This Spring I will be spending 5 weeks in Japan learning the traditional art of Japanese Woodblock Printing! I will be undertaking a five week residency in learning ‘Mokuhanga’ – the art of Japanese water-based woodblock Printing – at the Mokuhanga Innovation Laboratory (Mi-LAB), Lake Kawaguchi, Japan. The residency runs from 22nd April – 26th May 2018, and is designed to provide extensive knowledge of Mokuhanga and its techniques to international artists, printmakers and teachers of printmaking, as well as to enable them to make use of traditional tools and materials. I can’t wait!
I’ve set up a crowdfunder campaign (www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kathryn-desforges), and any money I raise will go towards the remainder of the residency fee and associated costs, including travel, accommodation, materials, and general subsistence costs.
There’s a range of rewards available if you pledge, including sets of cards, original art prints, demonstrations and 1-1 tuition. I’d be mega grateful for your support!
A couple of weekends ago I ran the first ever Photo Plate Lithography workshop at West Yorkshire Print Workshop. It was great! It was so lovely to be able to introduce a new technique to the workshop.
It took a good few days of preparation to get everything ready and set up – as always with printmaking the only way to really know whether something will work is just to practice. So I spent some time making some test plates on our exposure unit, eventually coming to the conclusion that a standard exposure time of around 5-6 minutes is sufficient for most images. The plates I ended up ordering for the workshop and to sell in the shop were called ‘Europlate’, and a very nice chap at the company advised me on what would be best for our purposes. I also bought in some developer, which we mix down half and half with water for standard plate developing.
In the workshop we already use the Hawthorn Printmakers stay-open inks for intaglio and relief printing. It says on their website that they are also suitable for lithography, so I thought I would try using this even though I’ve never used them for lithography before. They actually worked well, although they do contain very high amounts of pigment, so it is necessary to extend them quite a bit with their ‘transparent ink’, especially for very detailed images. We printed the plates on our Hunter-Penrose etching press – bumping the pressure up a bit by putting a larger litho plate on the press bed, (as the plates are quite thin), which worked a treat.
We had a full course, and I was really happy to see a lot of familiar faces – members who wanted to learn the technique or had done it years ago and wanted a refresher, and also a some non-members who were completely new to it.
The day was fantastic – so enjoyable to be passing on the skills I’ve been learning at Leicester Print Workshop over the past year! And everyone was so excited by the ideas and possibilities that the technique generated. We’ve already had one member come in and start making plates since the course, and we’ve already got bookings for the next course at WYPW in March next year, here: http://www.wypw.org/shop/photo-plate-lithography-march/
Here are a few photos from the day…