Re: wiping KM73 polymer plates
I should have been more descriptive in what I mean by looking like a BW
print: the solarplate will look tonally so much like a BW print that
someone might think, why bother printmaking when you can print it in BW just
as well? That's what I mean. This is the critique I got about my
solarplate prints--almost a "so what"? But that is what intrigued me about
the process, that and I personally feel that the printmaking process adds a
texture and relief that isn't present in a BW print. But you are right that
they are different.
So you explained something, below. I used to only use cheesecloth because
the plates seemed to scratch. This year I went ahead with the double
exposure aquatint screen. I have been using tarlatan and didn't know why it
wasn't scratching anymore. So it's the aquatint exposure?? I have also begun
post exposing 10mn UVBL at least and it seems very hard to me. Boegh says a
plate will do 1000 pulls, whereas someone else (Dan Welden probably) says
The one thing that does bug me a bit is the appearance of slight aquatint
screen in the highlights sometimes. I expose the screen 1mn15sec and the
image 8mn45sec which is way different than say 1/3/2/3 or 1/2 times other
books recommend. I was just searching for when open bite no longer occurred
on my aquatint test plate and that was the time.
I also find it interesting you say, below, that there is a dif between this
and true gravure. I would love to see an image printed both ways side by
side. In this collaborative portfolio I am in, one of the others is using
Z'Acryl sheets on copper and then etching it with ferric so it'll be fun to
compare our work. But I find that, for instance (not having done gravure)
that the look of a mezzotint--a kind of soft velvet--is so distinct that I
can imagine the interaction of the metal microscopic bits must print
differently than plastic in any printmaking process.
One thin> I agree that a good curve will make all the difference, and can be
successfully against Solarplates(TM) as well as the Toyobo brand. I will
say there's a smoothness to the Toyobo that doesn't contain the pits or
manufacturing "features" sometimes evident in Solarplates (and JetUSA
plates as well). I've tried different thicknesses of polymer, but those
are the only 3 brands I believe I've tried. Anyone have of any others
I will say that, with few exceptions, I have yet to see a polymer plate
print that matches good B&W silver prints or true copper gravure. There's
still something missing. Something in the way the plate tone gets held on
the plastic I guess. It's never quite as smooth and convincing as these
other processes. Not to say I've not seen great and inspiring prints --
but it's got a distinctly different look to my eye. One day the
technology will catch up, if there's enough interest in it, but I don't
think we're there yet.
As far as wiping, I use phone pages followed by tissue paper only now. In
spite of experimenting with fairly long post-exposures, the KM73 plates
(with the finer screen I use) scratches like the dickens under tarlatan.
In this way the Solarplates in conjunction with the standard aquatint
screen are probably more durable. But I think the finer screen is
probably a significant variable. Finer dots mean less plastic to hold up
the image structure - thus greater fragility. That's what I've deduced at
any rate. Cleaning the plate properly is also critical - paint brush and
mineral spirits dissolve the plate's matrix, the way I burn them, so I've
found other approaches cited in other posts here.
Christina Z. Anderson wrote:
I find solarplate prints pretty close to a BW print...detail is not the
issue with solarplate once you curve it correctly. The biggest problem
is those dam mottles. But if in fact you all are right that Printight is
more detailed, I may just have to buy some.
One thing I notice, having printed (limited) other types of processes,
solarplate requires quite a bit of wiping. I have been using etching ink
which works fine for me, but what I find about solarplate at least is
that you have to use the tarlatan very well and then finish off with
telephone book pages, wiping the plate to the point that you think you
are wiping all the detail out. In other words, the plate should look
like all ink is off the highlights of the image when, in fact, they still
print! I don't know why this is the case that the ink is not visible on
the surface but still prints. I may use a total of 4 telephone book pages
wiping the plate clean, with a flat hand.
I read that the plate hardens from bottom up--that a flash exposure of
3-5 secs will harden the goo at the steel plate level and then you expose
your neg. I find this fascinating after all the discussion on this list
about top down hardening of gum. I have no idea what the hardening agent
is in solarplate (any guesses? Diazo?).
Mind you, I have been working on solarplate all week to perfect my curve
after a major glitch related to positive/negative issues, so I am
solarplated OUT at the moment...
----- Original Message ----- From: "taylordow" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 4:26 PM
Subject: Re: wiping KM73 polymer plates
I use Daniel Smith's Miracle Gel Reducer http://www.danielsmith.com/
catalog/products/?T1=284+900+001&UID=2007020715152611 which sounds
similar to Graphic's Chemical Gel. Using this and wiping initially with
tarlatans and then finishing by hand, you can get some incredible
Someone mentioned in an earlier post that they found the Solarplates
didn't resolve the fine detail as well as the Printight plates. This
was exactly the reason I changed. Not that there's anything wrong with
the Solarplates, just they weren't suitable for my work.
On Feb 7, 2007, at 5:09 PM, Nancy Diessner wrote:
The ink I use for these plates has been a mixture of equal parts
Graphic Chemical Bone Black, Stiff Black, and Transparent Base. I've
now started adding a bit of Graphic Chemical Gel (nontoxic) that makes
the ink more gooey and brings out more subtle tonal variations in the
plate. For some images I've made it so gooey I've had to almost pour it
on the plate (for plates I've heavily altered by hand). It's made a big
difference for me.