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Proud owner of the printmaking bus pass…

Last night I attended the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. Instead of meeting at our usual location, the Firehouse Center for the Visual Arts, we met at the Burlington City Arts Print Studio, (sorta) just around the corner.

Printmaking press

Lyna Lou Nordstrom & Katie Loesel co-facilitated a printmaking workshop on monotypes using plexiglass plates and collected leaves.

I told you I was on the printmaking bus!

Tonight I was introduced to Akua printmaking inks, which are water-based. The inks were developed by Susan Rostow & William Jung who sought to safely continue their printmaking work while raising a family – it’s a pretty impressive reason for inventing something.

From what I recall from my college printmaking days, the Akua inks didn’t perform much differently from traditional oil-based inks. The pigments in the ink had the vibrancy as well.

We rolled ink out on to thin plexiglass plates and placed leaves on top of them.

Inked printmaking plate

Then we sprayed a light coat of water on a piece of Kitakata, a really lovely Japanese paper made of Gampi (tree) fiber. We laid the paper on top of our plate, added a couple of layers of newsprint on top, and sent it through the press.

If I were to do this more often, I would definitely need to start lifting weights – my arm muscles got sore much too quickly after cranking the press.

After my print came out of the press, I peeled off the paper and checked out my work. I then peeled the leaves off of the plate and flipped them over so the inked side was facing up. I sprayed the paper again and sent the plexi-leaf-paper sandwich through the press again.

My final print is what you see below. I like the pattern the leaves made – they kinda look like deformed frog feet (Note: I do not wish deformity on the frog world).

Leaf print by Elissa Campbell

I didn’t spend a lot of time mixing colors like some of my classmates. For whatever reason, I found myself focused on working with monochromatic compositions – it was satisfying. I did three more prints, finally succumbing to the use of more than one color (Orange and red? So scandalous!). I continued with the recycling of leaves throughout my work on each print.

I like how all four of the final prints look together. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with them – maybe cut them up and do some collage work or perhaps incorporate them into some books.

Leaf prints by Elissa Campbell

I continue to get a better understanding of how I can incorporate printmaking in my bookbinding work. This has been some week!

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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