Moth printed on goat parchment

Moth printed on goat parchment

I’ve had to cut back a bit on work for the past week in order to give the inflamed tendon in my left hand a rest. The process of diagnosis irritated the tendon enough that it went from being a weird sensation to a painful one. The pain mellowed out after a couple days, but I’ve been paying close attention to what actions irritate it, and adjusting accordingly.

Thankfully my left hand is not my dominant hand, so I’ve been sketching, researching, scheming, and continuing to carve at about half my normal rate. Aside from working on the project which shall remain nameless, I’ve been exploring the notion of screen printing on alternate materials. During one of the wood veneer printing sessions, I tested a piece of goatskin parchment to see how well the ink would work with it.

I bungled my first pass but flipped the piece over and managed to get a good crisp print on the 2nd try. Since the ink has dried, I’ve been handling the piece to see how well it is set in — bending, scratching, rubbing the surface — and I’m pleased with the result. Now the question is, what to do with it? In the past when I have printed my woodcuts on parchment, I’ve offered them much the same as I offer prints on paper. The purchaser chooses whether to frame them, tack them up on the wall, collect them in an album, etc. etc. etc. Paper has some limitations with regards to durability. So does parchment, but it also has different properties and potential uses. It could potentially be stretched over a frame, used in book binding, or sewn in to a larger piece of some sort. If stretched over an open frame, it could potentially be illuminated from behind — mind you, I’m not looking to start a lampshade empire, but the possibility of incorporating light into my art is an interesting one.

Now that I know I can print on parchment, I’m keen to experiment with leather as well. I have a fair amount on hand due to my past bookbinding coursework, so I’ve been pulling out my supplies and finding test pieces to print on. You can see a bit of it behind the parchment in the image above. I’ve got a few blues, greens, and reds to work with. and some white and gold screen print ink so I’m not limited to printing only black on light color surfaces.

There’s a bit more prep work to do, but I’m looking forward to an experimental printing day soon!