THE SOLARPLATE GRAINED GLASS KIT
The Grained Glass Kit consists of prepared plate glass and awaits your creation. Each glass set (2) comes with a hand finished ‘tooth’ of 220 texture that is ideal for drawing with the Stabilo 8046 pencil (included). The large one is for drawing and plate making. The small one is meant for resurfacing the large one, although it can also be utilized for trial sketching and small works.
When you receive the kit, please inspect to see that all the glass is in tact and has not cracked or broken during shipping. Also, important to note that IT IS GLASS AND CAN CUT OR DAMAGE YOUR SKIN, ESPECIALLY IF NOT HANDLED PROPERLY. If there are any chips or sharp edges, they may be easily sanded with a sanding block.
Wear protective goggles and dust mask. When ready, you can draw with confidence and feel a sense of this surface being different than paper, canvas or any other surface that you have experienced. According to Dan Welden, he considers it the second most beautiful and seductive drawing finish on the planet (the litho stone would be number one). It does however have many advantages as well as some disadvantages.
1. It is translucent. A drawing can be placed directly under the surface and used as a compositional ‘guide’.
2. It is lightweight and portable enough to work outdoors or in another studio.
3. It is easy to refinish or ‘grain’ after a work has been completed. (usually under 5 minutes)
4. It can be reused countless times.
5. It can be framed and retained as a finished work of art.
6. Work in positive. Black will be black and face up will be right reading.
7. Fingerprints don’t seem to matter, unless they have color on them.
8. Stabilo 8046 pencil holds beautifully. Other drawing techniques can be explored (charcoal, crayon, etc)
1. Glass can break and artwork can be lost.
2. Glass can be unsafe when handled improperly.
When unpacking and storing the glass, always be cautious, avoiding bumping into objects.
Place the matt side (grained) up. Use the Stabilo 8046 pencil drawing rendering and erasing if you wish. You need not be overcautious with fingerprints or putting your hands on the glass, however you should be aware of the size Solarplate size in mind. By placing a white paper the same size as the Solarplate underneath it will help compositionally and avoid edges. The paper could also have a ‘rough’ sketch of your image. You may draw larger than the paper borders, keeping in mind that those areas will not be effective on the Solarplate.
Drawing on the 220 grained glass surface is identical to that of a litho stone and is the most common and desirable and popular texture. You can obtain beautiful rich blacks and delicate soft grays with varying pencil strokes, pressure and other drawing techniques. The pencils are best sharpened in an electric pencil sharpener and rotating it slightly (The German colors are superb, however the wood is somewhat soft and tends not to sharpen as well with hand twist sharpeners or blades.) Water can also be used to liquify the pencil and can create beautiful washes and extremely rich blacks. It is suggested that you do not work back and forth, but simply apply washes one time, since the glass has a memory and can easily be overworked.
Once your drawing is completed, it is ready for exposure. First expose the aquatint screen, face to face, (Matt side with the Solarplate.) This is usually .45 seconds in our light unit. Remove the screen and replace with the glass drawing (face to face). Two pieces of the ‘drawer liner foam’ (included in the kit) under it act to cushion the entire ‘sandwich’. 25 seconds exposure, more or less for the drawing will yield a nice image.
IMPORTANT! Please note that the image glass is smaller than the base of the box and will require a second piece of glass over the ’sandwich’ to give it the best contact. If your drawing tends to be on the darker, denser side, expose 30 seconds. After doing several works, you will develop a ‘feel’ for what works best for you. Once exposed, develop normally with about one minute of gentle scrubbing. Blot using 3 separate pieces of newspaper and post expose for at least 5 minutes. Longer will not hurt. File the corners slightly for safety in printing.
Normal ‘deep printing’ inking with a squeegee, tarlatan wiping and paper wiping are the general inking procedures. You may have your own techniques, but we recommend a magnet base for the steel backed polymer Solarplate. Most inks work very well.
Once you have printed and are satisfied with the work, the glass can be grained to a fresh surface. Place the perforated drawer liner under the glass. Dampen the glass with water and sprinkle some carborundum. This takes a feel and needs to be a sludge or creamy balance. Too much water will wash the carborundum away. The sludge should be sufficient to allow the second piece of glass to be able to slide across the surface in a figure eight motion, making certain that the four corners are being covered. Caution should be taken when grinding and it is advisable to wear tight fitting gloves that can grip.
Good luck and Happy Printmaking!