently wipe the high areas with newsprint. and consequently it is hard on the plate. you will pick up the ink in the little crevices of the plate. the technique relied on the fact that inks of very different viscosities would not stick together readily. But remember that if you are using water-mixable oils. Printing the Plate IV. soupy ink will reject a stiffer ink. Thin Japanese papers may be printed damp or dry. known as viscosity inking. one could begin by appling an oil based ink to the lower parts of the plate using a dabber or a soft brayer. one can rely on a technique from intaglio printing. Gently wipe the high parts with newsprint. a thin ink will cover a stiff ink. The hard brayer will help to keep the ink application on the high parts. soupy ink on a soft roller or dabber to ink the lower parts of your plate. In its original form.A. Then use a hard brayer to apply a water based ink to the high areas. So.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 43 As an aid in this two color inking process. A variant of the viscosity technique is based on the fact that in general water and oil do not readily mix. Then use a hard brayer to apply a stiffer ink to the high parts of the plate. You can apply this principle to get multicolors on your plate. You can also get good detail on oriental “rice” papers. reveal quite fine details.
If you are printing with the plate on the bed. Basically you just lay your selected paper. then the paper.. However.. then the felts. and use some means of applying pressure. If I place felts on the bed. In cases of blanket creep. and the plate pulls on the upper roller. you can sometimes lessen stretching by printing the plate “upside down” . seems to stretch the foil more. put a couple of layers of fabric store felt on the bed. you may have to use velcro strips to attach the etching felt to the bed. use a bit less pressure on the top roller. Aluminum tends to flow under pressure. and finally the plate. Using the foil to pull the plate. and you have blanket creep. then the plate (printing the plate face down. Presses Once the plate is made and inked. The heavier the pressure. With the printing surface facing the driving roller. I find it useful to put two rails down the side of the bed. The problem of stretching is worsened if the printing surface of the foil is closest to the driving roller. so the foil will become very thin at the high spots and eventually tear. In some cases. You do not need to use an etching press to print it. dry and damp. you will want to print it. Just as when making the plate. then the paper. to see what suits you and your subject. on top of the plate.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 44 As with most everything else in printmaking. .B. some small etching presses with small diameter top rollers suffer from blanket creep . One of the primary problems with using an etching press to print your plate is that it tends to stretch the aluminum foil. producing wrinkles. IV. paper on top. A second problem with using the etching press to print the foilograph plate is the high pressures which may result unless a great deal of care is exercised.. the bed pulls on the felts. the felts pull on the paper. rather than the plate to pull the foil. the paper pulls on the foil. there are some good reasons NOT to do so. rather than turning the top roller. the following sequence happens: the driving roller pulls on the bed. The blanket will pull on the paper. as it were).. the blanket tends to be dragged by the top roller. then the paper. you really need to experiment with papers. As a last resort. which will pull on the foil. then you are very likely to stretch the foil when you print. For example. covered by the etching felt. the shorter the life of the plate. the foil pulls on the plate. on my press. Cover with a couple of pieces of fabric store felt. then I get more stretching than if I place the plate on the bed. dry or damp. it may help to turn the plate 90 degrees to your normal orientation. In fact. the driving roller is below the bed.
and apply pressure. place the plate on a firm table between two rails of the same thickness as the backing. there is less wrinkling of the aluminum foil. Place the paper over the plate between the rails. these printing options generally do not result in as high a pressure as an etching (or similar action) press. If you are using dry paper. For simple in-line pressure presses (letter press. Since there is no shearing action. so there should be less of a problem with wrinkling the aluminum foil. Leave room between the rails for the plate and the paper. A walking press consists of a simple backing board with a long leather or (or similar material) flap attached at one end of the backing board. lean over the rolling pin with stiffened arms to put pressure on the rolling pin. Walking presses can be quite simple or more complicated. To print with a rolling pin. and roll over the sandwich. Also. then the plate. an improvised bottle jack or car jack press.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 45 made of the same material as the plate backing. place the whole in the press. bottle jack press). using the toes and balls of the feet to apply pressure all over. or even a “bean can” press. Then adjust the pressure so the roller and blankets are riding on the two rails . try placing an extra loose sheet or two of thin felt from the fabric store over the paper. good. That little bit of extra flexible thickness is often all that is required to get the pressure just right. just place the plate on a backing board. Place the rolling pin on the rails. walk carefully around on top. With foilographs. I find this works best if you put a thin layer of felt down. To print your foilograph plate. so your plate should last longer and you will get more impressions from it. a book binding press. you should use less pressure. and cover with a cushion (felt or foam) also between the rails. then cover with some cushion material (felt. you can use a letter press. These techniques produce less shearing action. Then with bare feet.. firm pressure on the rails should be sufficient. book binding press. then the paper.. then use less pressure than with dampened paper. foam). and cover the whole with a thick cushion layer. Experience is the best guide. a “walking” press. a marble rolling pin. If you are using thicker paper. Then the paper and plate should give plenty of pressure to print without stressing the foil unduly. If you are not getting good results. cover with a sheet of paper. The plate-paper-feltcushion sandwich is placed on the backing board and wrapped with the flap to hold everything in place as the user walks around on top of the flap. The basic idea is to place the paper over the plate and cover with a cushion (felt or foam). You may need to roll over the sandwich several .
