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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thank you to Intern Samuel Cowan!

P.R.I.N.T Press thanks Samuel Cowan for serving as an intern in spring 2017. This was Sam's second semester working at the press. A BFA candidate with a major in Printmaking, Sam worked on several projects:  
Another semester has now come and gone and my time at P.R.I.N.T has gone with it. The experience I have gained over my year with P.R.I.N.T will prove to be an invaluable tool when shaping my own professional practice and standards of operation. I have been so thankful for the opportunities provided to me through the press to work with visiting artists and assist in the production of their work. It has been a busy academic year with the introduction and conclusion of Jeffery Dell's laser cut wood block project, and edition printing for visiting artist Linda Ridgway and Katherine Brimberry of Flatbed Press. . .
The experience I have gained over my year with P.R.I.N.T will prove to be an invaluable tool when shaping my own professional practice and standards of operation.––Samuel Cowan

Printing a plate carved on a CNC router

. . . Along with printing our two major projects, time was made for the typical shop clean-up as well as a side project in which we printed a sheet of tin that had been engraved by a CNC router in order to test the precision and durability of the machine-engraved lines. In addition to all of this I collated photos and notes taken from Jeffery Dell's visits to UNT and edited them into a research presentation for UNT's fourteenth annual University Scholars Day.

Plates for Linda Ridgway and Katherine Brimberry's editions
The primary focus this semester was the completion of Linda Ridgway and Katherine Brimberry's edition, which had been started during a previous semester. This project was an intaglio edition of soft-ground etched plates, where a dress and bonnet were pressed into copper plate coated in an acid resistant plate ground to pull an impression of the woven fibers. Next, the plates were washed in ferric chloride, a caustic solution made from iron oxidized in hydrochloric acid which may act as an etchant for copper and other soft metals. The ground was then removed, leaving only the smooth copper it protected, and the etched impression of the dress. These plates were then printed by Master Printer Katherine Brimberry to create the Right to Proof (RTP) necessary for the edition. The RTPs that I refer to were two printed examples of the work, one dress and one bonnet, that the edition was to be modeled after with the addition of some minor changes stated by the artist.

Collating Linda Ridgway and Katherine Brimberry's editions
To create this edition, I worked as a team with graduate student David Villegas, Studio Technician Thomas Menikos and fellow intern Jessica Gengenbach under the guidance of Director Lari Gibbons to comb through the notes and artifacts left behind from the previous team's collaboration with the artist-master printer duo. The notes, ink samples, and feedback from Brimberry and Ridgway were then used in conjunction with the RTPs that were left behind to create the desired effects for the edition. These 'desired effects' only arose after weeks of ink mixing and trial proofing that led to professor Gibbons seeking approval from the artists, after which we began edition printing which took about two to two and a half months to complete.

Prepping a screen for Jeffrey Dell
During this time visiting professor from Texas State at San Marcos Jeffery Dell returned to finish the edition we had started for him during the previous semester. Dell intended to add a screen-printed layer to the wood-block relief print we had completed for him, so in preparation for his arrival the screen equipment was inspected for quality/reliability and trial sheets with different marks made from different media were burned into screens to test emulsion strength and UV exposure thresholds. Once Dell arrived at UNT, screens were burned and proofed using our tests as a starting point for reference, and inks of different hues and vibrancies were printed as color trial proofs. When a desirable result was found, the edition was then printed and an open house event was held where members of the public were encouraged to come speak with the artist, enjoy a showing of his final project, pull relief and screen prints for themselves to take home, and have some food and drinks.

Dell's second visit came at an opportune time as it allowed me time to refocus on the production of his project, which was the subject of my Scholars Day presentation. This was essentially a presentation on the conventions of working in a traditional fine art press, as well as a showcase of the new technologies used to create his laser cut matrix, and the problems presented when printing on synthetic Yupo paper.

14th annual University Scholars Day
I will always be very grateful to Lari Gibbons and the University of North Texas for the unique opportunity to work in a professional environment as an undergrad. I have enjoyed every challenge and take pride in my time served as a P.R.I.N.T intern. I only hope that more students will be provided the opportunities I was if they should be interested in the practices of professional printers, working with professional artists, at one fine art press.