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Video Transcription of Part 4: Wiping Plate Edges

Wiping plate edges with Intaglio Editions

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Below is a text transcription of Part 4 of our short, 7-part video tutorial series on photogravure intaglio printmaking using Intaglio Editions polymer photogravure plates. Part 4 concerns the finesse of wiping a plate's edges properly.

Mark Lunning of Open Press in Denver emphasizes the importance of using flannel rags to wipe the edges of intaglio plates for optimal cleaning. Flannel tends to pick up and hold ink better than other fabrics. Open Press offers fine printmaking expertise including profesional print studios rental, fine arts classes, and one-on-one instruction in metal and polymer plate intaglio printing techniques.

Video Transcription: Part 4 - Wiping Plate Edges
Demonstration of Proper Edge Wiping of an Intaglio Plate
Jon Lybrook, Intaglio Editions - March 2014


"Now we're relatively clean on the plate, I'm going to do a final wipe of the edges, and so since we're wiping the edge I'll put this on the edge of the magnet board...so I've got a nice sturdy edge to wipe.

So once again the same technique as we were doing on the preliminary edge wipe but this time we're actually going on to the surface of the plate for this particular piece...because this particular piece has a border on it that shows of the fact that this is a photogravure-intaglio print. It allows you to see the embossment of the plate in the paper more distinctly than if we didn't do this, so I like to do it. Kind of a tip of the hat to the old photogravure process in copper where there's actually a bevel on the plates because it's thick, and because of that bevel there would be a border.

So I wipe the edge and then I'll just check...check the rag to see how much ink is coming off and when it starts to no longer be visible on my rag then I can feel confident that the edge has been wiped adequately.

Okay, so that's pretty good. I may do some palm wiping right before I put the plate on the press bed. Palm-wiping is a way to pull ink out of the highlights -- the brightest highlights -- and kind of move it into the mid tones and blacks. It's a traditional technique used by print makers regardless of whether it's polymer or copper. Prior to doing that though I might take tissue...this is just commercial tissue paper...and do another wipe, a final light wipe to pick up highlights before I do the palm-wiping at the very end. This just smoothes out any scratches in the ink and brightens up the highlights a little bit.

There are actually two sides of this tissue paper, one's a glossy smooth side and that's what I tend to use to smooth out the scratches and the ink on the plate. There's also a rougher, more absorbent side that will pick up more ink but may leave a little bit of scratching in the ink, not on the plate but in the ink. And so I like to use the shiny side to buff the plate before doing the final palm wipe.

Now that the edges have been cleaned properly, we're going to cover this up and start to prepare the paper.

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