Printmaking is a unique medium classified by the transferal of ink from one surface to another. The creation of a print begins with a matrix with which the image is made on. Ink is then applied to the matrix and transferred to the final surface - usually paper - by applying pressure. Printmaking's most unique feature is its ability to produce multiples. Unlike digital or reproductive printing, there is no distinction between 'copies' or 'originals' - each impression is one and the same, as every single print within the edition is made by hand and approved by the artist. Grey Hand Press specialises in lithography, book arts and intaglio printmaking.
The term lithography is derived from the Greek origins litho - meaning stone, and graphos - to write. Lithography is a planographic process, meaning that the image is created from the flat surface of a limestone or aluminium matrix. Unlike intaglio or relief, there is no need for incision or direct physical alteration of the surface in order to create the image, as the technique is reliant on the principle that oil and water do not mix.
A matrix that is receptive to both water and grease is drawn on directly using greasy drawing materials. The drawing is then processed using an acidified gum arabic which chemically defines the image and non-image area. By dampening the matrix with water to protect the non-image area, a greasy ink is able to be applied to the drawing before being run through a press and transferred onto paper.
The direct drawing process allows for a huge range of imagery, from bold flats of colour, to fine, detailed drawn lines or brushstrokes.
Intaglio is a printmaking method whereby the image is formed by making direct incisions into a matrix - usually copper, zinc, aluminium or steel - using sharp tools or by immersing it an acid bath. Ink is pushed into the recessions and the surface is wiped clean. Dampened paper is laid over the matrix, and run through an etching press to transfer ink to paper.
Intaglio is one of the largest printmaking groups and includes etching, drypoint, engraving, aquatint, mezzotint, sugarlift and spit bite, to name a few. Intaglio printmaking allows for a range of line-work and tonal values, and many intaglio matrices can also be rolled up in relief to produce a negative image.
Artist books are artworks created in book format. Books can be editioned or unique (one of a kind) and can encompass a range of forms including concertina, pamphlet, coptic bound or sculptural.