Alcohol and water can also sometimes be used to remove dry inks. just remove the aluminum foil to retrieve the specimen. If you want to keep the plate. I just wipe it with a damp tissue when using water mixable colors. you must be very carful not to introduce liquids beneath the foil. use stiffened arms to put pressure on the can. Then place both hands on the top of the can. I use tissue and a bit of vegetable oil. A “bean can” press works in much the same way as the rolling pin press. petroleum jelly). For normal oily inks. The same technique will work using the palm press described earlier. note that the aluminum foil is reasonably delicate. Multiple Passes and Plates . V. Cleaning the Plate If you get too much ink on your plate or you want to switch to a different color scheme. you will want to clean your plate. Advanced Topics V. I find I can sometimes get it off easily by just buffing softly with a dry tissue.A. After printing. or when you have finished printing your edition. A marble rolling pin works just as well as the very expensive stainless steel “pin press” sold by art suppliers.g.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 46 times to get a good image.. It may help to apply a small amount of lubricant to the bottom of the can (e. or you will produce bubbles and wrinkles that ruin the plate. acetone will generally remove dried inks. As a last result. IV. No matter what you use. Place a small can of tinned vegetables or fruit on end on top of the plexiglass. In preparation for cleaning. on top of the sandwich. provided that the enclosed specimen is well dried and will not mold. Then place a piece of thin plexiglass across the rails. Or you can use soap and water. Alcohol on a bit of cotton batting works well to clean foilograph plates. If the ink dries on the plate. it is a good idea to remove as much of the ink as possible by printing the plate under light pressure several times on paper toweling. To clean the plate. Or you can store the plate. so wrap the plate in newspaper to preserve it for future use. Place the plate-paper-cushion sandwich between rails as with the rolling pin.C. and rub the can all around the plexiglass.
Or they may be made from brass. thin tab about an inch long and 3/4 of an inch wide with a small perpendicular dowel at one end. or similar material. You could use paper for your carrier sheet. not to the foil. Registration pins of stainless steel may be purchased from lithographers’ supply outlets. the tape should attach to the backing material of the plate. To be sure the plate stays in position on the carrier sheet. acetate. but I prefer to use plastic since any stray ink can be easily wiped off. . one fundamental question concerns whether there will be just one pass through the press or multiple passes. In Figure 49. Multiple passes and/or multiple plates introduce the usual problems of registration. You want to be able to print the plate but keep one end of the carrier sheet from going under the roller or pressure plate. With foilograph plates. Figure 48: Registration pins The basic idea is to use double backed tape to attach the plate to one end of a carrier sheet consisting of a long piece of mylar. I have used a piece of blue paper for the carrier sheet for ease of viewing. Each registration pin consists of a flat. The dowel must be the exact size of the holes made by the punch (frequently 1/4 inch or the metric equivalent of 6 mm). I made some simply by cutting small pieces of thin plexiglass and gluing a short 1/4 inch plexiglass dowel at one end. registration is more of a problem because usually the foil wrapped around the edges of the backing does not give a precise registration edge. aluminum or plastic. The carrier sheet must be long enough to extend well beyond the plate.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 47 In the printing. There are some simple pin registration techniques which work well.
Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 48 Figure 49: Registration technique Use a two or three hole paper punch to punch holes in the end of the carrier sheet. For a bottle jack press or similar press. you will probably need to make an extra bottom plate or “sliding board” of plexiglass or other material that extends out to the side beyond the pressure plate. That is why the carrier sheet is generally quite long. You can then easily remove the carrier sheet. So. Carefully note that the registration pins must be placed in such a way that they do not go under the roller of the etching press nor under the pressure plate of the inline press. but you will be able to replace the carrier sheet exactly where it was before by placing the holes in the carrier sheet over the pins on the bed. You can then position the inked plate+carrier and the paper on the plexiglass bottom plate and then slide it into position in the press. Position the plate+carrier sheet . Then you can use lithographers’ registration pins or similar devices taped to the bed or bottom plate of the press to locate the plate on the bed. leaving the pins taped in place. The carrier sheet may be placed on this extra bottom plate with the registration pins positioned out of the way of the pressure plate. Ink the plate. attach the plate to the carrier sheet. Using the two or three hole punch ensures that the holes are placed at the same position in all of your material. Use the same paper punch to punch holes in one end of the printing paper.
In this way you can register as many plates as you like to each other. Attach your first plate to a carrier sheet as before. Cover with cushions as usual. Remove the transparent print and the first plate with its carrier sheet. to whom I extend my very warm thanks. If one is more concerned about artistry and not so much concerned about biological accuracy. Then you can replace the plate on the pins exactly where it was before by using the registration pins and the holes in the carrier sheet. print on a piece of mylar or other clear material that is also punched and registered on the pins. you can remove the paper. Then you can use the registration pins to reposition the paper exactly. Since your printing paper is punched and registered to the same pins as your plates. Use the pins to place the paper over the plate. Place the transparent print from the first plate on the registration pins over the second plate. Much biological accuracy is lost because of the embossing powders tend to form small lumps when fused. But the general characteristics of the subject are retained. Embossing powder is essentially very fine particles of plastic that will melt under . After printing. When you have the second plate properly positioned. then one can produce very nice results using plates made with embossing powder. In this way you can over-print one plate several times. V. you should be able to print multiple plates in registration on your paper.B Embossing Powder Plates I owe the idea for the technique of using embossing powder to make plates to Fred Mullet. Then instead of printing on paper. remove the carrier sheet with the plate. but do not tape it to the carrier sheet yet. You can then use the image on the transparent sheet as a guide to position the second plate. perhaps changing the inking at each pass. Place your second plate in approximately the right position. use double backed tape to tape it in position on the second carrier sheet. After one pass through the press. and re-ink the plate leaving it attached to the carrier sheet.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 49 on the pins. the end of the paper with the registration holes can be cut or torn away. You can use the same technique to align several plates to print in registration with each other. Place a second carrier sheet on the pins.
First you make a print of a leaf or similar material on good quality card stock or similar paper. You can buy heat guns for stripping paint or welding plastic. Next. the powder should fall onto your creased paper. Use a small dry brush to dust off areas of the print where the powder should not be. You can purchase embossing powders from most craft stores and from outlets carrying rubber stamps. So be sure to cover your work area with old newspapers or something similar. I use an old salt shaker for this purpose. Turn the dusted print upside down over the paper and tap it on the back to remove the excess powder. The inked areas should appear dull from the adhering powder. you want to remove all the excess powder. Then you sprinkle liberal amounts of embossing powder over the print.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 50 moderate temperature. as the heat gun blows very hot air. Carefully pick up your creased paper with the excess powder. Now you are ready to fuse the embossing powder. Fold a piece of paper in the middle and then open it out flat on the work surface. The basic technique is very simple. and many craft stores sell appropriate heat guns. but should not adhere to the dry paper. so you want to capture it. You may see powder in other places on the print. the powder will fuse. just be sure the ink is not too thick on the paper. The powder is very fine. Carefully go over the entire print to be sure all the powder has fused. using an oil based ink. You will need a good heat gun to fuse the powder. . turning from opaque to shiny. Gently refold the paper. Direct the flow from the heat gun onto the powdered print. The powder will adhere to the wet ink. Be sure to put the lid back on your powder container at this point. and in use tends to go everywhere. You may want to hold your print down with a couple of stones or something similar at the edges. and let the powder slide down the crease and back into your container. The excess powder can be re-used. A hair drier will not do the job. As it gets hot. Be careful not to set the paper on fire. You could make a design with a paint brush instead of a leaf print. Examine the print closely. Set your print to one side.
