Re: Hand collotype in process
I am going to send this message as I do not see it coming through...
You can use a letter press machine like Vandercook to make collotype. Collotpye press are usually huge and I would only assume it is difficult to find at this point.
The last company in US was Black Box in Chicago, and James Hajicek transported a couple of huge presses to Arizona. I think the rest was simply destroyed.
Yamamoto-san at Berido told me that they can run up to 300 copies out of a plate, but they usually remake the plate before it reaches that point. Also they do not usually keep plates after printing. They scrape the gelatin and reuse glasses. If they want to run another batch, they start from making plates.
Collotype is very unique and is a victim of its own beauty. It can reproduce originals so well that people thought they are always "reproductions" of the originals. Whereas when we see photogravure, for instance, we are treating them as another version of "originals." Though, of course the concept of original in photography is very elusive, this is an interesting point.
At Benrido, they sometimes print historical scriptures on old paper since collotype can pick up nuance of subtle tones. They can also do color by separating into CMYK or more. Or they can print more like old wood block printing a layer by a layer sending color to specific parts of images.
I do have this beautifully printed brochure about Benrido which was a part of the show in NY a couple of years ago. I would be happy to send it out to anyone who is interested. Just let me know where to send off list.