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Printing On A Press

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

Great pressure is required for printing intaglio plates, and therefore the need for a press and two or three felt blankets. These go on top of the paper during printing and their role is to push it into all the ink-holding grooves on the plate.

The best printing papers for intaglio are the heavy ones and the selection is too wide to mention specifics here. The thicker the paper, the deeper the plate “sinks” in, giving that “embossed” look.

Before printing, the paper is soaked in a water bath (I use distilled water here) to soften the fibers and make it pliable, then placed between two blotter papers and the water is squeezed out by going with a rolling pin back and forth.

After printing, I use thumb-tacks to pin up the prints on Styrofoam, to keep them from buckling while drying. An assistant is of great help at this point. If the edition is too large to print in one day, the damp papers can be stored in a plastic folio for a couple of days.

Here is a short video of the printing process.

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