Place the paper. These plates are very low relief and require a lot of pressure. At this point. Cover with aluminum foil. the ink should feel dry to the touch. you make a foilograph plate from the embossed paper in the usual way.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 51 Figure 50: Print with fused embossing powder Once it is fused. Finish the plate in the usual way. embossing up. Figure 51:Detail of embossing powder plate . wrapped around two sides. such as plexiglass. and the plastic should be slightly beaded up on the surface of the paper. Apply pressure from a press. on a stiff backing.
which seems more complicated in the telling than in the doing. SEND ME COPIES OF YOUR PRINTS !! . Figure 52: Embossing powder plate print CONCLUSION This is a VERY simple technique. and by all means. experiment with it.Morgan Foilography Printmaking Page 52 Because the plate is so low relief. Give it a try. perhaps the most successful way to print it is to ink and wipe it as intaglio. Let me know how it works for you.
In general. Use a gentle. like matboard. like linseed oil. oily stains on your print over time. The first thing I want to emphasize is that intaglio inking is quite time consuming. I have not had good success with acrylics. to apply and spread the ink. You want to loosen your inks with a product that will dry and harden over time. the characteristics that allow the foil to reveal such fine detail make it difficult to ink with stiff inks. so I thought I would make a few additional comments. These days many manufacturers are producing inks advertised as “soap and water clean up”. but the oil has been modified to be mixable with water. Take your time . you will be unlikely to have much success. it is quite different from doing collagraph. You need to use LOOSE ink. When inking a foilograph as intaglio. I find that water mixable oil colors dry much too quickly to be used for intaglio inking of a foilograph plate. Remember.. like Speedball. that foil is thin and stretches easily. You may try true water based block printing inks. even most block printing inks are too stiff. If the ink is sticking and the dabber is . hard applicator. do not be in a hurry. When inking standard etchings. You need to be careful in your selection of inks. Standard etching inks are much too sticky. one frequently uses a very stiff.. you will stretch or tear the foil. You may want to use Miracle Gel or Easy Wipe to loosen your oily inks. I have had the best results using a soft dabber to smear the ink around on the plate. The linseed oil will dry. and of course much longer when inking a larger plate. You need to be prepared to spend 15 minutes inking a small plate.Charles Morgan More Comments on Intaglio Inking Page 53 More Comments on Intaglio Inking A number of students seem to have trouble with intaglio inking of a foilograph plate. or engravings. If you try to rush the process. Never do this with a foilograph. etchings. But you will most certainly need to use a retarder to keep water based inks from drying too quickly on the plate. When applying the ink to a foilograph. I have good results with plain artist’s grade linseed oil. circular motion. I have had good success with oil based inks. Other ink additives may lead to creeping. Such inks are really oil based inks. and collagraphs. but less success with water based inks. The next thing I want to emphasize is that you should use very loose inks for intaglio inking a foilograph plate. engravings.
Pay careful attention to your wiping materials and technique.. For water based inks. For larger plates. Again. You are not going to be able to remove all the ink from the aluminum . you will lift the foil. put your finger near the edge of a piece of paper and use it to wipe the ink from the specimen toward the edge of the plate.. BE GENTLE. rough material.. loosen the ink. because that will take too much ink out of the image. engravings. With a foilograph plate.. it means you are dragging an edge or a fold in your wiping paper. and collagraphs is usually done with a fair amount of pressure and vigor.. To keep the large plate from slipping.. or any similar stiff.. but not for general wiping of the specimen.. you may want to place it on some rubbery. As more of the ink is removed. I usually just print the plate several times on paper towel to remove excess ink. gently slide the dabber around in the same plane as the foil. Wiping etchings. Do not press the dabber down and then lift it straight up. you will have to place the plate on a flat working surface. For small plates. you must be much more gentle. The inking is more like a dry point than an etching . I begin with a sheet of paper on my upturned left palm and place the plate flat in my left hand. I use old phone book pages.. Try to wipe the plate. If you are getting white lines when your are wiping. You are looking for good contrast between what is left on the specimen and what is left on the plate. If you feel you must clean the plate during a run. I do not clean between inkings unless there is way too much ink . NEVER use tarlatan. put a few drops of linseed oil on a piece . if you lift the dabber straight up. you will be wiping the high surfaces clean and leaving ink in the low spots next to the relief. I would not use paper towels or kleenex to wipe the image.Charles Morgan More Comments on Intaglio Inking Page 54 dragging. you will not get it shiny clean. ink side up. I wear disposable gloves to keep ink off my hands. Remove the dabber by sliding it off an edge of the plate. use a gentle. even then. do not lift the paper straight up. use a lightly moistened kleenex. Remember. twisting motion to blot the plate and take the ink off the high spots. For oily inks. or you will lift the foil . Try to wipe only with flat material. You could use paper towels or kleenex to wipe the plate from the specimen toward the edge of the plate. BE GENTLE. Then I cover the inky plate with another sheet of paper flat in my right hand . nonskid material.. like wiping your palms together. moving the paper toward an edge.
