The Kamakura Print Collection, Photogravure Etchings by Peter Miller

鎌倉プリント・コレクションへようこそ ・ フォトグラビュール 銅版画、ミラー・ピーター (Peter Miller)

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Series: Temples・寺Dreamscapes・夢Seascapes・海Furusato・ふるさとPathways・道Mongolia・モンゴルActs & Scenes・町Unseen・見残す; New Prints・新

Note: The video companion to this guide is here. 日本語 Japanese video. At Xpress you can search by mood -- Dynamic, Reflective, Mysterious, Sensual, Spontaneous, Expansive, Elegiac, Intimate, Luminous. Or by texture: Rough, soft, flowing, granular, linear, rhythmic. Also by ink, paper, image size, place, Series, and price. Original photogravure etchings may be ordered from any full-screen page (Hokokuji, for example), with this icon at the lower-right of the screen:   Viewers may also complete the Japanese inquiry form or the Japanese order form in any language. Payment for prints delivered in Japan may be made by C.O.D. (着払). For viewers who are learning the photogravure etching technique, having an original photogravufre etching at hand provides the best instruction, as well as inspiration to see you through the inevitable difficulties.

Technique of Intaglio Photogravure Printmaking, continued

  1. Prepare Positive Transparency
  2. Sensitize Resist
  3. Expose Resist
  4. Adhere Exposed Resist to Copperplate
  5. Develop Resist
  6. Etch Copperplate
  7. Pull a Proof
  8. Print the Edition
  9. Chine Collé Printing

VIII. Print the Edition

  1. Using circular motions of an ink-charged tarlatan (Figure 8), work etching ink thoroughly into all the crevices of the etched copperplate. Rotate the plate occasionally to change the angle of wiping.
  2. Clear ink from the plate gradually with long sweeping strokes of the inky tarlatan from edge to center.
  3. When an outline of the image is visible, change to a partially inked tarlatan and reduce the pressure of wiping. Concentrate on the shadows and midtones.
  4. When the shadows and midtones become more defined, adjust the direction of wiping so that it goes from highlights to darker tones. (Otherwise, ink will be dragged from the more deeply etched areas, the shadows, onto the highlights.)
  5. Using a clean tarlatan with very light pressure, continue clearing ink from the highlights, changing frequently to a clean area of the tarlatan.
  6. Examine the plate in raking reflected light, and if plate oil or wiping marks are visible on the surface, remove them with very light short strokes of a clean tarlatan, and if necessary with a fine rag or the side of the hand lightly dusted with whiting.
  7. Clear ink from beveled edge, border (if any), and back of plate.

Some workshops strive for uniformity across the entire edition, while others prefer some variety of interpretation. The ultimate in uniformity is a poster or other reproduction made without any particular individual touch or style.

  1. Measure dimensions of plate and paper, and divide the differences in half to position the plate to be printed in the center of the paper.
  2. Place the copperplate on the press bed, and use two rulers to define the margins corresponding to the measurements made in the previous step. For example, if the plate is 21 x 26 cm, the etching paper 28 x 38 cm, set the vertical margin at half of 28 - 21 cm, or 3.5 cm, and set the horizontal margin at half of 38 - 28 cm, or 5 cm.
  3. Place the etching paper or washi, front downward, on top of the inked plate so that the edges of the paper correspond to the margins set in the previous step.
  4. Place the etching felts over the paper, set press pressure, and rotate the press without stopping during the transit of the plate through the press.
  5. Draw back the felts and gently peel the etching paper off the plate ~ voilà! ~ the first impression.

IX. Chine Collé Printing

  1. Ink and wipe the plate as described above in § VIII. But wipe the plate more thoroughly, because in this type of printing the papers absorb more ink.
  2. Cut a piece of ganpi to the exact size of the etched copperplate to be used for printing.
  3. Immerse the inked plate in a tray of water (the ink and water won't mix).
  4. Position the ganpi front side down on the inked copperplate and remove plate carefully from water while keeping the ganpi positioned correctly.
  5. Let the ganpi dry partially, then brush on wheat paste from the center outward to the edges.
  6. Again let the ganpi dry partially, using a fan if necessary.
  7. Place plate and ganpi on press bed, set margins as before, and place heavier sheet of etching paper over the ganpi.
  8. Print as above in § VIII. The ganpi is adhered to the heavier etching paper and printed at the same time.
  9. Peel the print off very carefully, so that the ganpi stays adhered to the heavier etching paper.



