Using the XCut XPress With New Bed and Botanicals

While in Asheville I purchased a cutting board at a kitchen shop for $11.99. It measured 13″ by 19 3/4″ and I had Lee cut it down to 8 1/2″ by 18″ because there was a cut out handle near one end. I had already cut a mylar piece for keeping the surface easy to clean and although it was 8 1/2″ by 20″, it was easy to chop off the two inches. I use my board shear to cut the mylar but tape both sides where the cut will be so as not to shatter the plastic.

Next I took the still damp leaves from doing contact prints on the scarves and placed them into the press between various sheets of papers. Here is the first using Stonehenge printmaking papers.

I like the softness of this and plan to use them as they are in pieces for new work like the Australian Travel panel I finished week before last. Here is a reminder of that piece. New works for the exhibit at River Gallery in Chattanooga next April will be similar to it and the small Messages from the Driveway series.

After trying the leaves on printmaking papers, I decided to just use copy or office papers that are about 24 lb.

I am taking advantage of the new longer length bed we made. I must say the bed is not as thick as the one that came with the XCut XPress but only by 1/8 inch or so, and it was easy to pack in the difference and increase the pressure.

I will use these softer prints to try some of my dry point etchings over. Especially since I have so many etchings of Eucalyptus trees, leaves, and pods.

The embossings are nice and not so easy to see in these images. But they invited me to try another tack with them.

Drawing in with pencil, after trying and failing to get silver point to adhere to the surface. If I gesso the surface before imprinting leaves, silver point would have worked. Next time. So I softly used a graphite pencil to emphasize the natural leaf marks. And, of course, water colored the leaf. This was fun and they will be used as well in the new works with prints on cloth and other dry point images.

My final play for the day yesterday was using my iron water on the papers and then placing leaves and blooms in between. Rolling through twice was not such a good idea as the smaller leaf created its own shadow. But these I will stitch into and disguise that….I think.

What I learned is that it is messy bringing those wet smelly leaves into the studio. Trying to sort out the ones that were flat and trying to not get too much dampness on the papers was a challenge. I have already stained my new longer cut felts. I will cut new ones from felt that I bought to make those despicable little pin cushions in the likeness of a despicable little fingered man….but that is another story.

Today I will do some more drawing and printing into and over the papers I amassed yesterday. And I will get out my local and Australian earth pigments to do some coloring into the botanical contact prints.  I must say the hard part is picking out which side of the printed papers to use. The easy answer is to turn them into a book so both sides of the paper can be seen….but isn’t everybody doing that already with their contact prints?

More stitching and coloring is the try for today….next week maybe some gessoed papers to do silver point on after printing.

Til then I am cleaning out all those dead leaves and giving them a toss. There happens to be bunches of fresh ones in the foyer waiting til I want to work with Eucalyptus again. And then there are all those ones that I used my burning tool on that will find their way into this new work. Remember these?

And my new frames came yesterday so I can cut the museum board the right size to start planning on the layouts. I just have this next week to play before I have private students taking over my thinking (which is a good thing) and my studio the following week.

So I had better get to it.