This series of drawings began in May at Atelier Tom Blaess, in Bern, Switzerland. This was the second collaboration between the printer and myself. In the four years since our first collaboration, which produced the Applying the Language Series, Tom added digital capabilities to his production studio and he suggested that I take advantage of the medium, having never experimented with it in my work. With that in mind, I made several high resolution scans of several pages from the school primer, “Our Little Book for Little Folks”, published in 1896, and brought the digital images with me. Additionally, I also drew some images on clear drafting film (to make them portable), which could also be scanned into the computer to incorporate into other images.
Since Tom and I come from traditional printmaking backgrounds, it was important for both of us that the manipulations of these images by computer took on the qualities of more customary printmaking techniques, such as the rich surface quality associated with multiple printed layers and the suggestion of a plate edge, made when you print intaglio impressions. In fact, several of the printed images went through the Epson printer more than once, so in fact, they were printed in a more traditional way.
Additionally, since my source material was an old, worn and very used grade school primer, we wanted to exaggerate the build up of surface on a page that comes from use. We also intentionally adjusted the color of the reproductions to look more somber and then covered them with layers of texture to additionally subdue the surface. These printed elements were incorporated into drawings upon my return to my Ithaca, NY, studio.