PRINTING THE PLATES

After the plates are etched they are ready to be printed. Etchings are printed intaglio, that is, with the ink in the etched areas rather than on the surface. 100% cotton rag paper is soaked in water overnight before printing . This is necessary because the paper must be soft enough to be pushed into the etched areas that are holding the ink. The inks are mixed on a glass slab. Colors are blended as needed, and oil is added to get the ink to the desired printing consistency. Ink is spread over the entire plate and then starched cheese cloth is used to wipe much of the ink from the surface of the plate. The final wiping is done with a bare hand. This removes almost all of the ink from the smooth surface of the plate, leaving ink in the etched areas only. For multiple plate prints all of the plates are inked and wiped before the print is pulled.

Photo by Susan Sanford © 2000
The plate is inked and wiped
Photo by Susan Sanford © 2000
The plate is printed on the etching press

The inked plate is put onto the press bed, the damp paper is placed over the plate, and finally the felt press blankets are placed on top. The plate is hand cranked under the massive steel roller of the press, and the blankets are lifted. For a one plate print, the finished print is pulled off of the plate, and the plate is taken back to the inking area to be re-inked and printed again. For a multiple plate print, the first plate is removed and the next plate is put in exactly same spot and run back through the press. This is repeated until all of the plates have been run through the press.

After I do the preliminary proofing I often have the editions printed by master printers. Currently, Hirsh/Greene Press is printing many of my editions.
pg 2 DRAWING THE IMAGE
pg 1 PREPARING THE PLATE
pg 3 MULTIPLE PLATE PRINTS
pg 4 PRINTING THE PLATE