Workshop: Photogravure Workshops at Cape Fear Press

Photogravure is a process of etching continuous tones into copper with a sensitized gelatin pigment paper resist (aka carbon tissue) using a continuous tone positive and aquatint screen or dustgrain aquatint. The process was invented by William H. F. Talbot and Karl Klic in the late 1800s for archivally reproducing fine photographic prints. They also employed the use of the dustgrain for its organic grain and fine tonal resolution as well as deeper etched shadows. The tones of the positive are etched into the copper plate in the proportion to the density giving a multi depth layer of ink and a very perceivable and virtually infinite range of tones. Careful timing of the different etching baths also adds another way of controlling the tonal curves. This process yields an etched plate that can be retouched and re-worked with any of the traditional etching processes. The copper plate is often electroplated with iron (steel faced) for printing very consistent and/or long editions. This is still the absolute best way to make a photographic intaglio plate for printing.

Jennifer Page, the owner of Cape Fear Press, was the first artist to test the new Phoenix Gravure tissue for fine art photogravure. She has thoroughly tested the tissue etching over 100 gravure plates with it thus far. This new gelatin tissue is very similar to the discontinued Autotype gelatin. Jennifer has developed several technical innovations to deal with all the variables and common problems encountered with gravure. Once the basic steps are mastered, the etching process opens itself up to becoming a meditative and transmutative act, becoming equally creative as the image making itself.

In this intensive 3 day workshop students will learn digital image preparation from scanned film or file with Photoshop on a Mac, making positives on a high resolution inkjet printer, direct gravure (drawings on frosted mylar), all aspects of tissue processing, exposure calibration, using aquatint screens and Picco dustgrain for box aquatints, etching, steel facing the copper plate for durability, plate retouching techniques, printing and wiping techniques, ink modifications and tips for editioning. Prior knowledge of etching, photography and/or Photoshop is very helpful but not necessary. Each participant will etch 2 plates approx. 8×10″ pulling several prints. We will use a an aquatint screen for one of the plates and traditional dustgrain aquatint for the other.

Come spend some time at the beach and learn the latest developments and techniques in a time tested medium that is unsurpassed!

Class size is limited to just 2 students. Class fee is $595 plus cost of paper and copper. Reservations are made first come first serve with an e-mail and a deposit of $300. I am unable to refund deposits for if you need to cancel. One opening left in each class!

Transport & Accommodations: ILM International Airport is a half hour drive away. Taxi from ILM to CB is about $35. I recommend the Dolphin Lane Motel, Courtyard Marriott or Golden Sands Motel for oceanfront accommodations. For more affordable lodging check out The Buccaneer Motel, Russo’s Motel, Bobby and Diane’s cottages on or Drifters Reef Motel.