The summer before COVID hit I was fortunate to meet up with a friend of mine who had a studio in Connecticut. He’s a retired Art Teacher, who is a Printmaker and Photographer and while I was hanging out in his studio he showed me how to make a Polymer Photogravure. I was hooked. I had only heard of them but never seen one in the flesh.
We made a 4×5 positive on with lith film and then contact printed the negative on the polymer plate. It took very little time. The plate was washed in plain water. We inked and buffed the image and then printed it.
I was getting worried and figured this was going to be kind of a dangerous rabbit hole to fall into. My friend saw I was going to have trouble and said if I made the plates I could print them at his place. I surfed eBay for stochastic film and slowly was building on my supplies but in the middle of it all, my plans changed a little bit ..
I ended up back in school got an MFA from Lesley University. I studied all sorts of fun stuff. I learned what I was doing wrong all the years I self taught myself Alt Process Photography. Who would have known you had to let layers of Cyanotype chemistry dry before adding a second coat? Long story short it was a fantastic experience and graduated last May with a great group of people. I was taught by great teachers and learned an awful lot.
Now … it’s December 2021 and I finally have a small bag of Boxcar polymer plates and I now have a student model etching press ( it can make small prints, and I like small prints ) and I can’t wait. I have a small array of UV LED lights that a friend made me and a larger array of UV LED lights that I made when I was studying, but I’m realizing things are not as easy as they seem. My friend had a I face tanning lamp that he used to make his exposures. I had one at one point but I gave it to a classmate who needed a light source at school. Maybe I’ll go back to using the sun to make exposures? For years I used the sun to make cyanotypes, and sun prints and it will just take a little more time. None of my plates have an image on them yet, so it’s a learning process. Things you learn when you are winging it ..