Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm looking forward to this reception tomorrow-- thanks to the Allegan Area Arts Council!

Meanwhile I'm printing more Miller Road copies, though I don't think I'll be fulfilling the edition of 15 soon. I want to move on to the Keeler project, and do some experimenting with plastic plate lithography on my etching press. I bought a new, larger roller for this a while ago, and haven't used it yet.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ready for ArtPrize 2011

Miller Road - 49080 is installed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. ( I've added a slideshow below of the images and text of the book. The images are also available at my Artist's Profile on the ArtPrize website,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Friendly Confines of Graphic Chemical Company

We went to Chicago last week and stopped by my favorite ivy-covered place there, Graphic Chemical Supply!I just needed paper, but they have everything a printmaker needs. It is a fascinating environment; every space on the wall is covered with prints, presumably made by customers. Here is the link:

The website also has a blog with printmaking advice and discussion.

Yes, we went to Wrigley Field, too. Go Cubs!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Next Project

The Miller Road plates are done, so I will just be printing and binding those for a while. I'm also thinking about my next project; a series of etchings depicting images of the Keeler Brass Company, the old Godfrey plant. I have a lot of loose sketches I made while working there, of people and places in the factory. I'll be using these images, and some from old company photographs, to make etchings on old brass backplates.

The one shown above is my first experiment, to see if the backplates would etch in ferric chloride. (They're solid brass.) The image is from an old company photo of Hetzer Hartsock, who retired from modelmaking before I started there. He died about a decade ago.

The next one will be of modelmaker Marlin Signor, from a sketch I made of him in the design room. Marlin was retired and died last fall; it's still hard to think about that when I work on the etching.

In any case I intend this to be like a miniature visual history of Keeler, etched into brass plates.

I have this idea of deconstructing an old Keeler catalogue and rebinding the etchings into it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Last plate for Miller Road book

Finished the last plate for Miller Road. This is a quick proof with too much plate tone. I actually saw this scene; the heifer and horse wondering why the cat was taking over their barnyard, sitting there like he owned the place. It amused me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

First Multiple Signature Project

I've finished binding Prufrock. These pictures are not the best; I used a different camera than I'm used to. What made the binding challenging was the thick paper I used for the collage illustrations; hopefully a lighter paper like the Somerset Book Lightweight I'm using for Miller Road will be easier to work with. The title page is digital text, I used Somerset Book Lightweight for it and the endpapers. The distressed looking red and black paper on the covers is a decorative scrapbooking paper I happened to have on hand. The homemade bookcloth worked very well; no air bubbles or problems, but I made a measuring mistake and couldn't cover the whole book with what I had as a result. It was my intent for the whole book to be cloth-covered, but I had to use the cloth and paper combo instead. The whole project was really an exercise in multiple signature binding and I'm satisfied with the result.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Progress on Book Projects

Here's a "before " picture of J. Alfred Prufrock; just a bunch of loose signatures. Now they're all sewn together and waiting to be bound, once I decide on endpapers. I'm just going to go through all the paper I have and choose what I think is most appropriate; I'm trying to keep this a low cost project.

The last page of text for Miller Road is printed also. I need to print all the pages of etchings now. I started last Saturday to do this when I had a large block of time, and opened a new can of ink, Graphic Chemical Bone Black. What is with this stuff? It seems to have no viscosity whatsoever. It's almost like a can of black Crisco, for lack of a better comparison. I bought a whiole pound of it, too-- I wish I hadn't. From now on, if I'm trying a new ink, I'll buy the smallest amount available.

In any case, my ink troubles set me way back on what I wanted to accomplish Saturday, but maybe it was a good reminder not to try and rush a project.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Letterpress Activity

I returned to the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center today to print the second page (text) of Miller Road. What I learned: use the same composing stick throughout a project! I had to spend the better part of an hour filling in tiny gaps with brass and copper pieces in the last third of the page of text; those lines were slightly shorter than the rest.
But once I started printing I was pleased I could do it all on my own. It took some trial and error before I could print the second page of text directly behind the first, but it worked out.

I've been reading some stuff online about printing type on an etching press. Maybe I'll have the equipment to do this some day.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Making bookcloth

In the past I have used the method of making bookcloth described in the extremely helpful Handmade Books by Kathy Blake. I've had fairly good luck with it, but it is messy and time-consuming, and I've had problems with air bubbles. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I could just use fusible web (usually thought of as a sewing notion) to bond the paper and cloth.I decided to experiment by making a piece of bookcloth with which to rebind the artist's book of The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock I attempted to bind in college. (I did okay, but have learned the right way to do it since.) For the cloth I chose a piece of 100% cotton in a red shade that matches the original piece of fabric I used. (I ran it through a wash cycle and dried it before making the bookcloth.) The paper is a sheet of kozo, a Japanese paper recommended by Kathy Blake. The fusible web I've had for years-- it's available in any fabric store.

The process is simple: sandwich the fusible web between the cloth and paper and iron the whole thing. I used a hot (cotton) setting and steam. I put the smoother side of the kozo on the inside, toward the web. And, important!-- the grain of the paper and the fabric must run in the same direction. The grain of the fabric is parallel to the selvedge, or finished edge of the cloth. The grain of the paper is the direction in which it is easiest to fold the sheet, without resistance.

I am very pleased with how this turned out; it's all very firmly fused with no bubbles. When it's time to cut it, I'll find out if any spots did not adhere, but it doesn't look like that will be a problem.

A 17" x 19" sheet of bookcloth from Daniel Smith costs $7.00; I estimate this costs half that and it's slightly bigger. The biggest advantage of homemade bookcloth, however, is in the variety of colors and patterns to choose from. I think any natural fiber woven cloth will work, probably some blends as well. So you can walk into any fabric store and think: "Bookcloth!"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Joy of Aquatint

...did not happen today. I have an amazing ventilation system. It's called Going Outside. With today's drizzling freezing rain the opportunity to use it just didn't happen. My aquatint method is what Kate Demke taught me: a fine mist of spray paint over the plate. I know there's another method using a rosin bag and a heat source and singing Kumbayah or something, but I've never done it and I don't have the equipment anyway.
Tomorrow I'll be in Grand Rapids so hopefully the weather will cooperate Thursday. It only takes a few minutes to spray some paint, then on to the next step.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Miller Road text

I spent the morning at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center printing the first page of the text for Miller Road. Many thanks to Katie Platte for helping me lock up the text and running me through the steps of using the Vandercook press. I think now I can do this by myself; I keep reviewing all the details in my mind.

This weekend I made some corrections on the etching Ponies; now I need to finish it up with some aquatint. It is the 13th etching for the book-- when it is done there is one more.

I've been thinking about homemade bookcloth. In the past I've used starch paste to glue kozo paper and fabric together. It's sloppy and I get air bubbles in the finished bookcloth. I wonder if one could use fusible web to "laminate" cloth and paper. This is my next experiment.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Goal, 2011

It's been taking me longer to finish Miller Road-49080 than I want to admit. Other projects keep coming in the way and displacing it . No more. Just two more etchings to finish, print the text at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center(the type is all set), print the signatures of etchings, and bind. Sounds simple, huh? And because I've never bound a multiple signature book before, I want to practice by rebinding the version of The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock I did years ago in college. At the time I had no idea what I was doing. Now it will make a nice "guinea pig" to practice on.