I’ve known my friend Maria Kaiser for approximately 15 years. We got to know one another as members of the Cleveland Photographic Society and she and I share a love of photojournalistic/documentary photography. I also knew that Maria did some printmaking and I had seen a few of her print creations. What I didn’t know however, was that she was a serious printmaker! Last year she held a print show at the Shaker Nature Center and I saw for the first time her zeal and skill in this art form that I knew little about. Her printmaking is spectacular and I wanted to learn more about it.
Amazingly, Maria works on her prints several times a week in the printmaking studio at Cuyahoga Community College and the studio is less than 100 feet from the classroom where I teach digital photography. I asked if I could visit some sessions and was given permission by printmaking instructor Keegan Adams.
I learned that there are many different techniques of printmaking and all involve many complicated steps using different tools, chemicals, inks, plate materials and papers. I visited the studio on 4 different occasions, observing and photographing many different steps and techniques and speaking with a number of the other artists working alongside Maria.
Images are made on different types of materials, wood blocks, metal plates, plexiglass and others just to name a few. The images are made through etching, carving and engraving on these different materials. The tools used are varied.
After the plates are produced they are prepared for printing by mixing inks and applying them to the plates and then run through a press to print on various types of paper or other materials.
My fifth visit was to view a show at the college’s gallery where many of the artists I had been observing were exhibiting their work.
The printmaking process was fascinating for me to learn about and I may have to sign up for some classes to learn how to do it myself. The creativity and possibilities are endless.
I’d like to thank Maria, Keegan, the Visual Arts Program at Cuyahoga Community College and of course all of the artists who welcomed and tolerated me looking over their shoulders and clicking my camera while they worked.