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[Forest in Summer - 11] : Back at the printing bench ...

Posted by Dave Bull at 10:47 AM, July 22, 2009

Continued from [Forest in Summer - 10] | Starting point of the thread is [Forest in Summer - 1]

For those of you who haven't given up ... after all the interruptions ... here we are back at the printing bench.

But we're still not working on the Forest in Summer print just yet ... I have to get the book chapters ready for part-timer Ichikawa-san, so that she can start sewing. I printed out the body text pages at odd times during the past week or so, and got them all folded and collated a couple of days ago. But she also needs the cover sheets, and those take a fair amount of work too.

(For those of you not familiar with how I'm organizing this series, each print gets bound into a book, as illustrated here. Ichikawa-san and I do the entire process by hand, with me preparing all the components, and her sewing/pasting it all together. There is a page here, showing how the books come together.)

Anyway, one of my jobs is printing the decorative silver pattern on the book covers. Here's a quick snapshot of the printing set-up I use for this (clickable for enlargement):

The photo was taken standing on a stool looking down at the workbench. The blue cushion in the center is of course where I sit. The block - a pattern of pine needles - is positioned on a small printing stand that slopes slightly away from me, and which pulls forward over my lap after I sit in place with my legs down in the space below (full of chips of wood).

The printing paper is stacked face down on the wooden table in front of me (with my glasses and face mask on top). Here's the drill:

  • I use the roller (by my left hand) to roll out a bit of ink on the ink board (a piece of acrylic plastic), and then onto the block (I'm using a standard white litho ink).
  • I pull the top sheet of (dry) paper from the pile, put it into the registration marks, and then hold it carefully with one hand, while beginning to rub with the baren. (The baren is upside-down in this photo. It never gets left sitting right-side-up when not in use!).
  • The paper is then pulled off the block, and laid face up on the dusting screen. (This is just a window screen sitting on top of a shallow cardboard tray.)
  • You can see a small plastic bag of powder sitting near the low table. This is finely ground 'mother-of-pearl'. I use a small bamboo scoop to drop a tiny amount of powder onto the patterned area.
  • I then use the very fine brush (goat, I think) to brush the powder over the printed pattern, and brush excess off the paper down into the tray, where it will be re-captured later.
  • I work close to the fan, which is of course pulling excess powder out the window, and also wear a nice tight mask.
  • Final step is to use a piece of tissue (slightly visible behind the screen tray) to gently wipe/dust off any excess powder from the surface of the paper.
  • The sheet then goes onto the stack visible at lower right.

The thread continues in [Forest in Summer - 12] ...


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