. .Charles Morgan More Comments on Intaglio Inking Page 55 of kleenex and carefully wipe the plate . Or you can use baby wipes to clean the plate.. then use clean kleenex to take off the residue.
B.C. V8V 4M2 CANADA (250) 920-0281 cmorgan@uvic. The problems is that there is enough variation in the thickness of various parts of the specimen that a hard roller will miss the thinnest parts. I have developed a technique which I call . If one uses a very hard roller in an effort to avoid getting ink in the shallow voids. for some subjects it is difficult using intaglio inking to get good contrast between the subject and the background. with many voids. resulting in an unsuitable print. For some thin material.Charles Morgan Inking Very Thin Subjects Page 56 Inking Very Thin Subjects Using an Inking Sheet and Mask Charles Morgan Mossworks Studio 77 Moss Street Victoria. then it is often the case that significant areas of the specimen will remain un-inked.mossworks. then good results may be had by cutting a close fitting mask of acetate or other thin material and inking the plate with a roller. then using a roller and a simple mask often leads to deposits of ink in the many voids.com © October 22. However. if the thin material is complex in shape. If the thin material consists of just one area. intaglio inking seems to work well. To help solve some of these problems. It is very difficult to apply ink to the foil covering exceedingly thin material without getting ink on the background as well. However.ca www. like a flower petal. 2006 Foilograph plates made from very thin subjects offer special challenges when it comes to inking. And the look obtained by intaglio inking and wiping may not be what is desired by the artist.
Charles Morgan Inking Very Thin Subjects Page 57 “sheet inking”. As an example of a subject that is challenging to ink. Start with the plate face up on a piece of newsprint on your work surface. I made a foilograph plate from a wispy piece of down. but to return it when needed. You may find it useful to use tape hinges at one end of the mask to make it easier to flip the mask out of the way. Then place the mask on the plate. Figure 54: Mask in place . Figure 53: Fine down plate The first step is to cut a mask from a piece of acetate or similar material.
It is flexible enough to reach appropriate areas of the specimen. Figure 55: Inking sheet in place Now. but still stiff enough to bridge over the really low areas. You will probably need to make several passes with the brayer in several different directions. You will want enough ink on the sheet to transfer readily to the foil covering the specimen. As you progress. When the image of the specimen is reasonably clear. pressing it lightly down on the plate. you should begin to see the specimen through the inking sheet. Moderation is the key. Let your own experience and working habits be your guide. on top of the mask. To begin. inked side down. you are finished. we will use a sheet of acetate or flexible plastic table cloth material. . which is in place on the plate. When the sheet is evenly inked. use an un-inked brayer and a light touch to roll over the back of the inking sheet. My personal preference is to use the thickest version of plastic table cloth material. we use a brayer to roll an even coat of ink on the inking sheet. carefully place the sheet. You can use the developing image of the specimen as a guide to tell where you need to do a bit more with the un-inked brayer. But. you do not want the ink to be so sloppy thick that it oozes into the low spots on the plate. Be careful not to move the mask.Charles Morgan Inking Very Thin Subjects Page 58 Rather than using an inked brayer to apply ink to the plate.
Charles Morgan Inking Very Thin Subjects Page 59 Figure 56: Inking sheet after rolling Now you may carefully peel the inking sheet away from the mask and the specimen to reveal the inked plate. But great . you may re-ink the inking sheet and reapply it. Figure 57: Inked plate If the inking is too light.
If there is only a bit of excess ink in a few places. experimentation is the key. you may carefully remove it with a cotton swab. you may proceed to remove the mask and print the plate. Figure 58: Finished print Getting good detail is especially important with very thin specimens. The scan of the print reproduced below has been rotated and flipped to correspond to the orientation of the image of the plate printed above. like card stock. If the inking is too heavy. Try various papers. damp and dry. so that you may compare the two. . you must clean the plate and begin again. hard paper.Charles Morgan Inking Very Thin Subjects Page 60 care is needed to re-apply the inking sheet. to get the effect you want. I find that I get the best detail with such plates by printing them dry on very smooth. the tendency is to get too much ink where it is not wanted. Again. When the inking is satisfactory.
