The Catfish Press Exchange folio vividly illustrates contemporary printmaking in the United States. The output of this collective usually remains in the private collections of the artists; but, JCSM greatly benefits from the generosity of donors Joe and Julie Sanders. These selections are striking examples of different printmaking techniques.
The word ”lithography” is derived from the Greek, litho meaning ”stone,” and graphy meaning ”writing.” This technique involves drawing with a greasy crayon on polished limestone or aluminum plates. A chemical solution is applied to bond the drawing to the stone, and then the surface is treated with water that only sticks to the non-greased areas. A special ink, which only adheres to the greased areas, is applied with a roller. The print is then run through a press.
The word ”intaglio” comes from the Italian intagliare which means ”to incise or carve.” In this method of printing, the areas that hold the ink are cut into the surface of a metal plate. After the plate is inked, paper is laid on the prepared plate and extreme pressure
is applied, forcing the paper into the incised lines to pick up the ink. There are several different types of intaglio prints such as etching, drypoint and aquatint.
Serigraphy, more commonly known as ”screen printing,” is a stencil-based technique, which uses screens made of fabric or fine mesh stretched over a frame. A chemical solution marks off the areas around the image, blocking the ink from going through the screen. A squeegee is then used to press ink through the open parts of the screen.
Relief printing is one of the oldest forms of printmaking dating back as far as c. 4000 BCE. To create a relief print, an artist carves into a material leaving raised areas that hold ink. Paper is laid on top, and pressure is applied with a ”baren,” transferring the image onto paper. Relief prints can be made from a wide range of materials, such as wood (woodcut, wood engraving), linoleum (linocut) and metal (letterpress).