Friday, July 22, 2016

Hammered - prints from the anvil

I have been intrigued by the marks my hammers have made on my bigger anvil over the last 6 years. They never really remain the same - new marks overlay and push old marks aside.

©2016 Barry Smith - Print of the end of anvil
I thought I might have a go at printing the anvil surface as it currently is - treating the surface like a printing plate that had been created by drypoint and scraping. Anyway I called on my resident local print person (Fiona) to give me a hand to lift some prints from the anvil.

Fiona cut and soaked the paper whilst I cleaned the anvil of gunk.

©2016 Barry Smith - Paper (BFK Rives and Fabriano Tiepolo) soaking - about 56cm long and 20cm wide
We set up a couple of rulers on the bench as a guide to help us with 'registration' - didn't really work.

©2016 Barry Smith - Cleaned anvil with ruler guides
We applied Payne's Grey water based etching ink to the anvil plate; and started to print.

©2016 Barry Smith - Applying Payne's Grey
©2016 Barry Smith - Registered and rolled
The first few prints were a bit disappointing.

©2016 Barry Smith - Revealing a print - paper too damp and too much ink?
But towards the end we got the inking about right; dampness of the paper about right; pressure with a hand roller about right; and registration by eye about right. So in all we had 9 attempts hanging up to dry.

©2016 Barry Smith - Prints hung out to dry
I think we have about 3 we could call an edition; and a couple of artist's proofs.

©2016 Barry Smith - This pair look pretty good - love the hole from the anvil plate
©2016 Barry Smith - Anvil plate hol;e - negative space?
©2016 Barry Smith - Ink, paper etc
©2016 Barry Smith - The hole in the anvil
I think it was a mad idea to attempt to do prints of the anvil surface on the workbench; but I think it was worth having a go at it.


  1. barry, it was a mad idea, and perfect! i really like the shape and the "hole" is what makes it sing. it's really good!

  2. Amazing that you got such good prints rollong by hand - without the pressure of a press.


Comments are welcomed - it is good to connect with fellow travellers.