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printperson
Printing wisteria 
1st-May-2010 09:10 pm
Printperson divina
Yesterday, I committed wisteriacide. After days of not being willing to cut down even a single cluster, I woke thinking that I had to roll a few of them through the press in order to take impressions and record their actual size and form. (The printing of plants dates back at least to the 18th century). I cut down 12 racemes, wrapped them in damp newspaper, and raced to the studio. First, I used a few of the wisteria as a mask on a large plexi plate rolled with black etching ink. That went through the etching press with dampened Lana paper on top of the flowers. I made three prints that way, without reinking, so the black gets progressively lighter as I removed and added flowers. Here is the plate on the press, and two of the three prints.


Three wisteria racemes on an inked printed plate.


Two prints using wisteria as a mask.

Next, I cleaned the plate thoroughly and placed damp printing paper both below and above the wisteria. Then I just started printing with more or less pressure, embossing the paper and picking up color. Surprisingly, even though the wisteria petals look purple/violet with a touch of white and yellow, the color that came out was blue. I did five of these. Most of them are pale, but the embossment is clear.


This very pale image is blind-stamped (or embossed) wisteria. You may have to click on the image to load it and see the detail.


Bottom paper picking up color from crushed wisteria.

This is not the way I usually make prints. I prefer to draw and engrave. But from time to time I do play around with other possibilities that printmaking offers. This was done in the spirit of documentation, and I suppose that these prints are closest to the Japanese tradition of printing fish.

Finally, views of the pergola covered with wisteria


by daylight


and moonlight.
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