a research into the possibilities of embossing
"During the residence at the Frans Masereel Centre I wanted to research the possibilities of the embossing technique and see how far it was possible to play and experiment with it. I have always been fascinated by the high level of tactility in printmaking, the possibility to combine different materials, inks, chemicals, different papers and the possibility to each time add a new or different layer, which will increase the perception of materiality in the print work itself. Embossing seemed to me a way to not only evidence this aspect but also to add an extra “touch” of three dimensionality to it.
As I have started to deep in the embossing technique, I have been immediately reminded to the world of blindfolded people, and I began to realize a series of works inspired by the writing tactile BRAILLE system, in which our alphabet is translated in a code of embossed dots. The dot became my recurrent theme, and since then, I have experimented with different materials and tools in order to reinvent the conventional braille “coding” in a more abstract, almost geometrical motive or pattern.
Those reinterpretations raised some issues in the creative process though, because the traditional embossing seemed to not always satisfy my original outcomes. This is particularly visible in the making of “DAG”, in which I wished to create an enlarged version of the braille written system, by translating the regular dots in dome shapes. Because of the particular shape and deepness of the shape, a regular embossing would each time lead to the breaking of the paper, forcing me to search for others possible methods.
One of those methods was to create my own sheet of paper with paper pulp and shape this on two dies (one negative and one positive), as it would happen in a regular embossing.
During the making of “DAG”, while working between papermaking and embossing, I found myself questioning the definition of embossing – just like many printmakers still ask themselves whether a “monotype” can be defined as a print. How can embossing be defined? Can we still talk of embossing if the paper is raised by applying hand pressure (as in the case of “DAG”)? Can we define embossing rather as a way of sculpting papier instead of relief print?"
05.06.2017 - 28.07.2017