We're excited to share with you the print we made for the Ladies of Letterpress print exchange. The inspiration for the message came out of a virtual conference held last fall.
"At the Ladies of Letterpress 2020 conference, Jenny Wilkson of Partners in Print (formerly the SVC Letterpress Program) reminded and inspired us that hope can be more than a feeling, it can be a call to action. By the same token, taking action—working with meaningful purpose—inspires hope. As artists and printers, let’s use the power of print to create and disperse messages of hope amongst each other and throughout our communities. Messages that will inspire action, new ways of thinking, and new ways of being."
When we started to think about what our submission would be, the decision was made to use a polymer plate on our Vandercook SP-15 because we've been having great success with it. The idea of doing a reduction print was very appealing both to explore the technique, and as a cost saving measure. Is it possible to do a reduction print with polymer? After a few tests with older plates we determined we could not make deliberate cuts into the polymer and it did not seem like it was something that would produce results we were happy with. But then, we decided to do an untested technique we'll call 'destructive printing'!
The first colour, blue, was printed using the plate as we normally do, with some extra packing to ensure we get an impression in the paper. For the green colour run, we used a painters tool and a rusty hacksaw plate to chop, hack, and scratch the polymer. It felt so counterproductive to how we normally treat polymers! Bits and pieces were flying off, and a mess was made, but would it be enough? Would it have any impact on the next print run? It did!
We were so pleased to see how the scratches and indentations on the polymer translated to the print. Not only did the destructive marks translate visually, they resulted in an impressive tactile feel on the final print.
Thanks to Ladies of Letterpress, Partners in Print and the Printing Museum for arranging the print exchange, and to Jenny Wilkson for the inspiration for the print. We look forward to seeing what others have created. Remember, hope is action!