After some major refurbishment and rationalisation, Edinburgh College of Art’s Print Workshop re-opened in Spring 2008. It is a popular area. Within the workshop there is a vast array of equipment, supporting techniques including relief printing, lithography, screenprinting and intaglio.
is a process by which an impression is made from a raised/inked surface onto another; examples include letterpress, wood / linocut and monoprint. In each form, the printed surface is generally inked with a roller or brush, which is then pressed by hand or machine onto paper or another suitable surface. Our Columbian relief press supports this technique, a machine designed in the US and manufactured in London in 1831 and still in perfect working order. For fans of the old school, there is also a well-stocked caseroom, which houses both wood and metal typefaces that can be printed using the relief process.
Lithography is a method for printing using a plate or stone that has a completely smooth surface.
The image is generated on the surface of the lithographic plate/stone by establishing both oil and water receptive surfaces that either repell or attract the oily printing ink. This is established through a series of chemical processes carried out by hand that then change the chemical surface of the plate/stone in preparation for inking.
Within the commercial print industry this process is still commonly in use however the chemistry and technologies involved are far more refined and automated on a large scale.
Screenprinting (serigraphy or silkscreen printing) is a direct process of printing that involves pressing ink through a screen that holds a stencil onto another surface with the use of a squeegee or rubber blade.
This stencil can be either produced by hand or generated photographically from a hand drawn or digitally derived source. These stencils are generally referred to as positives or separations and contain the visual information for each component colour of the finished screenprint.
Intaglio/etching is a process and/or term used to describe a print taken from a recessed surface, therefore the opposite of a relief print. This surface can be created in a number of different ways either through the chemical process of etching, photographically (photec) or purely by manipulating the printed surface by hand with specialist tools and materials (collograph, drypoint). The plate is inked by hand and polished. In doing so, the smooth areas of the plate are wiped clean, whereas the recessed textured surfaces hold onto the ink which are then transferred onto paper by means of the etching press.
This process evolved from a method by which medieval armourers would record there engraving skills from armour plating should ever their hard work be demolished in the heat of battle!
The College’s textile department and reprographic area also have their own specialist print facilities and equipment.