Thursday, August 3, 2017

Drypoint with a pasta maker

I have been experimenting with a printmaking technique called Drypoint.  Instead of working on a traditional metal etching plate, I've scratched a piece of plastic with the tip of a scalpel to create the image. When intaglio ink is spread onto the plate and rubbed away with a piece of tissue paper, the scratches retain the ink.


Since I don't have a printing press, I've used a pasta maker to roll a damp piece of Stonehenge printmaking paper against the plastic. The rollers provide enough pressure to transfer the inked image onto the paper.  Here's the result:

Field Mouse, plate size 3 x 3"
Drypoint, edition of 10
5 available

14 comments:

Boud said...

That's a beautiful artwork however arrived at! I did this years ago. Now I want to try it again.

Leslie Watts said...

Thank you! I certainly want to do more. It's a lot of fun.

nena rawdah said...

So cool! What sort of plastic did you use?

Leslie Watts said...

It was the lid from a clear plastic salad container. It's the same kind of plastic that things at the hardware store are sealed up in. It's somewhat rigid, but flexible enough to bend when it reaches the bottom of the pasta maker so I can pull the print right through. I think a lot of drypoint printers use rigid plexiglass, but that wouldn't work here unless you were making a very tiny print on the pasta maker, since it wouldn't make it past the base of the machine.

nena rawdah said...

Wow! Thanks--totally accessible materials!

Steve Cobbin said...

Great result
Inspiring. Will be giving this a try.

Aliza said...

This is absolutely amazing. I would never have imagined this came from a pasta maker and plastic salad container lid!

Shelley Noble said...

fantastic! I love the innovation of this concept. Brava! Inspiring.

Ordinary Robot said...

This is brilliant! I'm going to try some old overhead projector acetate. Do you have to modify the pasta machine at all?

Pete Nawara said...

Would you mind posting an image of the "plate"? I'm so intrigued! This is exciting!

Jim said...

Amazing. I've never used a pasta maker before. I'm guessing that you have the ability to remove any of the cutting blades in this model. Can you also adjust the pressure at all? Or do you just add more paper/cardboard for increased pressure?

Diolinda Monteiro said...

Beautiful! And so clever. :)
Thanks for sharing!

Hilke said...

This is an amazingly detailed and crisp print. None of the fuzzy edges and such defined lines. I am amazed! Looks like a "real" etching to me. Absolutely stunning! - And now I want to try a paste-machine, too. I have been making rhenalon drypoints just with a copy press. Worked well enough for my much simpler prints, but it seems worthwhile to investigate other simple presses.

Leslie Watts said...

@ Ordinary Robot and Jim: I didn't modify the machine, although I removed the cutting and ravioli attachments. I have it set at the second highest pressure (5 of 6) although I'd adjust it if using thicker paper or any kind of soft backing layer behind the print paper. I think what works best is a tight squeeze, though not so tight that the plate becomes deformed by the pressure. Just experiment!

@ Pete Nawara: I'm presently uploading a video of the process which should give you the information you need about the plate. I've discovered that I can use any plastic that will hold a scratch, including the inside of a mylar dog food bag. But the transparent PET plastic used to package food (such as salads or berries) is my favourite surface.

@ Hilke: I think the lines are fine because I'm actually scratching into the plastic without raising much of a burr. I found that with a softer plastic, such as the white plastic lid of a yogourt container, it's possible to create a burr that more closely resembles traditional drypoint on metal.

Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments. I'm surprised and delighted by the response I've had to this process on Twitter, and I hope that many more people will try it out. If you're patient, and willing to make mistakes, you can make a lot of test runs before you create an image that's worth printing in multiples.

Cheers!