Still on the Printmaking Bus

As I discussed over the weekend, I rather impulsively (and smartly) decided to purchase a Gocco printer. At the time I didn’t quite realize that this was just the start of a longer journey back to printmaking.

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, I was a Fine Arts major – one of 5 in a class of 2,000 (yes, you read that right). Although my concentration was painting, my love was always with printmaking. I really took to etching – something about the whole burning acid thing. Ever since I left Philadelphia, I haven’t thought seriously about picking it up again. Then I got hooked on the whole Gocco concept.

This brings me to this past Saturday when I attended a workshop hosted by the Art Therapy Association of Vermont (I’m both a member of ATAV and a non-practicing art therapist). The workshop was entitled Printmaking as Therapy: Frameworks for Freedom and was presented by Lucy Mueller Young, MA, ATR-BC. If you’re interested in learning more about the use of printmaking as therapy, Lucy has written a book on the subject with the same title as her workshop (read more on Amazon).

I really enjoyed the workshop. We spent almost the entire day playing around with different techniques, some of which I hadn’t used before.

The first thing we did was make collagraphs. We took contact paper, cut shapes out of it, and then stuck them onto mat board.

Collagraphs by Elissa Campbell

When we finished our collages, we rolled ink over it, laid paper on top of it, and rubbed – instant print! In the image at right you can see my “plate” at the top.

Next we moved on to monoprints. I really got into the process – you roll ink out on plexiglass and draw right into the ink with various tools. You lay the paper on top of the inked plexi and rub to make the print.

Our room at the Comfort Inn was covered with our work. I’m not sure they would have rented the room to us if had they known what we were doing in there.

After our work dried, we dove into bookmaking. Lucy taught us about maze books – I had never heard the term used before.

Handmade Book made from monotype by Elissa Campbell

You fold your paper into eighths and then cut on selected folds in a T shape. I’m hoping you can see where the cuts are in my photos.

Handmade Book made from monotype by Elissa Campbell

We then folded the paper so that it formed the pages of a book. No sewing was needed. We had the option of leaving our covers as is or we could add mat board to them for strength. I chose the mat board option.

At lunchtime, I had a discussion with Lucy about the value of graffiti – it had a direct impact on my book because I added some line work to my print with color pencils and it had the appearance of graffiti. To finish it off, I added some text in black ink and fuzzy fibers to the top. It was so nice to spend the day making work without the goal of selling it.

Art for art’s sake. I don’t do that often enough.

Handmade Book made from monotype by Elissa Campbell

3 Responses to “Still on the Printmaking Bus”

By Christine - 3 June 2008 Reply

Your comment about the Comfort Inn was funny… I think you may be right.. especially because the ink had a smell, no?
I took a few years ago a “estampe” class at the University of Montreal and I really like this printmaking technique. I cannot seem to find the translation but it’s one step down from lithography they say. we were engraving a special rubber or plexiglass and then using a little rolling press… really cool!

By elissa - 3 June 2008 Reply

Christine –

The main reason I thought that the hotel would object to our work was that we were running around with wet ink. Somehow we managed to keep everything clean.

It’s funny you mention the smell though – for about an hour I kept asking myself, “What’s that smell?” It took me too long to realize that the ink had stink.


[…] My first workshop was held this past Saturday for the Art Therapy Association of Vermont (ATAV). As I’ve mentioned before, I have a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy. I believe strongly in the value of book arts as a […]

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