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A man walks into a furnishing shop and asks for any old wallpaper sample books that are surplus to requirements. "Why would anyone want one of those?," the puzzled shop keeper asks. The man replies enthusiastically, "because I'm a printmaker!"

The story continues with the shop keeper ringing the man back a few days later. Having checked with his boss, the answer was "yes", they did have an old sample book they'd didn't need any more. The man jumped in his car immediately and picked it up, feeling that he'd just scored something really special.

Yes, that man was me. And, yes, we printmakers can be weird! We can get inordinately excited about anything that makes interesting marks.

Well, that was a couple of years ago. I did quite a bit of experimentation with the different papers at the time. Wanting to preserve this precious resource, my first idea was to cover small sample squares with latex to protect for them ongoing use. The problem was, though, that when I pressed them into the plate they didn't leave a very good impression in the ink. Another idea was to use the paper for collagraph works ...but I never got around to it. Coming back to it this week, I printed off a whole new batch of sample squares and got quite excited with the results.

"How am I going to use them in my printmaking?", I hear you ask. Well, I've found this time around that pressing the paper (i.e. latex free) into the ink creates a much better impression and I've already used the technique to good effect in a couple of prints including Tranquility #4 (see next blog post).


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