This post is loooong overdue, perhaps as it is about the last two prints I made during my Stone Lithography Fellowship at Leicester Print Workshop which ended in June this year *sniffles. This is quite a long post, so bare with me.
As the end was growing ever closer I realised how much more I wanted to do and experiment with and coming to terms with the limited time was frustrating but also lit a fire under my ass to try something new. I had seen in a small book on Lithography, it’s name I can’t remember, a screen print incorporated into a drawn image on a stone. I knew right away this was something I had to try as I am also a big fan of screen printing. Sure you could argue that adding a screen print layer onto an already printed litho print would be the easiest way, but what’s the fun in that?
I picked a few images I wanted to try out and made a screen for them. I didn’t know which greasy matter would be best suited for actually screen printing onto the stone as the screen print ink is typically waterbased and thus wouldn’t work. So after conferring with Serena I set out to try some experiments. In my mind all purpose grease or dish washing soap could work as they are runny enough. Asphaltum should also be a safe bet but might result in too many hours spent in the graining room. So I did a test stone with a medley of a few things.
Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced my notebook so I can’t remember exactly what all the stripes were but I think it went as follows:
- Vaseline + All purpose grease
- All purpose grease
- Dish washing soap
- Dish washing soap + AP grease or Vaseline
I did a quick roll up, Atzol etch and a proof.
Although 6 seemed to come out strongest I decided to go for just AP grease (3) and Asphaltum (4), I didn’t want to end up with a left over mix of something I would most likely never be able to use again.
First the All purpose grease:
I strapped the frame onto the stone with small bits of cardboard in between so the screen wasn’t touching the stone and could spring back after I pulled the grease through it. The moment I lifted the screen was perfect, it had transferred immaculately! I did a second image on the same stone, also perfect.
However! To my horror, after a minute or so the greasy image started to bleed… not good. So I doused it with french chalk to try and soak up some of the excess grease. It still didn’t look good, it started looking very smudgy and all the definition of the image seemed to be disappearing. I was going to leave it overnight but instead decided to roll it up straight away and see. I dampened the stone very carefully trying not to smudge the grease anymore and rolled with the nap roller. And to my surprise the bleeding didn’t get rolled up at all! I gave it only a couple of gentle roll overs that gave it a very light gray colour. Then flushed it with acetic acid and added crayon drawing to my stone.
I could still see the grease that had bled around my image so wasn’t totally certain as to how it would print but it actually seemed to have no effect whatsoever. The image was detailed and crisp and had a lovely photographic quality to it.
Now for the second stone, done with Asphaltum:
Like before I screen printed onto the stone, this time using only Asphaltum, and then continued adding a crayon and Tusche drawing. No bleed this time!
I left this and continued by etching it the regular way, using Atzol. I did not roll up the stone before adding the drawing as the Asphaltum was so dark and thick I just thought it would stay on there as everything else on the stone. But as I went to give it the first wash out and roll up the Asphaltum only left a ghost on the stone and never came up no matter how long I rolled.
It remained as a ghost throughout the whole processing and printing of the stone as it hadn’t gotten any re-enforcement before the first wash out. At least I did learn something there and even got a nice print out of it in the end although not what I had originally intended.