Friday, 29 March 2013


Copper plate prints

Prints by my Professor, 

Plate inked up...
... and the finished product! 
One failure too many for these unhappy printers - Zana, Alex and Sara.

Never have I experienced such a fine line between laughter and tears, happiness and despair, as I have in the Printing Studio.

In the Printing Studio dreams are made and dreams are ruined. That room holds the power to make your life worthwhile or to destroy your sense of meaning.

'A bit dramatic', you might think. Perhaps. But spend just one hour in that room as a student printer and you will be saying 'Amen' to the truth of these words. 

This morning I arrived at the deserted campus at 10, ready to spend the majority of my day making a dent in my final printmaking assignment. This class mixes traditional and digital printmaking techniques: you make a drawing, scan it, edit it in photoshop, then print it out on the printing plate before inking up. Not as easy as it would seem. One hour later, and I was still sat at the computer with an rebellious digital printer randomly printing the whole tray of blank paper and giving me the odd sheet with the words, "error: image offensive". I was trying to print a plate for a lithograph self-portrait - hardly x-rated material! Needless to say, there was a whole lotta mutual offence between the printer and I. 

Luckily for me, three lovely ladies soon came to my rescue. A combination of Alex, Sara and Zana, lots of failed attempts, a couple of abusive rants at the printer and another hour or two, and my plate was decent and I got to work, eventually leaving the studio with some beautiful prints. 

Therein lies the trouble with printmaking: I was on the verge of giving up, ready to throw myself onto the floor and commence a full-on temper tantrum, and then voila, everything went rosy and in that last little while I had a lot of success. A few weeks ago I literally spent 10 hours in the printing room working non-stop on copper plates without producing a single decent print, yet other days I'm just churning out masterpiece after masterpiece.

Some would tell me that perseverance makes the end result more valuable. Some would tell me there's a life lesson to be learnt from this process. I would tell them that I might just have ripped up every bad print and be a sobbing mess in the corner long before seeing that silver lining. 

Stiflingly hot Printing Studio of Doom, to you I say NOT TODAY. You may still be waiting to thwart my hopes of happiness when I return next week, but today, victory was mine. 

Until we meet again,

Kitty x

The permanent state of my hands this semester.

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