As I mentioned in a recent previous post, I've been happy with the Shikoku White paper I've been using for the Loaded series except for the fact that it's had a tendency to wrinkle and/or become wavy as I work with it. Check out that previous post for some excellent advice from people in the comments section.
Here's a closeup photo I took of the prints hanging in my studio after being just air dried:
There are four different prints here, each in an edition of 7 or 8, and you can see that each print seems to have a characteristic wave or curl through the edition.
I tried to flatten the prints here in my studio, placing them between boards with weight on top, I got enhanced rippling plus some puckering. (A commenter to the previous post tells me that this is called "cockling" in Britain.) I felt really frustrated, so I decided to seek professional help -- I called Liz Chalfin, owner/director of Zea Mays Printmaking Studio where I teach. Liz recommended that I try their forced-air print dryer.
forced-air print dryer, first developed at Crown Point Press, uses corrugated cardboard stacked alternately with dense smooth cardboard (Upson Board) that can be interleaved with damp prints. The whole stack is then put under pressure and air is forced through the corrugations to dry the prints. I neglected to take a photo of the Zea Mays dryer, but it looks a lot like this photo of the forced air dryer setup at Crown Point. The dryer at Zea Mays can hold 15 prints at a time. Frankly, I was skeptical, but after running a test with a few prints that didn't make it into an edition I was sold.
So yesterday I brought 14 dampened prints to Zea Mays, and this morning Joyce Silverstone and I unloaded the dryer to see what had happened (it takes two people to load and unload -- see the Crown Point article). I had 12 prints without cockling! I call that a success. Here's a photo for comparison:
The group of prints on the right are the prints that were flattened in the forced-air dryer. An added surprise was how the flattening of the paper enhanced the details of the printing, too. I'm a convert to the forced-air print dryer. Thanks Zea Mays!