U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Hand collotype in process

Re: Hand collotype in process

Well I wasn't thinking about mold when I said it. Unhardened gelatin will
change properties and become more and more brittle as it ages. Most
probably you'll have differences in moisture absorption (which seems vital
for collotype as I understand it). A hint of this is the fact that dated
carbon tissue is faster and after some time will start to give foggy
prints. (Probably because it's partially hardened?) Of course mold also is
a pretty big problem but it can be eliminated by adding some sort of
preservative into the gelatin mixture. (Sodium Benzoate, Thymol or
something more exotic maybe; I'm sure Ryuji can provide us extra names of
a couple of very effective biocides to protect gelatin!)

I wish you (and them) success for the show.

BTW, thanks to your blog and video I decided to try hand made collotype
before committing big money for an etching press and photopolymer plates.
If I can make it work that would be very cost effective compared to
photopolymer gravures... Will start by obtaining few sheets of thick
etched glass.


18 Haziran 2009, Perşembe, 3:41 pm tarihinde, Tsuyoshi Ito yazmış:
> Hi Lois,
> That is true that you will not be able to keep it without mold. The
> studio is very humid, and the process needs humidity. I am sure they
> are strict about the environment, but at Benrido, everything is
> "analogue." You will not see "state-of-art" facility there. Everything
> they use in the studio is old and antique in a way. They have been
> modifying them to their needs over a century.
> Next year in Philadelphia, there is a printmaking event called
> "Philagrafika (http://www.philagrafika.org/)." We are hoping to have a
> show of collotype March and April if everything goes well (if not we
> will come up with something interesting as well). If anyone is coming
> to Philadelphia whether for SPE or just visiting, make sure to stop by
> out studio.
> Warmly,
> Tsuyoshi
> On Jun 18, 2009, at 2:21 AM, Loris Medici wrote:
>> Thanks Tsuyoshi.
>> I definitely don't want / can't afford a specific collotype press.
>> Remaking the plates is absolutely reasonable; partially hardened
>> gelatin
>> doesn't sound something that you can keep well w/o experiencing
>> changes in
>> its properties... (That's especially so when thinking how fresh and
>> old
>> carbon tissue "from the same batch" works/reacts differently.) I
>> presume you
>> need a pretty strictly controlled environment for professional work
>> such
>> Benido does.
>> About reproductions and originals: I think it totally depends on how
>> they
>> are served to the market. Both system can be used for making
>> reproductions
>> or to produce originals. In any case - putting aside the value of
>> image
>> itself -  I will definitely value both collotypes and photogravures
>> more
>> than inkjet prints, because they're special.
>> Regards,
>> Loris.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Tsuyoshi Ito [mailto:tito@projectbasho.org]
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 4:01 PM
>> To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
>> Subject: Re: Hand collotype in process
>> Hi Loris,
>> 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 own beauty. It can
>> reproduce the
>> original so well that people thought they are always "reproductions"
>> of
>> original. Whereas when we see photogravure, for instance, we are
>> treating
>> them as another version of "original."
>> 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 any subtlety and nuance of 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.
>> Warmly,
>> Tsuyoshi