09 December 2005

Printing Setup

Everyone does it differently, but this is the simple setup I use when I'm ready to print. The camellia oil actually gets put away once I start, but it's used to oil the baren. The baren (rubbing device) pictured here is a ball-bearing baren rather than a traditional baren. I decided to try the ball-bearing baren when I began to experience a lot of pain in my wrist and arm. This baren is helping a lot, as it doesn't require as much pressure to get a good impression.


Mike Lyon said...

What a 'neat' printer you are, Annie! I set up 'almost' the same way... As a 'lefty', I place my baren to the left of the block near me, my water just behind that, brush in between, and pigment and paste on the right.

One suggestion which might help you print more efficiently -- try locating your damp stack behind the block, with papers to-be-printed lying face down and oriented so they're ready to be registered -- kento corner usually to the right and nearest you. If you're printing more than just a few sheets, a 2nd damp stack to receive just-printed sheets can be located on a low shelf above the to-be-printed damp stack or to one side -- the 2nd stack (place just-printed sheets face up in order to maintain the same order during subsequent printing). A 2nd damp stack can speed printing considerably as there is no fumbling in a single stack to find the right place for just-printed sheets.

Check out Hiroshi Yoshida's arrangement of tools blocks and paper at the very bottom of the David Bull web page linked above!

Printing the sheets in the same order 1st to last is very important to me when editioning because, although I TRY to keep my color the same from one impression to the next, my perception lags a bit -- the color deepens or lightens slightly from my (usually mental) BAT and I may not notice and adjust for a few sheets -- so these 'oscillations' in color move naturally back and forth (getting too light, getting too deep, etc) through the sheets. If I don't keep them in order, subsequent adjustments during printing become impossible to coordinate with the state of the sheet about to be printed, as that sheet may suddenly be one which jumps from too-deep to too-pale and my printing is out-of-synch with my stack -- does this make sense? As I've gained experience (more than 50,000 impressions last year), I've been able to make these oscillations smaller and smaller, but I'm still watching the prints get a little deeper, a little lighter during printing and keeping them in order allows me to produce a decent 'close' edition in which prints are remarkably alike.

-- Mike

Anonymous said...

Annie - I noticed that you have the camellia oil out for use with your ball bearing baren. I was told not to use that as it can become sticky and prevent the little balls from moving freely. Good 'ol WD40 was the recommended lubricant!


Carol Hawthorne said...

Hi Annie, came across this image when I was looking for an image of a baren. Don't have much experience in this field , so I'm always searching for more information. Can you explain what a maru bake brush is used for, the rice paste and do you spray your paper stock with water to dampen before printing.
By the way, I've enjoyed reading your step by step process...thankyou for sharing.

Annie B said...

Hi Carolyn,
I work with the Japanese method of woodblock printing. In this method the watercolor inks are brushed onto the block rather than rolled. A few dabs of pigment and a few dabs of rice paste are applied directly to the block, then the maru bake brush is used to mix the pigments and the rice paste and spread them over the surface of the block. The rice paste acts as a binder of sorts for the pigment and allows for a smoother texture. Yes, the paper is dampened (spraying works fine) and allowed to sit in a damp stack before printing.