U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Freeform gum (Re: Gum printers in UK (Re: Scott McMahon gum workshop,S

Freeform gum (Re: Gum printers in UK (Re: Scott McMahon gum workshop,September

On Aug 19, 2007, at 9:43 AM, john@johnbrewerphotography.com wrote:
Hi list,

Can someone give me a definition of freeform gum.

Well, I thought it might be best to go to Livick for a definition, since he was the first person I ever "heard" using the term. But his manual is no help; there's a full page titled "Free Form Gum Printing" that starts out "Free form gum printing is a term I use to distinguish this style of printing from that of full colour. It is the most popular method as it is very flexible and allows for endless creative experimentation," and there's nothing on the page that adds any illumination to what free form gum actually is. There's a hint on the next page "Full Colour Printing" which defines a full colour gum print as one made with color separations. I went to his website to see if there was a better definition there, but was surprised to find that there's nothing there about gum printing at all anymore; his pages on methodology seem to be all about digital cameras and inkjet printing. A perusal of his gallery suggests that for the last four or five years at least, he has been showing inkjet murals, rather than gum prints, and his alternative process exposing light and vacuum frame are for sale on his site. So I guess I'll stop sending people to his site for examples of tricolor gum prints and instructions on tricolor gum printing; he used to have a nice step by step fully illustrated tutorial. There are so few people printing true tricolor gum, I'm sorry that we've lost one of the more prominent members of the group. But, sorry, I digress.

In the absence of a definition from that source, I guess I'll just fall back on my rough understanding of the term, and hope that if someone has a better definition, they'll chime in. My understanding is that freeform gum printing is when the same negative is used to print several color layers, the color being applied selectively on the various layers to provide the separation of color, rather than an entire color layer being applied, and then printed selectively by exposing through color separations. So a freeform color print might be made by using one black and white negative and selective use of color layers on parts of the image to approximate a color print. Hamish has done very nice freeform color gum prints of this type, also Sarah Van Keuren.

Hence David's question about how one would get such a nice separation of the green, in the absence of the use of color separations. One possibility is that maybe that image isn't a freeform gum but is done with a separation negative of some sort. Otherwise, I don't know how it could be done.

Hope that's helpful, and as I said, I hope if someone has a better idea, they'll say so.

On Aug 19, 2007, at 9:43 AM, john@johnbrewerphotography.com wrote:

Hi list,

Can someone give me a definition of freeform gum.



----- Original Message ----- From: "Katharine Thayer" <kthayer@pacifier.com>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2007 4:40 PM
Subject: Re: Gum printers in UK (Re: Scott McMahon gum workshop, September

On Aug 19, 2007, at 2:43 AM, davidhatton@totalise.co.uk wrote:

He has an image on there of a piece of seaweed lying on the beach. It's really nice.


Question,. How is the green of the seaweed isolated like that in a freeform gumprint..? I have some ideas but I don't want to confess them in case they just happen to be stupid..:)

David, I have no idea, since I've never worked very much in freeform gum, so your guess would be at least as good as mine.


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