I’m Off to See the Wizard

Brayers, and presses, and ink!  Oh, my!  This week, I journeyed into the topsy-turvy world of print making where I encountered plexiglass, stencils, and a whole new medium–oil based ink.  In print making, the ‘print’ is the mirror image of the inked design.  As I watched my professor’s involved demonstration, I felt myself slipping into a bizarre, technicolor dream world.  The layers, textures, and techniques made my head spin.  Would I have enough courage to use the great and powerful printing press?  Enough brains to master new techniques like the ‘rainbow roll’ and ‘chine colle’?  Enough heart to design a meaningful print? Or would it be safer to just click my heels and go home?  I decided to continue my journey into the fascinating world of print making.  I followed the yellow-ink road, brayer in hand, turned the giant wheel of the press, and pulled back the printing blanket to reveal my very first monotype.

There were definitely unexpected challenges along the way.  The ink was thick and sticky, and didn’t glide like acrylic paint.  The paper needed to be the perfect degree of ‘damp’ or the ink wouldn’t transfer properly.   Too much ink, and I had a mess–not enough, and I didn’t get results.  And even after the 30 minute clean-up–which involved a toxic blend of turpenoid, Simple Green, and baby oil–my skin, nails, and cuticles were stained a sickly shade of green, making me look just like the Wicked Witch of the West.

After a week of print making, I stepped into my ruby slippers, clicked my heels together three times, and before I knew it, I was back in my own studio among familiar friends like natural bristle brushes and tubes of acrylic paint.  I don’t need to wonder if my print making experience was all just a dream.  The proof is in the prints–and under my fingernails.

“Pile Up”–My very first monotype

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