Waterless Lithography at Toowomba

The workshop crew

Mention waterless lithography in Australia and the Printmaking Sisters Annie Day and Robyn Ezra will have to be part of the conversation. Last weekend they taught a whirlwind introduction to the techniques at Toowomba for the Saturday Printmakers.

The workshop covered a myriad of possible techniques along with the basics of plate preparation, inking up and printing.

Robyn Ezra talking about the finer points of cleaning a plate with acetone
Robyn Ezra talking about the finer points of cleaning a plate with acetone
Annie's expressions show laying on silicon is an exact  art that probably has to be treated with a little more respect than we beginners showed
Annie’s expressions show that laying on silicon is a fine art that has to be treated with a little more respect than we beginners were able to master

It is a deceptively simple process that is easy to learn but hard to master. Annie and Robyn have obviously perfected techniques and researched a lot of alternative methods. They know their stuff.

Rubber based inks and hard roller are used.

Using thin aluminium plates means two, three and more colour prints are easy to register, just print upside down.

Inks are rolled onto the plate on a latex covered board.
Inks are rolled onto the plate on a silicon covered board.

Although the technique is relatively simple to execute, one of the hardest things is to remember the order of each step. Ute Braatz spent a lot of time drawing intricate detail on this plate with toner ink only to forget the next step and cleaned off her drawing by mistake.

Remembering the steps is the hard part
Remembering the steps is the hard part

As usual the Toowoomba group had magnificent shared lunches and a great deal of  fun. Thanks for hosting the workshop.

Annie and Robyn are generous teachers willing to pass on their extensive knowledge. There’s information about various techniques on their website and if you’d like to learn waterless lithography in a romantic setting they teach in Florence each year. Next Italian workshop May/June 2017.

Elizabeth and Ute take a tea break
Elizabeth and Ute take a tea break

Four Regional Printmaking Events Not to Miss.

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed by the pace? We can never get enough printmaking, so here are four events on round about NOW.

This Saturday at 11:30am is Meet the Artists of Regional Marks, the regional printmaking exhibition currently on at the USC Gallery. Join the curator and artists for a tour of the exhibition and gain an insight into printmaking from the exhibiting artists. At 10.30 before the artist talks you can join Fiona Dempster for a demonstration of letterpress printmaking.

And if you’re hungry for more, on your way to or from the university gallery call in to see the Maleny Printmakers exhibition at Beerwah.


Or, if you’re travelling a little further afield Toowoomba Staurday Printmakers have their exhibition open now at the Arts Centre in Toowoomba.


The Year of Print – Dianne Longley Workshop in Toowoomba

group South East Regional Queensland activities for the Print Council of Australia’s  Year of Print  kicked off  with a bang only a few days into the new year with a three day workshop in Toowoomba with  Dianne Longley from Agave Print Studio in Victoria.

Participants were treated to a comprehensive overview of printmaking with photopolymer plates, completing a relief and intaglio print and learning the processes for photographic reproductions. Dianne introduced a new technique she has been developing using scraperboard to create a unique feel to imagery that is hard to reproduce in other mediums. The scraperboard images were scanned and used for both relief and intaglio. Dianne showed participants an inking technique that allows very fine detail to be retained in the relief print.

Developing a drawing using scraperboard

A textured or decorative background was then made as a second plate, using pens or pencils on architectural drafting paper. The transparencies were applied directly to the plates in the exposure process. More layers can be added using photographic techniques, colour, or more textural detail.

Relief print, Intaglio, and with background from a second plate
photographic print experiment

The Toowoomba Saturday Printmakers group had constructed an exposure unit from the plans in Dianne’s book, ‘Printmaking with Photopolymer Plates’. The unit worked well for the workshop. The  book is  an essential guide for anyone interested in photopolymer printmaking and available on the Agave Print Studio website. 

Dianne with the exposure unti and her book
Dianne with the exposure unit and her book

The Toowomba group showed visitors what great cooks there are in regional Queensland, serving up a brilliant shared lunch every day of the workshop.

Although most of the participants were experienced printmakers one participant was a complete newcomer to the processes. It was a delight for everyone to see her  change from confusion to a committed and enthusiastic printmaker over the three days of the workshop. By day three she had even sewn pockets onto her t-shirt to hold rags/tools etc.

Lorna, being introduced to the magic of print
Scraperboard, relief print, intaglio with second plate made with a 2b pencil for texture