Intro to Polymer Photogravure Printing

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This class is an introduction to the polymer photogravure process. Using a modern polymer-coated plate students will create an intaglio-etched surface that will be inked with an oily printer’s ink and then wiped, leaving ink in the varying depths of the recesses of the plate which will then produce the photographic gradation of tones that makes the photogravure one of the most beautiful and permanent of the continuous tone photographic printing processes.

The beauty of the polymer method is that the etching of the plate is done with tap water instead of the more chemically dangerous mordant used in the traditional copperplate photogravure process. The use of a digitally printed positive on clear film also allows the student to concentrate more on the technique of inking and wiping plates rather than spending time making a perfect positive in the darkroom. With a two day workshop, we will have enough time for each student to make at least four plates and several prints from each plate.

This workshop is appropriate for anyone interested in learning an alternative printing technique and who doesn’t mind getting ink on their hands. Because we will be using familiar materials such as art paper and ink, it presents a fantastic opportunity to expand the range of visual content that can be included in books and other similar projects. The prospective student should have a basic familiarity with Photoshop.