Experience traditional, hand-crafted photogravure printmaking using a modern, non-toxic process
Photogravure is a printmaking process that originated in the late 1800s where a photographic image was etched into a copper plate using chemicals. The varying depth of the grooves on the etched plate would correspond to the dark and light tones of the photographic image. The plate would be inked by hand, polished with a cloth and printed onto fine art paper using a traditional etching press. This process would allow multiple prints to be produced from a single, master plate.
The modern version of the process, often called polymer or solar-plate photogravure, is a non-toxic alternative to the chemically-hazardous copper-plate work. It combines the craft of the traditional process with the accuracy and convenience of modern technology.
The method of photogravure plate-making that I practice and teach is a relatively new approach called direct-to-plate (DTP). It simplifies a very complicated process without sacrificing quality, allowing you to focus more on creative matters than on technical ones. DTP eliminates the need of a vacuum frame, transparency films, stochiastic (aquatint) screens, double exposures, talcum powders, antistatic brushes, and problems associated with contact or trapped humidity. I use a simple calibration method that ensures accurate reproduction of tonal values, from deep blacks to bright highlights in correctly measured steps.
In the courses that I offer, you will learn how to produce a master plate, and from this produce beautiful photographically etched gravure prints on heavy-weight art paper. Each print will be a unique, hand-crafted object with a depth and beauty unlike anything you have ever made before - unless you are already familiar with the process, in which case you will be able to rejoice in being able to make such special prints again!
The print studio facilities are fully equipped for various printmaking processes including polymer photogravure and linocut, digital image processing and printing, The equipment includes an inkjet print station (MacBookPro, Eizo monitor, Epson A2 printer), a UV exposure unit, indoor/outdoor light meters for artificial light/sunlight exposures, inking/wiping areas and a fabulous Harry Rochat cast iron etching press. For photography classes there is a small studio suitable for portrait and still-life, with pro-lighting, stands and various backdrops and props.
The materials that we will use for photogravure printmaking will include Toyobo plates, Charbonnel oil-based inks and a range of papers from Canson, Hahnemühle, BFK Rives and Garza Papel. Inking tools, gloves, wiping cloths, studio aprons, cleaning supplies, paper towels, etc, will be provided. Participants may also bring their own materials to work with. You will be provided with sufficient materials for the course. Additional materials can be purchased.
There is a small library with an interesting collection of photographic and art books for inspiration and ideas.
The workshops are held at Casa da Cabaza, a farmhouse B&B and creative retreat centre located on the shores of a countryside lake in rural Galicia, northwestern Spain. Charmingly renovated from an old stone farmhouse, it has several private, en-suite, guest rooms, a large dining/lounge/recreational room and lovely gardens. It also houses the photography and print studio facilities. It is a peaceful, creative place, ideal for learning and developing new ideas and work.
Casa da Cabaza provides the accommodation, meals and drinks for the duration of the courses. The food is delicious and healthy, mostly vegetarian, organic and locally sourced. Dietary requests can usually be accommodated if notified in advance.
For more info see Casa da Cabaza
Linoleum was originally used as commercial flooring from the 1860's. The German die brücke movement realised the artistic potential of this material and were the first to make linocut prints. The process is identical to woodcut, however, linoleum is easier to carve as it has none of the natural variations found in wood grain. It is an excellent printmaking technique for those who are new to the studio as it requires no chemistry. In little time, you will be confidently using your tools to carve out pieces of linoleum. The areas of the plate that remain uncarved (in relief) receive ink from a roller. The print is a representation of the relationship between the carved and the uncarved shapes on your plate. We will print your plate using a traditional etching press, high quality ink and 100% cotton rag art paper.