KachanisM Week

Michael Kachanis  : May 27- May 31 2013

Fellow printmaker, and good friend, Mike Kachanis came to Spofford Press during the last week of May to edition his large scale woodcuts. Mike and I met in college and we both graduated with Printmaking degrees. In October 2011 Mike and I had a two person show at the Hive Gallery in Providence that featured our individual recent works. A few years ago he started carving large woodcuts on old doors and various pieces of found wood. An ambitious project with one small problem - physically printing them. It takes at least two people and a lot of time and patience. So we camped out for a few days and got to work.

  Mike burnishing his print, "L'ancien"

Mike burnishing his print, "L'ancien"

Mike brought over 7 blocks, ranging from 1 x 2 ft. to 2 x 5 ft. Mike made a plan to print an edition of 5 or 6 prints of each block. He used a beautiful roll of Mulberry paper that took a good month to come in from Japan. We cut sheets first while our hands were still ink-free. 

  Blocks, Blocks Blocks, and Paper

Blocks, Blocks Blocks, and Paper

The process for large woodcuts like these is simple in essence but involves a lot of subtle printing skills and patience. Ink is rolled onto the blocks' surface using a large brayer. Once the block has a nice heavy sheen to it, a large sheet of paper is carefully placed over the inked surface and gently pushed down.

We used Graphic Chemical's Relief Bond Black 1920 ink on all of the blocks.  

 Burnishing by hand.

Burnishing by hand.

Sitting on opposite sides of the table, Mike and I started burnishing the backside of the paper. Mike had surprised me with an amazing gift, a hand made burnisher. He had recently made a series of wooden hand burnishers out of mahogany and oak. We used them exclusively on all of the editions and they worked beautifully! The oval burnishers are held firmly and are used to rub the paper in a small circular motion. By using a thinner Japanese paper the image appeared through the paper after it had been burnished, indicating the image is transferring nicely.

  Here's the two-man process of pulling the final print off of the block!

Here's the two-man process of pulling the final print off of the block!

 After the whole surface had been burnished, we carefully lifted the paper off if the block and hung to dry.  Then repeat!

  Drying the Edition.

Drying the Edition.

  Inking the "Tell Me Again" block

Inking the "Tell Me Again" block

We averaged about two editions a day. Not all of the blocks were editioned in the time frame allotted, so we will be seeing Mike again!

  The process for pulling a print of "Arabica" 

The process for pulling a print of "Arabica" 

  Editioning the "L'ancien" gargoyle print

Editioning the "L'ancien" gargoyle print

Working with Mike is always a great time. Between listening to the entire Smashing Pumpkins catalogue and trips to the best burrito place in Providence, we have fun and still get the job done. Mike is planning on another few days at the shop to finish some older work and edition some brand new woodcuts!  We are also going to collaborate on a print or two, an idea that has been 8 years in the making!

Mike has an upcoming exhibition and is in the process of making a new body of work! Check out his website for more information. If you would like to see an enormous amount of Mike's older work, Mike's Flickr Portfolio is the place to be!  I'll end with some of the finished prints! 

  Final Print of "Arabica"

Final Print of "Arabica"

  Final Print "Toadstool Hollow"

Final Print "Toadstool Hollow"

  Final Print "Tell Me Again"

Final Print "Tell Me Again"

  Final Print " Is Now & Ever Shall Be"

Final Print " Is Now & Ever Shall Be"