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Re: [teacherartexchange] block printing question


From: Barbara Marder (marder621_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Sep 08 2011 - 15:48:00 PDT

Thanks so much, Jerry.

What confused me about the whole process is that in India I observed block printing where the block was dipped into the color (ink, dye, paint?) and "stamped" onto the fabric. Apparently one has to apply the brayer to the block and print that way. Actually that did work for me, but was so labor intensive and messy since the block is small and the brayers I have are 6 inches.
But I do get a good print.

I was hoping to dip and stamp, but that is not going to work.

All the rest of your techniques are in place.

Thanks for info about what paper to use.

I appreciate it.


On Sep 8, 2011, at 9:31 AM, Jerry Vilenski wrote:

> In my experience, much of the success of block printing relies on how the
> ink is applied and the quality of the ink. Here is how I would approach the problem:
> First of all, start with a good quality block
> printing ink--a brand name that you can rely on, like Speedball water
> based ink, Blick or Sax water based inks.
> Second, get a good
> quality brayer, one that is wide enough and heavy enough to disperse
> the ink and ensure consistency on the inking plate. Don't cheap out
> here!
> Third, roll the ink on a scrupulously clean sheet of
> plexiglass or glass that is at least 12x18 inches. That will give you
> adequate surface to roll the ink and get it to the proper consistency.
> A dirty glass will produce dirty prints, plain and simple.
> Fourth,
> and this is very important, roll the ink until it is no longer ribbony
> and wet, but starts to become "tacky" feeling and looks like a finely
> textured paper. Once that is achieved, it is ready to print with. With
> experience, you will gain a sense of when ink is ready to print with--it
> is a combination of sight and sound.
> Fifth, roll the brayer
> on the block and press firmly, rolling the ink over the entire block and
> observing how evenly you have covered the surface.
> Sixth,
> register the paper on top of the block, not the other way around, and
> use your fingers to thoroughly rub the back of the printing paper in
> order to evenly transfer the ink. You can use a platen or clean roller
> for this, but I find the pads of your fingers do a better job and gives a
> tactile quality to the process. Do not stretch this step out, because
> the ink will begin to stick to the paper and you won't like the results.
> Pull the print and place it out to dry. Every time you print, you
> must re-ink the block.
> A word about printing paper. I have found
> that paper with a lot of tooth, i.e. construction paper, drawing paper,
> etc. is NOT good paper for block printing. A good printing paper is
> one that is relatively smooth, with a harder surface rather than softer,
> such as fadeless art paper or even computer printing paper works just
> fine and is much cheaper than paper made for block printing. Toothy
> papers give a faded look rather than vivid look because they absorb the
> ink unevenly. I used black ink only, but printed on colorful papers to
> give contrast, graphic impact and variety to the printing process.
> I have used these techniques for over 30 years and have had great success
> with the process. I know there are purists out there that may
> disagree, but experience has taught me to experiment and refine as you
> go when learning different media. The bottom line is that you must do
> many prints yourself before you can teach these techniques to others, so
> have fun and print!
> Jerry
> ---
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