A couple of weeks ago I have the pleasure of spending a few hours in the Printmaking Studio at the University of Washington School of Art. A group of about 20 novice printers showed up for instruction on how to make monotypes from UW art professor Curt Labitzke. After a brief history lesson and some instruction, Curt set us loose with acrylic plates, a pallet of inks and rollers. I think the last time I attempted to make a print was in college and the etching process, while fascinating, was far from spontaneous.
The immediacy of the monoprint process was invigorating and although I am sure many in our little group were not used to expressing their ideas visually with paint or pencil or ink on paper, the studio buzzed with delight at what was revealed when our prints were lifted from the press. Curt, an inspiring teacher, kept us on task and entertained as three hours in the studio flew by.
Monoprinting is just as the name implies, “one print” although a second or even a third pass through the press can produce “ghost prints” that I found more evocative than the first prints.
The printmaking process yields a product that is once removed from the artist’s hand. The press, the paper, the ink, the various oils and powders that can be applied to alter the way the ink adheres (or not) to the paper adds surprising and sometimes unexpected elements to the result. Printmaking is a collaboration of the tools and materials used and the artist, and maybe that is why it reminded me of architecture.
Although my products are those of a rank beginner, I was thrilled a process that felt natural to me. It also reminded me what a great resource we have right her, a stone’s throw from the JA offices. Thanks UW!