Recently, I had the big opportunity of attending the workshop of hybrid graphic technique offered through CEART Mexicali by the Culture Institute of Baja California.
It was a gratifying personal experience, which provided me with tools for graphic production and professionalization of my plastic work; I couldn’t avoid remembering my academic training as graphic designer 25 years ago, where, in the graphical printing techniques class, engraving stood out. I still strongly remember the workshop that hosted a press, which consisted of a stone plate and a big handle that controlled the pressure of a rubber roller that pressured against a plate generally made of zinc that was prepared beforehand with a sketch exercise on revolution paper (very similar to paper bags), where students worked in the drawing for our printing; immediately after, we carved our drawing on the metallic plate using wedges called Gravers.
Talking about graving is understanding that it is a technique whose origin goes back to the XV century and is, at the same time, the unequivocal precedent of the print through the basic objective of printing a same image over paper repeatedly. In this sense, the basic principle of graving technique consisted in engraving low reliefs as gutters, which outline our drawing under the idea that all non-engraved parts will be in contact with the paper on which the print will take place through pressuring it on the press; in this sense, we worked with the negative image, meaning, we carved the gutter in the spaces where we did not wanted a print, which means it would be blank; a process that did not allow us to know exactly the result until the moment we saw the final print, which conferred a different value to the printed image.
Nowadays, engraving is a virtually forgotten technique and its practice entails a much more organic commitment than the speed a computer image offers when printed in a digital way; and that’s precisely the thesis of this workshop, which allows me to make a digress on the development of the image when drawing over a same metallic plate as many times as needed; once we obtain the drawing, we can record it through photographs in order to not lose any of the achieved images, and repeat this process as many times as we need.
The second step consists in working digitally on the image through Photoshop to print it digitally over cotton paper; which combines the engraving technique with digital ways. My reflection when sharing this experience is the meeting point between traditional and digital in order to make images with unique characteristics that can only be made in this way.
Thanks to teacher Angélica Carrasco Acevedo for transporting me years back, when development, creation, and printing time could take us a week in an academic environment, which gave us a unique space and a reflection and dialogue time that is now a luxury. Maybe the digital era has taken time away from us to do things with much more perceived value.
This workshop of Hybrid graphic puts traditional techniques in contact with digital ones, which invites us to put to the test our patience in a space to cohabitate with other creative people in a paused and pleasant evolution that makes it difficult not to evocate how wonderful it is to have a space to be with ourselves.