First. but it is cheaper if you buy it where shelf liner is sold in large cut-rate department stores. B. V8V 4M2 Canada ©October 21. Figure 59: Non-slip material Next. you will need to keep the paper from shifting on the plate while you make multiple.Charles Morgan Printing Foilographs with a Palm Press Page 61 Printing Foilographs with a Palm Press Charles Morgan Mossworks Studio 77 Moss Street Victoria. The rubbery stuff can be found in marine and RV supply outlets. flat surface a bit below waist height. you can use a clipboard and some of that non-slip rubbery sheet that is sold for shelf liners. 2006 (250) 920-0281 cmorgan@uvic. place the clipboard down on the non-slip material.ca In order to print a foilograph with your palm press.C. For small plates. This will keep the . overlapping strokes with the palm press. put a sheet of non-slip material on a firm.
Charles Morgan Printing Foilographs with a Palm Press Page 62 clipboard from moving around during the printing process. inked side up. Position the plate so that it will print where you want it when the paper is under the spring clamp. held in place by the spring clamp. . This will keep the plate from moving around while you are printing. Figure 60: Clipboard in place Now place another piece of non-slip material on the clipboard. Figure 61: Non-slip on clipboard Place your inked plate on the non-slip material.
Charles Morgan Printing Foilographs with a Palm Press Page 63 Figure 62: Plate in place Carefully slip your dampened paper under the spring clamp. . fabric store “felt”. Figure 63: Paper in place Cover the paper with two sheets of thin.
**** That will help keep the paper from moving while you print. Keep your arms stiff and lean your body weight onto the press. Place your palm press at the bottom edge. . Put both hands on top of the press. Figure 65: Begin first passes Begin with the palm press toward one side edge of the plate.Charles Morgan Printing Foilographs with a Palm Press Page 64 Figure 64: Place felt under camp ****It is important to start at the end nearest the spring clip. with one roller on the plate and one off the plate.
Pick up the press and bring it back to the lower edge of the plate again. you now roll the palm press forward and off the far edge of the plate.Charles Morgan Printing Foilographs with a Palm Press Page 65 Figure 66: Palm press position In this position. The paper will now have the plate mark well embossed. and this will help to hold the paper in position. and continue making overlapping strokes from the bottom to the top until you have gone over the entire surface of the plate. Now you want to repeat the process. . but beginning at the end of the clipboard away from the spring clip.
and then roll the palm press forward and off the far edge of the plate. put both hands on the palm press.Charles Morgan Printing Foilographs with a Palm Press Page 66 Figure 67: Begin second passes As before. lean your upper body weight onto the press. and continue making overlapping strokes from the bottom to the top until you have gone over the entire surface of the plate. . Hopefully your foilograph will now be printed. You can check on your progress by going to the edge furthest from the spring clip and carefully lifting the top felts and the edge of the paper. Pick up the press and bring it back to the lower edge of the plate again.
For me. But with two clips so arranged. Figure 69: Finished print . let the paper and the top felts relax back into position.Charles Morgan Printing Foilographs with a Palm Press Page 67 Figure 68: Check progress If the image is not satisfactory. Be careful not to shift the paper as you make additional strokes. at right angles to the original spring clip. and repeat strokes with your palm press in any places that seem too faint. I have not had good success running the palm press from side to side. doing so almost always results in shifting the paper slightly. it becomes more difficult to lift the paper and check on the progress of the print. Such shifting could probably be eliminated by putting another clip on the clipboard along one edge. with a resulting double image.
the process is much the same. . Simply cut it to size and screw on a couple of spring clips purchased from an office supply store. and come equipped with two large spring clips like those found on clipboards. Alternatively. but of course you will probably need something larger than a clipboard.Charles Morgan Printing Foilographs with a Palm Press Page 68 For larger plates. Art supply stores sell sketching boards that work very well for our purposes. These boards are 18 inches to several feet on a side. you can easily make your own printing board from a piece of plywood or MDF.
