2008 Nature Printing Society Workshop

A most delightful excursion into the magical world of Nature Printing funded by a Jackpot Grant from the
Nevada Arts Council
nevada arts council

The Nature Printing Society's 2008 Workshop intrigued me as a relief printmaker. The invitations to the workshop contained mysterious words and concepts like "foilography" and "octopus printing". I'm not usually a workshop type of person, but this one in Santa Barbara, California (one of my favorite vacation places) was one I couldn't resist.

Click any image to show an enlargement

We continue with two sets of fish prints. First you have to dry with salt, wash and generally dry and de-muck the fish. My first fish, a rock fish, behaved very well. My second set of fish were a little "oozy" but I was able to bring them to a proper dry state. Trouble wet spots have to be dried or the ink just goops and looks messy. Paper towels are placed inside any orifices that might cause trouble.

Lastly, the fins are propped up with soft clay to bring the entire fish to the same level and allow the paper to reach the inked spots.

Printing a fish is more like hugging a fish than actually putting pressure on the poor thing. First you paint it with a brush, remove most of the ink to leave a nice thin but thorough layer, then you place paper on the fish and pretty much "feel" your way around until you think you've transfered most of the ink. The eyes are painted with a brush after the prints are done. First few proofs are on newsprint, then soft thin papers like what is sold as "rice paper" and any good Japanese paper. Sized tends to work best as it gives a crisper print. The inks were waterbased relief inks from Daniel Smith.

For two fish together, it was best to print one at a time, as one fish shape interfered with proper paper placement on the other. I played around with colors to give them a more realistic appearance. The goal is to get the fish to look as natural as possible, both in appearance and in environment. I'm no expert but I enjoyed the workshop and came up with some fairly clean prints.

The seals you see on some of the prints are the Nature Printing Society's 2008 Workshop seals (chops). More pictures from other workshops in the Nature Printing Society's 2008 Workshop!



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