Tuesday, November 06, 2007

First Snow = First Blizzard?

Well, Edinboro had its first snow-fall of the year today... it is really cold and miserable outside. It's funny because just a couple weeks ago one of my jewelry professors was talking about how the earliest she remembers it snowing is October 8th.

BUT, let me tell you this... the weather in Edinboro is never half-way, never mild. Fall only lasts about two weeks here, so it's either hot or cold, barely any in between. SO, of course our first snow fall would not be light and poetical. It's wet and slushy and there's a lot of it. The weather people are predicting 4-6 inches this evening and then potentially another 1-3 inches tomorrow.

All I really have to say is this: Hello, Winter!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

You Know You're a College Student When...

You get crazy, insane excited that Tropicana makes a bottle of orange juice small enough to fit in you freakishly tiny refrigerator.

Yep, today I was suckin' down some orange juice, and loving it :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Printmaking: Intaglio

Intaglio is a technique in printmaking in which lines are acid etched onto a zinc plate. It is different from woodcuts and linoleum printing in that it is not a relief print. In relief printing what is cut away from the block is what does not print. However, in intaglio, the lines that you etch are the lines that print. This is because the plate is put through a printing press that exerts great pressure over it... you use a special kind of paper that is soaked in a water bath before printing to make it pliable... and the pressure of the press pushes the paper down into the is line work that you've created, picking up the ink. This is the part of the process that is illustrated by the first picture of my hand print.

However, there is another facet the process that you can add to the plate which is called aqua-tinting... that's how I got that fabulous range of greys and blacks. In this process, you cover the plate in a very fine coating of resin particulate and then bake that particulate onto the plate. After that, you re-etch the plate and depending on how long the plate is left in the acid is how dark it gets, i.e. the longer a plate is left in the acid, the darker and richer the grey/black. You get the range by coating the plate in an acid resist called hardground or asphaltum. Where the plate is covered, the acid does not etch the plate and the grey stays lighter.

Now the reason that aqua-tinting is necessary to get those nice blacks is because there has to be something on the plate to hold the ink. Before printing, all the excess ink is wiped off the plate, so if there is no texture to hold the ink, the ink will simply be wiped off and you'll get a fuzzy grey/white instead of black. Aqua-tinting is the means to create the texture. When the rosin is baked into the plate, it creates microscopic peaks and valleys, parts of the plate that are covered and parts of the plate that are not. And when the plate is put into the acid, the parts that are not covered by the rosin is eaten away by the acid, leaving tiny pocks to hold the ink.

This is by far and away my favorite technique that I've learned in printmaking so far because it allows for a lot more detail and precision and, in my opinion, expression. Instead of using awkward tools to carve something away, you basically draw on the metal with a stylus... the line quality is nicer and simply more controllable. I really liked my self-portrait, but I think this is my favorite print so far.

Intermediate Jewelry: Chasing and Repousse

All righty, here's another of my jewelry projects from my Intermediate Jewelry Studio... This was a "double" assignment: 1. use the technique of chasing and repousse, 2. make an item that's meant for body adornment. I chose to make a necklace, but my teacher worried that it was going to be too "easy", too "simple". So, hence the addition of the earrings. And actually, ironically enough, I think that I like the earrings better, although the necklace is quite stunning.

Also, for this project, I handmade the clasp and the earring findings. Everything is sterling silver.

And as for the techniques... the are actually two separate techniques that are very often used in conjunction with one another. Chasing is basically a way to add ornate line work to the front of a piece. There is a range of tools, usually "liners" that as their name implies, are used to create in-sized lines on the metal. You would first decide what you wanted your design to be, draw that design onto you metal, the putting a liner to that design, you would hit the liner with a chasing hammer, moving the tool along the line and creating the design. Now, repousse is very similar (both chasing and repousse share and require similar tools and hammers), except roupousse is done from both the front and the back of a piece, and repousse is not used simply to create line but volume. Rounded tools are used from the back of a piece to push it forward and give it 3D form.

Over all, I really enjoyed this technique. I would definitely use it again.