Last year, at an art exhibit focusing on Iceland (“Due North”), held in, naturally, a converted icehouse in Philadelphia, I followed an old staircase down to the basement. At the end of a hallway there was a workshop that is part craft, part hobby, part business: Second State Press. Under the motto “Make More Prints!” young people keep the art of ink on paper going strong.
I walked around the presses, the stone plate-making, the silk-screening, the cutting and work tables. What may be considered monotonous drudgery for some is now a creative delight for a young generation.
Walking down the hallway, the samples of print caught my eye.
I had forgotten the richness of print
I had forgotten the intensity of color under reflected light
I had forgotten the depth and beauty of ink on a textured paper
I had forgotten the striking effect print produces
I had forgotten the feel and scent of a printed page
I had forgotten the romantic side of the printing craft: using images to convince, to inspire or to inform by triggering emotions and a call to action.
∼It was a delight to be here.∼
Illumination or Reflection? Screens vs. Paper
Many of us endure a daily barrage of images from screens: TV, neon, smartphones, tablets, monitors, and more.
These use light transmitted from behind to project the image.
Ink on paper is entirely reflective, depending on the external light source.
Whether linen paper, a billboard or a label on a Budweiser bottle, the image is tangible and changeable by shadow or movement.
So, digital images are fine, fast and forward-moving; but I’ll never let go of the sensory advantages of print on paper. Others, I’m sure, agree. Last year Amazon. com reported a massive decrease in e-book sales and a surge in print book orders. My point exactly.
Thanks for reading.