Also. This construction provides ample strength. 1/8 inch thick.Charles Morgan Bottle Jack Press Page 69 Bottle Jack Press Charles Morgan Mossworks Studio 77 Moss Street Victoria. I used threaded “ready rod” for the through bolts. light. 2006 This little bottle jack press is very handy for relief printing. and amply strong. The top and bottom bars are made by screwing and glueing two pieces of 2x4 lumber together. In some the jack sits stationary on the bottom and raises the bed..C. cheap. I have shown it with a 6-ton jack. but it will be more prone to cracking and not be as strong as the laminated design. B. I personally prefer a press with a fixed bed and a moveable platen. There are many designs for such presses available. This press has the same action as a bookbinding (or nipping) press. with the unmoving platen fixed to the top bar. and it can even handle most collagraphs and mono-prints. 1 3/8 inches per side. cut to appropriate length. but they are expensive to buy in an appropriate size. One could use 4x4 material. I used wing nuts to make disassembly easy. V8V 4M2 (250) 920-0281 www. a 2-ton jack would probably be sufficient. but if you are doing only relief work. I used slotted steel angle for the uprights . it need not be drilled. and could be used for that. and that is the design I used for this press. I use bungee chord to retract the platen and the jack. This material is readily available.com firstname.lastname@example.org © October. The wooden top and bottom bars must be drilled through to take the bolts which attach them to the uprights.. Bungee chords are cheap and easy . One could use springs.
Charles Morgan Bottle Jack Press Page 70 to find. The bottom plate is centered on the bottom bar. the printing plate needs to be well centered on the bed. Be sure the screws for the brackets are shorter than the thickness of the bottom plate so they do not come through the surface. A piece of thin sheet metal and a couple of angle brackets would serve the same purpose. In my design. simply double it. just glue some corner guides to the top of the platen to match the base of the jack. You may find it desirable to use blocks of wood or dowels attached (glued and screwed) to the edge of the platen for the same purpose. and one layer is sufficient. with a hole cut out for the ram. The bed is well supported from the bottom. I find this to be exceedingly tedious. and they work well. The platen needs to have some play in order to be self-levelling. But too much flop is to be avoided. as the pressure of the bungee chords and jack will hold them in place. I put two guide screws in the edge of each side of the platen to prevent too much back and forth sway. I use a ruled sheet of plexiglass. the two layers need not be attached to each other. I used angle brackets to attach the bed to the bottom bar and the end supports. screwed to the underside of the top bar. If you find the jack shifting around in use. I used old 5/8 inch thick melamine counter top material for the bed and the platen. Some designs dispense with the bungee chords and springs altogether. Because I had a piece of scrap. The jack should be centered on the top of the platen. In use. especially during an edition. . parallel to the bottom bar. I used a piece of box sectioned steel tube. The platen on my press is just two layers to improve stiffness. It is undesirable for the ram of the jack to be digging into the wood of the top bar. Cover the paper with whatever felt blankets or backing material you choose to use. And it is desirable to have some means of keeping the ram centered on the top bar. If the bungee chord available to you is too wimpy to raise the jack. Place the plate with the paper on top in the center of the plexiglass sheet. The side to side motion of the platen is restricted by the uprights. but one could use plywood. Supports of 2x4 material are attached to the underside of the bottom plate at each end. relying on retracting the jack by hand. Then just slide the plexiglass in place on the bed.
If you have any questions. Cheers . This action will extend the ram.. or suggestions. One end of the handle should be a close fit over the head of the valve.. experience and the quality of the print will guide you. lowering the platen. Most jacks are designed so you can use the jack handle for this purpose.. problems..Charles Morgan Bottle Jack Press Page 71 To apply pressure.. Then place the jack handle in the appropriate recess and pump up and down. Close the valve when you have enough clearance to slide out the plexiglass sheet with your print and plate. Turn in a counter clockwise direction to release the pressure. be sure the valve on the jack is closed . and the jack and platen should start to rise. please feel free to contact me. Charles . then a stronger jack must be used for large plates.. None of the dimensions nor the material is crucial.. you must open the valve on the jack. Use whatever material is to hand and adjust the dimensions appropriately. The only proviso is that if the bed is much larger.. To release the pressure. continue pumping until the desired pressure is obtained . When contact is made. most turn clockwise to close. And of course I would be delighted to hear from other press makers and to get photos of your creations.
Charles Morgan Bottle Jack Press Page 72 .
Charles Morgan Bottle Jack Press Page 73 .
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