The pressure of the etching press creates a platemark (Figure 9), a distinguishing feature of photogravure etchings and of all intaglio prints. The platemark embossment is a sign of hand-made authenticity.




<9> Platemarks



You can purchase a real photogravure etching for as little as $150; having one nearby could inspire you to learn and practice the technique. These prints are shown here. For any questions about technique or purchasing, please contact me at the email address at the bottom of this page.

Please take the greatest care when mixing, using, and storing these chemicals. With proper safeguards as recommended below, they are safe to use. Of course everyone is responsible for their own safety, and no liability is implied or assumed by the provider of this information.


            Sodium hydroxide copperplate de-greasing solution

Water 800 ml 1500 ml 4000 ml
Sodium hydroxide 20 gr 40 gr 100 gr
To make working solution 1 liter 2 liters 5 liters

USE RUBBER GLOVES AND WEAR PROTECTIVE GOGGLES. Mix carefully, a small amount at a time, stirring until thoroughly dissolved before adding more. If too much sodium hydroxide is poured in at one time, the solution heats up rapidly and may bubble over or splatter. Do not allow skin contact. This solution removes grease from the copperplate surface, which is essential for proper adhesion of the resist. Clean thoroughly and vigorously with a rag, using fresh solution as many times as necessary. When water flows off the plate in sheets and does not form droplets on the surface, the de-greasing is complete.

Acetic acid and salt brightening solution (ingredients by volume)

Water 800 ml 1500 ml 4000 ml
Acetic acid (glacial) 100 ml 200 ml 500 ml
Salt 100 ml 200 ml 500 ml
To make working solution 1 liter 2 liters 5 liters

USE RUBBER GLOVES, HAVE VENT ON OR OPEN WINDOW, AND WEAR PROTECTIVE GOGGLES. ALWAYS POUR ACID INTO WATER, NOT WATER INTO ACID. DO NOT BREATHE ACETIC ACID FUMES. Quickly clean copperplate using a clean rag with this solution, rinse plate, and dry it quickly by patting with a paper towel to prevent oxidation. This solution forms mild hydrochloric acid, which lightly etches the plate surface, so the operation must be performed quickly. Flowing alcohol over the plate accelerates drying.

Sensitizer for Resist

Water 800 ml 1500 ml 4000 ml
Potassium dichromate 35 gr 70 gr 175 gr
Ammonia 1 ml 2 ml 5 ml
To make working solution 1 liter 2 liters 5 liters

USE RUBBER GLOVES, HAVE VENT ON, WEAR PROTECTIVE GOGGLES. POTASSIUM DICHROMATE IS EXTREMELY TOXIC BY SKIN CONTACT. DO NOT BREATHE AMMONIA FUMES. SEE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS. Under an amber safelight, mix potassium dichromate powder into water slowly, stirring continuously until completely dissolved. If possible, use distilled water. A dehumidifier provides a free source of distilled water. Add ammonia to alkalize the sensitizer solution. If the sensitizer solution is acidic, oxidation of the copper surface may occur during adhesion of the resist, interfering with adhesion. This table indicates a 3.5 percent solution. For more contrast with lower sensitivity, use a 3.0 percent solution. For less contrast with higher sensitivity, use a 4.0 percent solution. DO NOT ALLOW SKIN CONTACT WITH POTASSIUM DICHROMATE. IF SKIN CONTACT OCCURS, FLUSH IMMEDIATELY WITH COLD WATER.

Printmaking (2) . . Health & Safety 

Original photogravure etchings may be purchased through this website by clicking the order button on any full-screen image page, or from these fine print dealers:

Baltimore: Conrad R Graeber Fine Art, Box 264, Riderwood, Md, U.S.A., tel +1-410-377-6713
San Francisco: Japonesque, 824 Montgomery Street, SF, Ca, U.S.A., tel +1-415 391-8860
Netherlands: Eric van den Ing, Saru Gallery, tel: +31(0)6-2246-4074.
Moscow: Lumiere Brothers Center, 119072, Red October, Bolotnaya emb 3 b. 1, Moscow, Russia, 119072), tel +7-968-451-4019
Vladivostok: Arka Gallery, 5 Svetlanskaya St, Vladivostok, Russia, tel +7-4232-410-526


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