THIS IS HOW WE DO IT
For a short history knowledge, the wood engraving had been developed around the 15th century in China and in Europe. At this period, the wood engraving was doing the job of the printing. In 1454, the printing has been invented and from then the wood engraving had known a large success. It was a kind of Instagram of the 15th century, because it was then possible to illustrate texts with images.
Fig. 1 - Historical picture of the first Gutenberg's print -
Fig. 2 - The Four hoursemen of the apocalyspe -
Stamnos Edition is doing a kind of continuity of this success by following the techniques of some famous japanese engravers (Hiroshige, Kyosai, Hokusai and some more) and also European engravers (as Dürer <3). Nicolas Amoroso is the founder of Stamnos Edition, he is also the illustrator, the engraver, the printer, the one who make frames and some printing plate (especially from the Cormier and Pearwood), well let’s stop here.
Fig. 3 - Animal Circus -
Fig. 4 - Lovely planks of Yamazakura
The printing plate used are from French Cormier wood or Pear wood, or, when we are lucky, from the marvellous Yamazakura. The Yamazakura is a Japanese cherry tree wood, growing in the Japanese’s mountains. You will understand that it is quite difficult to get this kind of wood, especially when you want to export it to the UK.
The graving process is in the Japanese way (which is the same that the European one in the 15th – 16th century). We are going to give you more details about this technique. It is a technique called “cutting and thrusting” with the Japanese tool “Hangi-Toh”. (We will absolutely not get the opportunity to shout from the rooftops that our engraver is not holding the tool in the right way, or he could get a very severe punishment from a Japanese master.)
Fig.5 - Woodcutter with a fancy suit -
Let’s talk about the time it takes to engrave, depending on the size:
Bael 40 x 30 cm
Fig. 6 à 10 - Progression of the time of woodcutting according the size
The drawings are made on a transfer foil, which tattoo artists use, in order to put the drawing on the printing plate and then engrave the drawing on it. When the engraving process is done, let’s print it!
Fig. 11 - Distinguish between the cutting part and the uncutting part.
Fig. 12 - Authentic advertising for a vandercook press
The printing process is made with the help of letterpress machines from the 19th century. Stamnos Edition own for the moment only one press and is using some others, more effective, disposed in some independent print workshops. The printing process is a very important step because there are a lot of settings to put in place. Nicolas Amoroso quotes: “A step that I didn’t know a lot about but which I think very interesting!” (Stamnos Edition is a small company; we learn a lot everyday with Stamnos Edition!). Most of the machines we use are from the Vandercook brand.
But wait! Don’t be in a hurry! Before printing it we need to ink the printing plate! The inking is made with an inking roller, with a greasy ink (which is actually very long to dry!). Once the roller inked, you have to “paint” your printing plate with it in a very special way that only Nicolas Amoroso handle with perfection. The paper used for the etching is in cotton called BFK Velins from the French brand named Arches, in a creamy or white colour, it depends on the stock.
Fig. 13 - Complex process of handprinting
Finally, (don’t worry it won’t be too long anymore, hold on), the frame is made with sticks of Scandinavian pine wood, sold by a French supplier. Those sticks are assembled by hand and with a small nail press, and then coloured with a home mixing of walnut stain and Japanese ink.
SStamnos Edition tries to respect the environment as best as we can by using French suppliers and also reducing our plastic using, for example you won’t have any plastic bags recovering the etching.
Thank you for reading to that point! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask us by contacting us by email, you will find it in the “Contact” section.
Fig. 15 - Printing of Charizard