Day Four: Monday:
Today more printing of the name blocks. Having printed one side of the separate sheets we are onto the reverse. It is Monday and over the weekend I had managed to forget the position of the deckle. Rather crucial for the finished book.
Only 10 wrongly printed sheets, so could have been worse! Its just a matter of learning by mistakes but hey that’s printmaking.
Printing this way needs intense concentration as every sheet is hand fed. Every sheet has to be kept pristine and taken off the cylinder at the end of the impression very carefully to avoid getting ink on the deckles. Mostly I succeed. Positioning the paper exactly in the gripper…the right way up is the first potential pitfall:
This one is just fine! If wrongly positioned it will cause incorrect registration on the sheet, which then has a knock on effect on the subsequent printings.. not good.
Then comes the impression:
Here the “Oak” print, still on the cylinder, block perfectly positioned on the print bed by Patrick and then perfectly printed by me (the easy bit). The press inks up the block as it goes which is the joy of it. There are 4 ink rollers.. and therefore 4 opportunities for ink to transfer to somewhere it shouldn’t be or for me to catch the edge of the paper in a moment of lost concentration. Hmmm.
Day 5 Tuesday
A bit of a slow day due to a problem with some ink transferring to the paper from somewhere in the press. Fixed eventually by some dismantling and deep cleaning. But today we finished all the tree name plates. Hurrahhh
Press being cleaned… slow job.
I am printing 25 copies of the book in the hopes of achieving 20 good ones. Each sheet will have to go through the press at least 4 times. Keeping the sheets pristine is a challenge.At least 5 extra copies of each sheet are also printed as set up guides for the registration of the next element.
These are my two working paper stacks. It is the whole of the edition plus the extra make ready sheets for positioning.
Day 5 Wednesday
Today we finished printing most of the small image blocks.
All the name blocks are done plus the small birds.
Then the last small block, for the title page caused a headache due to the inconsistencies of the wood plate. The grain falls away slightly on one side which is a real pain. On the wood itself it is barely noticeable and I would not have known when cutting the ply. I might next time though!
Patrick has enormous patience in continuing to try various ways of adding packing, and re positioning the block to try to improve things. It will be fine, some things are hard won though.
Small strips of paper are put under the large block of low base to try to raise the low point just a millimetre. Trial and error is the only way. Tomorrow we will print it.
My checklist of print runs completed.. almost half way.