THE EDGE: version 3.3

 

The Edge is a series of lithographs made over 10 years from 1984 to 1993. Each edition of hand made prints are in editions of around 20 prints. They are printed on BFK Rives hand laid rag paper, hand ripped to 15" x 11", quarto of the standard production paper size of 30" x 22". There are approximately 170 editions in The Edge so the total sheets of paper number around 5,000.

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"The Edge" refers to the edge of the stone. When I first began printmaking as an apprentice printer in the studio of the master artist/printmaker, John Snow, we printed over the edge of the stone, embossing the paper. Later in my travels as a journeyman printer in the studios of other masters I learned to print within the stone area and over the edge of the paper. No matter if the artist/printmaker prints over the edge or within the edge, the edge of the stone is important. It is the beginning and the end of the art. Throughout The Edge series there are references to the stone and it's shape. Click on the image to the left for examples.

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After Maxwell Bates died in 1980. I inherited his press and four litho stones as a gift from John Snow. The press was kept and used in John Snow's studio for 30 years. The studio contained two litho presses, a platen press, and a letter press. In 1981 I dismantled my press and shipped it from Calgary 3,000 kilometers to our new home in a suburb of Toronto.

I began my studies as a printer's helper in 1965 printing for John Snow and Maxwell Bates. I began my journey in 1967 as an undergraduate at Sir George Williams Fine Arts Department. I studied graphics with lithography masters of Sir George Williams (Montreal),Tamarind (New Mexico), Slade (London), Pratt (New York), Open Studio (Toronto), University of Calgary, Emily Carr Art School (Vancouver). I returned to John Snow's studio in 1971 to deliver the knowledge I was sent to learn. In 1981 I established my own studio, Ground Round Press, and received a master's chop from Don Holman (Tamarind/Open Studio).

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During the time I designed and printed "The Edge" I also, in the spirit of John Snow's studio, published the works of many artists without charge. John Snow wished that artists be exposed to the graphic arts and the advantages of working in editions. Unfortunately "the print revival" of artist's hand made prints beginning in the late 1940's gradually collapsed into obsolescence brought on by pressures from photo reproduction publishing and lack of support from the public and the commercial galleries.

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Lithography is a difficult medium, hard to master. It was first invented in 1796 by Aloys Senefelder as a method to publish music. Because of the staves, music cannot be printed in set type so it was usually hand copied or laboriously engraved backwards on metal plates by people like Jean-Jacques Rousseau. A part of Rousseau's hatred of technology could be attributed to loosing his music publishing trade to lithography. How is a traditional stone lithograph made? Click on the image to the left.

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The majority of the prints in "the edge" are colour. Each colour must be printed separately in the same manor as Richard used in the above picture link. Click on the photograph of John Snow to the left to view how colour separation is achieved by hand.

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After each colour run the stone must be ground to remove the old image before applying the next. Because I didn't own a levigator (which Richard used), I ground one stone with another. I worked on four prints at a time. In a day I would print two runs, grind two stones, proof two images and finally etch them for printing the next day, paint and draw two stones and apply the first etch. This is why The Edge cannot be effectively arranged chronologically. I was working on several"period" themes at the same time. It was a natural consequence of the technology.

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Shortly after completing The Edge, I dismantled my press and put it into storage. I had been working as an artist/printmaker/publisher for 35 years.

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