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Dear Loyal Solarplate Customers:
I regret to inform you that the Solarplate manufacturing has ceased. Made in Japan, the Kodak plates are, in my opinion, superior, safer, and offer the highest quality. However, the company has decided to cease manufacturing. It is NOT due to the Covid-19 pandemic but due to the changes in the digital world. As with many other products, this was unforeseen.
I’m happy to say that there was a ’swan song’ with the Solar Impressions exhibition in November and December of last year. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I expected the product to grow, not disappear.
There is no one in the whole world who is as sad, and disappointed as I am. Solarplate has been my baby, my joy and creation. The support and rewards of all the artists over the years has been overwhelming. Although the wind is not totally out of my sails, it, along with the virus is taking away an income stream and, more importantly, I feel I’m letting down the artists and people who relied on the product. Teaching with it, creating on it, collaborating and printing with others, and its use for artistic expression are most valid. I can clearly say that it has been the major form of my own artistic expression and there is nothing like it.
My biggest regret is that I cannot continue supplying you, my friends and customers, many of whom have been around for decades, since I first developed the plates in 1970-71. Though, there is a glimmer of hope.
A friendly competitor, involved in the industrial printing world, is looking into manufacturing the plates. With this hopeful small chance, I am crossing my fingers that Solarplate can continue.
My inventory currently consists of a large quantity of 8X10’s (since its been our most popular size). There is still a good quantity of 4X5 and 6X8. However, larger plates are in short supply. Other miscellaneous supplies are available, especially brushes!
Printmaking with SOLARPLATE is a simple approach and safer alternative to traditional etching and relief printing. SOLARPLATE is a prepared, light-sensitive polymer surface on a steel backing for artists to produce fine prints. Since Dan Welden’s development of the process in the 1970s, printmakers, painters, photographers, and art teachers interested in multiple impressions have found printmaking with SOLARPLATE an exciting adventure. All one needs is inspiration, a graphic image created on a transparent film (acetate or glass), sun or UV light, and ordinary tap water, and the process is ready to begin. Both positives and negatives can be utilized; intaglio and relief printing techniques can be applied.
Universities and art schools all over the world are using SOLARPLATE as part of their curriculum. The simple, spontaneous approach also makes it faster and more economical for use in professional printmaking workshops and collaborations with artists. Educators are replacing traditional acid techniques with SOLARPLATE due to safety regulations. Being photographic in nature, SOLARPLATE incorporates a broader range of techniques than any other printing medium.
Hampton Editions, Ltd. is the official distributor of SOLARPLATE.
Hampton Editions, Ltd. began as a subsidiary of Welden Graphics, established by Dan Welden in 1971. Collaborative publishing ventures included artists such as Robert Dash, Syd Solomon, Esteban Vicente, Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, Dan Flavin, Bill King, and Jane Freilicher. The evolution from a studio specializing in Stone Lithography publishing and printing into a workshop dealing with more diverse offerings took place during the 80s and 90s with the SOLARPLATE process gaining more momentum. Since the SOLARPLATE process was Dan Welden‘s own, he pioneered and promoted health and safety in printmaking since the beginning and is an example of a ‘more healthy, old time master printmaker’. Through the 90s and into the 2000s Hampton Editions, Ltd. has printed for artists including Eric Fischl, David Salle, and Lynda Benglis, among others.