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Gum printing, experimentation and premature demises

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by , 11-16-2010 at 11:59 AM (1530 Views)
My latest foray in alternative processes has been delving into the world of gum bichromate. I've gone down this particular garden path for a reason - no, not personal insanity, but rather I have a commission that requires it. Gum is pretty sensible all things considered, not any harder on paper than say platinum. However, there are so many other variables you have to work in - how much pigment to mix for a given color, how much exposure to give, what strength of dichromate to use, what paper to use, was the paper properly sized, what hardener to use for the sizing, and so on. Oh, and don't forget proper humidification. It took me a bit of fumbling around to get my process back under control - when I learned it initially, of course everything worked flawlessly, but then I had to put it aside for the better part of a year and come back to it.

Now that I have it more or less dialed in, I'm in to the experimentation phase. I've been doing some gum-over-platinum (or more accurately gum over Ziatype) prints. This has been instructional as it has showed me where the flaws in my gum process were that by its rather forgiving nature gum tends to cover up. I only wish I had been more on the ball with this a month ago so that I could have gotten more of these gumover prints ready for a couple of juried show submissions I'm planning to enter. The real killer on these competitions is that they have back-to-back submission deadlines- one this Friday, the next on Saturday this week. And I have a TON of things I need to do this week other than printing. I'll have to try and re-shuffle the schedule I think.

As to premature demises, Art Reactor is having to close its doors (hopefully just a temporary situation). Just as we were starting to get a name and a little visibility, our landlord decided he wanted to try and get full market rate commercial rent for the space, as two major restaurants and a grocery store are preparing to open across the street and we assume he thinks he can find someone else to take the space. I think he's nuts, because it's a storefront which would attract a primarily retail business, but there's nowhere near enough foot traffic. But move we must, so as of this weekend we have ceased operations, and are looking for a new reasonably priced space.




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