If I haven't answered your questions, send me an email. My address is at the bottom of this page. Who knows? Perhaps I'll add your question to the list below:
What is an edition?
An edition means that there is a limited supply of prints. Usually this is expressed in writing as 1/100 where “1” means that this is the first print out of 100 total prints. There is no set number regarding the size of the edition, and it depends on the artist’s whim, the materials used, and other factors.
How do I know you won’t print more?
I work with copper etching plates which have a limited lifespan. Copper is a very soft metal and it wears down with each imprint; editions larger than 50 start to degrade and will not print in large quantities. Other artists may use other materials (steel and zinc, for instance), and because of this variance of printing plate materials, the total number of final prints may vary between artists. In addition, I work with a process called aquatint which creates very fine dots on the surface of the plate. These dots, being so small, tend to wear down the quickest along with any other fine details derived from the etching process. I also destroy all linocut blocks at the end of the edition.
What is an intaglio, an etching, an aquatint, and a spit bite?
Intaglio prints are different from Relief Prints in that ink is forced into incised grooves, and through the process of printing, is magically stuck onto a sheet of paper. Ok, maybe science is involved somehow, but its beyond my ken. There are different kinds of intaglio printing such as engraving (the method used on every dollar bill), but I’ve always been attracted by etching. Etching is a process whereby a finish is applied to a metal plate (I use copper) and then scraped away to permit an acid bath to carve the necessary grooves. I think that I’ve always been attracted to the process because I used to make my own printed circuit boards in high school—I was such a nerd! An aquatint is a refined form of etching that allows the artist to create larger inked areas (not just lines) and a spit bite is a form of aquatint that creates a so-called painterly style of shading, a style with more varied tones.
What is a relief print?
A relief print means that ink is applied to the raised surfaces of the printing plate. Most people use a form of relief printing whenever they use a rubber stamp. The difference is that in this case, I make the image using different materials. I work with two kinds of relief prints: linocuts and woodcuts. A linocut is an image carved into a sheet of linoleum that has been mounted onto a wooden block. A woodcut is exactly the same except that the medium is a grained wood; by using wood, different effects and different limitations apply to the image. Both result in cool images with their own merits.
Why doesn’t my print match your photograph?
Each piece is a handmade work of art. The variation that you see is a result of that handmade process; while a mass-produced image will be more consistent, the handmade process can result in strange things on the plate that are beyond my control. Your print isn’t worth any more or less as a result.
Why does the edge of the paper look like it's ripped?
There are two kinds of edges to the paper used for fine-art prints. There is usually several “hard-edges” where the paper has been either cut or torn from a larger sheet. In other instances, there is a very thin, wavy-edge called a “deckle,” which is the result of the paper making process. Neither edge has an effect on value, but trust me: don’t tear off the deckle!
Is your work archival? What does that even mean?
All of my work is of archival quality. There are two factors regarding archival quality: the paper and the ink. Paper is made from a variety of materials (wood pulp, cotton, mulberry bark, etc.), and sometimes acid is used in the process to break down the fibers into paper. That acid, over time, will yellow the paper and make it brittle, thus acid-free papers are desirable. Inks used in fine-arts printing generally are free of acid, but some may fade over time. Therefore, an archival print means that a given work of art will withstand the test of time.
Why are your prices…?
Pricing prints is really tough! After a lot of trial and error, I ended up using a spreadsheet to account for plate (and paper!) size, the amount of time that it takes to create the plate, and the total number of prints within an edition—which spreads the costs amongst several individual prints. I think that I've worked out a fair-trade price that balances a living wage for the artist (me!) and the costs for all materials, the website, and so on. Thanks for your understanding!